A Vice Presidential Debate that Counts

I’ll be joining NBC Connecticut’s Brad Drazen and Kerri-Lee Mayland Friday morning just after 6:30 to wrap-up the debate between the vice presidential candidates. Tune in if you can.

There’s already drama connected to Thursday night’s vice presidential debate and it has nothing to do with Joe Biden or Paul Ryan. This has quickly become the most anticipated second spot face-off in memory. And there’s good reason.

First, the drama such that it is: A conservative website reports President Obama was at the wedding of debate moderator Martha Raddatz. Yup, that’s it. It was back in 1991 when Obama and groom (and later FCC chief) Julius Genachowski were Harvard Law School students. ABC News, for which Raddatz serves as senior foreign affairs correspondent, says it has every confidence in Raddatz and even the Ryan campaign says it has no problem with her (of course, what is it going to say? You can’t exactly trash the ref a day before the big game).

But more important is why the debate actually matter. Conventional political wisdom says no one votes based on the VP nominee. That’s true in an average election but there is nothing average about this one. Mitt Romney whipped Obama in their first match-up and the polls show it. Romney now believes he can really win this thing. It’s up to Biden to right the ship for his team.

The match-up is fascinating. Ryan may be considered the young-buck newcomer but he has a record in Congress that stands out for its hardline positions—on education funding, Medicare, Social Security and reproductive rights, among others. He’ll have to defend those or at least explain how they don’t conflict with Romney’s. Romney himself lowered expectations for Ryan by suggesting he may not have debated since high school. (Nice way to show your running mate is “presidential.”)

Biden has been doing this for 40 years. The best thing about the VP is that he might give a thoughtful soliloquy on foreign policy or he could break into show tunes—you just never know. But he won’t be unprepared. He’s been locked away for more than a week. And he’s the veteran.

The bottom line is, where else can you find 90 minutes of such potential for drama and entertainment?

Your thoughts?

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