- Posted October 12, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Final presidential debate: Unanswered questions
The Cornfield View of the VP Debate - A Technical Draw
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
Early on tonight one wondered if the local firefighters might have to respond to the auditorium at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky as the show taking place became a blazing debate of 2 separate visions for the nation. What had been billed as the "Thrill in the Ville" lived up to its name as the 2 vice presidential candidates faced-off to challenge each other with words and fight for the votes of Americans.
In one corner was the current office-holder, Vice President Joe Biden, representing the Democratic Party and the man at the top of the ticket, President Barack Obama. In the other corner was the challenger, the nearly 3 decades younger, Congressman Paul Ryan, representing the Republican Party and its presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Referee for the night from ABC News was Martha Raddatz.
Within 3 minutes of the 1st question posed to Biden, the gloves were off and the 1st salvo was fired. Biden was unrelenting through most of the next 90 minutes. He came across rude at times with a laugh that began grating on many listeners nerves before the 1st 10-minute segment had passed. Ryan on the other hand never seemed to get flustered, but took punch after punch and kept standing and throwing it back.
When all was said and done, both Democrats and Republicans had something to cheer about. For baseline Democrats the clear winner was Biden. For diehard Republicans the win went clearly to Ryan. But for the majority of those watching it came across as a draw. Biden seemed to win many points on substance, but those wins were negated by style. Ryan, never interrupting unlike Biden, and talking often directly to the camera and seemingly unfazed won the style of the night.
A group of undecided voters gathered by CNN scored the debate a tie as well. Of these undecided voters, each candidate received a win from a 3rd, while the remaining 3rd was still undecided. Later the CNN/ORC poll gave 48% to Ryan and 44% to Biden, which was a statistical tie.
The big question remains, however, how did the style, which always takes precedence over substance, play with the undecideds and independents in the battleground states?
Polls will be up and down for the next couple of days. A clear sense will not be known until Monday or Tuesday.
Both candidates had a few canned lines that came across very well. For Biden it was asking Ryan if he thought he was channeling Jack Kennedy. For Ryan it was quipping that Biden knew very well what it was like to say things that come out wrong.
Sitting in Mark's Den, watching the debate, occasionally looking out at the withering stalks of corn, to me both men did what they came to Danville to do.
Biden breathed life back into the Democratic base that had the wind knocked out of it by the abysmal performance of Obama last week against Romney in the 1st Presidential Debate.
Ryan came in and held his ground against a much more experienced opponent and managed to lay a few blows of his own, keeping the momentum alive.
The best thing that both men did tonight was to follow to the tee the cardinal rule of vice presidential candidates, "Do no harm". Both men did their respective parties well.
Referee Raddatz was engaged and kept a tight rope during tonight's slugfest. Hats off to her.
Now all eyes turn to next Tuesday night when once again the President and Romney enter the ring. This time, however, it will be a town hall setting with questions coming from the undecided voters in attendance.
Who wil have the wind at his back as the top-of-the-ticket candidates sail into Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York?
CNN's own Candy Crowley, host of State of the Union, will be the moderator.
From the Cornfield, as I see it, tonight was a technical draw with both Biden and Ryan doing the job they were sent to do.