Vice presidential debates are usually the most-neglected of a presidential campaign. That's because, historically, they've rarely had a heavy impact on a candidate's overall campaign. But given the circumstances surrounding Thursday night's showdown between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, everyday Americans and political pundits thought this may be the year the once-every-four-years debate actually makes a difference.
And they proved America right.
Ryan and Biden took the stage at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, on the heels of a presidential debate that turned the tables in Romney's favor, and it was clear that both of them were well aware of just how big of a deal this debate was.
They took on issues both foreign and domestic, and judging by the young voters that MTV's Power of 12 have talked to, issues that matter most to them, including economic policy, abortion and the War in Afghanistan. Add in the fact that the debate had the widest age gap in history — Biden is 69, Ryan is 42 — and that Ryan is the first candidate from Generation X to take the stage, and this was a feisty debate that likely had young voters entranced.
Whether you missed out on the throwdown or were just too distracted by Biden's smile to pay attention, we've wrapped up the most memorable moments from the debate:
'With All Due Respect...'
"That's a bunch of malarkey." A bunch of what? The vice president first showed his teeth (and his age) early on in the debate when he interrupted Ryan with what will likely be added to the book — or perhaps the pamphlet — of most notable quotables from a vice presidential debate. Lodged at Ryan's critical comments on the Obama administration's foreign policy in Libya, the comment quickly established that this debate would be nothing like its presidential predecessor in Denver. (Malarkey means "exaggerated or foolish talk," in case you were wondering.)
What ensued was hardly polite, with much of the "due respect" left at the door. There were so many interruptions that when either man was able to talk for two minutes, it felt almost eerily quiet. "I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't interrupt each other," Ryan told his opponent, clearly making a reference to his running mate's subpar performance in Denver. Whereas Obama and Romney acknowledged their alliance on certain issues, their right-hand men didn't seem to see eye-to-eye on much at all, with the exception of a promise to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2014.
There Was An Inside Joke Biden Didn't Invite Us To
Whether it was Ryan's fiery comments or Big Bird making obscene gestures offstage, Biden couldn't seem to stop cracking up. The VPOTUS shrugged off most of Ryan's arguments with a laugh that quickly garnered its own Twitter account. The behavior brought to mind a father shaking his head and laughing at something his son said, prompting many to dub the debate "Uncle Joe vs. The Kid."
While his incessant smiling and laughter may have come off as smug to some, we just couldn't help but think there was some inside joke we were missing out on.
Beanie Babies Get A Political Meaning
One of the few characteristics the opponents shared is a common devotion to the Catholic faith. When asked to explain how their faith influences their beliefs on abortion, Ryan relived seeing an ultrasound of his first child "in the shape of a bean" in the womb. It's the reason she has the nickname Bean and the foundation for his belief that life begins at conception to support his pro-choice stance.
In a much more subdued response than the previous 85 minutes, Biden responded by explaining that he, too, believes the Catholic principle that life begins at conception, but does not believe in imposing those views on others. He explained his staunch pro-choice stance as "a decision between [a woman] and their doctor."
Check back for up-to-the-minute coverage of the debates and stick with PowerOf12.org throughout the 2012 presidential election season.
Who do you think performed the best at the vice presidential debate? Share your comments below!