With President Obama looking to an unpredictable and gaffe-prone Joseph R. Biden to get his campaign back on track in Thursday’s debate, the pressure on the vice president couldn’t be greater.
Vice presidential match-ups usually don’t have the power to change the course of the election, but this year could be different. Mr. Biden is acutely aware that Mr. Obama’s dismal performance in his first faceoff with Republican rival Mitt Romney largely erased Mr. Obama’s lead in several key battleground states, ratcheting up the stakes for his performance Thursday night at Centre College in Danville, Ky.
As Mr. Obama’s No. 2, Mr. Biden doesn’t have the burden of looking presidential, so can bare some teeth and punch hard against Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mr. Romney’s running mate. But getting too loose and looking angry against Mr. Ryan, a budget expert 27 years his junior, could easily backfire on the vice president, leading him to veer off script and reminding viewers of Sen. John McCain’s grumpy 2008 debate performance against Mr. Obama, who remained calm and collected.
With this in mind, Mr. Biden has been assiduously preparing for his prime-time clash with Mr. Ryan. Holed up for much of the week in a hotel in Wilmington, Del., the vice president has been scrutinizing videos of Mr. Ryan’s speeches and interviews, and holding mock debates against Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, who is playing Mr. Ryan in debate preparation, as well as David Axelrod, a senior adviser in the Obama campaign.
Mr. Biden’s frequent gaffes on the campaign trail have given Republicans plenty of campaign fodder, but the vice president seemed keenly focused on trying to keep his tongue in check Thursday.
CONTINUED at The Washington TImes.