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Experts: VP Debate Likely Won't Change Minds

Although Paul Ryan will face off against a man who was sparring over public policy since the congressman was learning to talk, experts say it's a toss-up on who will win this debate.

With little more than 24 hours before the vice presidential debate, political experts say it's a true toss-up who will win, even after what many called a "lackluster" performance by President Barack Obama last week. It's not exactly a "Rumble in the Jungle," but the vice presidential debate Thursday does have the potential to be good theater.

Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan will face off against incumbent Vice President Joe Biden at 7 p.m. Thursday in Danville, KY. This is the second of four scheduled debates before the election and is the only debate between the vice-presidential hopefuls.

Across the country there's speculation that Biden will have to clean up the mess left behind by Obama's uneven performance during the first presidential debate, but election expert Michael Wagner from University of Wisconsin-Madison said it's routine for incumbents to "take it on the chin."

"It's important to remember that incumbents are thought to lose the first debate," he said. "The last few we’ve had, the other guy had a better day. John Kerry in 2004 had the better debate. In 1992, George W. Bush didn’t have as good of a debate as Bill Clinton. Incumbents usually take it on the chin a bit."

And historically, these debates really don't change votes all that much, Wagner said. In a 2008 Gallup poll, since the 1960 debate with President John F. Kennedy, actual voting numbers changed only slightly after the debates regardless of who won.

Young ideas vs. experience

While Biden is generally recognized for his years of experience, Ryan has been described as the young hope of the Republican Party. But Amber Wichowsky, an assistant professor of political science at Marquette University, said that Ryan's inexperience will put him in a defensive position for this debate.

"Overall, I expect that Biden will go more on the offensive to get Ryan to discuss specifics," Wichowsky said, particularly about Ryan's budget proposals, Mitt Romney's tax plan and the details on Medicaid and Medicare changes.

Watch the vice presidential debate at Patch's free viewing party on Thursday

In preparation, Ryan has been seen lugging two, thick briefing books as he travels the country studying and prepping himself to debate against a man who was "sparring over public policy since the Wisconsin congressman was learning how to talk," The Seattle Times reported.

Wichowsky also anticipates Biden will make note of the Friday jobs report that highlighted 24 months of steady job growth, with September showing an additional 114,000 jobs and a dip in unemployment to 7.8 percent.

But that isn't to say this will be an easy win for Biden.

'Clinging to guns and religion'

Biden has been known to be quite the gaffe machine. In August, he visited southern Virginia and to a mixed-race crowd, told voters Mitt Romney wanted to put them "back in chains." Just last month, Biden was seen cozying up to a biker babe in southern Ohio, maybe a little too close, as the two men with her look at each other questioningly. Very quickly, that photo went viral.

And while Ryan has had fewer faux pas come under media scrutiny, he isn't completely without a few mishaps of his own. NPR has a healthy debate surrounding Ryan's statement that his marathon time was under three hours, when actually, it was documented at more than four hours.  But Ryan has intentionally revived some of Obama's old gaffes, most recently at a Pennsylvania steel plant according to The Hill:

"Remember this other time when he (Obama) said people want to cling to their guns and religion?" Ryan said. "Hey, I'm a Catholic deer hunter, I'm happy to be clinging to my guns and religion."

But even with the possible mishaps either candidate could mutter, Biden has debated on the national stage plenty of times before and holds years of experience on Ryan.

"Short of Biden criticizing President Obama," Wagner said, "or swearing, or saying something that is just fundamentally not true, it’s not very likely the debate will affect the results too much."

James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@Lyle - All of the plants cited by Lyin' John Wilson closed during Big Daddy Doyle's and the Dems' majority control of state government. Again, what exactly could Ryan do as a federal legislator - did you want him to convince the President to declare marshal law over the Democratic Party controlled local level governments in Racine, Janesville, and Kenosha that effectively turned those areas into business unfriendly tax and spend hell-holes? And what exactly should a federal legislator accomplish for their respective legislative districts? Aren't we in fact talking about federal pork barrel projects here? What has Tammy Baldwin or Gwen Moore accomplished for their respective districts? For some reason or another, you exhibit such high expectations of Ryan, but don't hold Democratic legislators to those same high (and unrealistic) standards. Why?
Dave Koven October 11, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Hoffa...The recall was well worth the effort/cost to get rid of an idiot. Too bad it didn't work out, but it was well worth the try. At least Walker knows he better tread a bit more lightly since he doesn't have everyone "drinking his kool-aid". Now, we'll have to see if Walker is as brilliant as you claim he is. As for the debates, they really are quite silly. All the real work of government is done in secret. Debates are just political theater. The average guy doesn't find out about what went on behind closed doors until 20 to 30 years later, when all the perpetrators are dead. We wouldn't want to embarrass anyone...lol.
Dave Koven October 11, 2012 at 10:09 PM
p.s. Hoffa...Stop whining.
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:18 PM
@Bren - So then, do you automatically discredit all legislation that was signed into law by the perjurer-in-chief, Mr. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," Bill Clinton? How about looking down upon all the Dems who actively associated and sponsored legislation with the disgraced Anthony Weiner? Or Ted Kennedy for getting away with manslaughtering that poor young girl in his car? It's also funny how you're so obsessed with Ayn Rand's adulterous acts, but for some reason or another never bother to mention JFK's adulterous shenanigans that he engaged in while a resident of our White House and being paid by our taxpayer dollars! And yet, none of this stopped your candidates, Obama and Biden, from dropping Kennedy's name during the DNC convention or allowing Bill Clinton a prominent prime time speaking role. Your partisan double standards and hypocrisy, and those of your Party, are truly epic and monumental! As for media bias, what does MSM outlets being mostly owned by corporations have to do with anything? Does being owned by a corporation automatically prevent them from harboring and perpetuating predisposed partisan bias? If so, then how come you guys on the left are always so up in arms about the Citizens United decision? Again, your logic is inconsistent and your points erroneous!
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM
BTW - You never explained how Obama was better than Bob Barr in 2008 when he had no record to run on! And FYI - neither Barr or Johnson were allowed to participate in the debates, so how could they have effectively assisted you in making your choice "to vote for Obama instead of resorting to [your] fall-back, Libertarian.?" You make no sense!!! You're a Libertarian Hoffa's rear end!!! You're a lefty-liberal - always have been, always will be!
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:21 PM
@Bernie - For the millionth time now, no one pays attention to your cut and paste ramblings!
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:23 PM
@morninmist - Only a stooge such as yourself would trust the so-called 'fact-checkers' to provide accurate assessments! Will you ever actually think for yourself? Once again proof that the Democratic Party targets the low information, non-thinking voter!
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The only thing that Biden actually knows about Obamacare is that it's a big f'ing deal. Ryan will effectively destroy Biden on the facts!
Lyle Ruble October 11, 2012 at 10:34 PM
@JRH...What I am pointing out is that Racine and Kenosha Counties have been suffering for twenty years and it isn't because of any particular administration. Racine has lost jobs with Case, Racine Hydraulics, Danfoss, Ransom, etc. The changes in these companies and others were as a result of changing markets and movement of manufacturing to Right to Work states, Mexico and Asia. What I object to is politicians taking credit for things or blaming others for things they have nothing to do with. Just like the GM Plant in Janesville, the SUV market significantly changed prompting GM to move production to Michigan. You know this scenario very well with your family's close connection to the plant. I hate pork barrel politics. As far as I am concerned it's nothing more than a form of graft. I don't hold Ryan to any higher standard than I do other congressional representatives. Just like the ethanol debacle. I wouldn't mind ethanol so much if it was made from switch grass or hemp, but making it from corn is insane in my book. My main objection to Ryan is his ideological positions and that I don't think he is very well grounded in the real world. His two mentors, Jack Kemp and William Bennett are or were extremists and Ryan is following in their footsteps. I want moderation and compromise to come back not an extreme ideologue.
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM
@Dave Koven - If the frivolous recalls were "well worth the effort/cost," then put your money where your mouth is and post a copy of the check you sent (with the personal info redacted) to the state treasury to help pay for the costs associated with the recall.
James R Hoffa October 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM
@Lyle - If you don't want an extreme ideologue, then how on earth can you be supporting Mr. "I believe in redistribution" Obama for President?!?!
Dave Koven October 12, 2012 at 02:40 PM
James...Biden ate Ryan's lunch last night. What a blowout victory for Biden and Obama.
Dave Koven October 12, 2012 at 02:44 PM
James...If you made a noise in the woods, and no one's around to pay attention, did you say anything? Kind of like here.
CowDung October 12, 2012 at 03:57 PM
It seems that your 'pulitzer winning' site only rated the statement as a half truth...
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Cow Dung. Bernie replies. Good to see you actually doing some research Your sights pretty good but mind is better. More in depth and accurate. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/04/barack-obama/obama-says-romneys-plan-5-trillion-tax-cut/ Pulitzer Awarded Site
CowDung October 12, 2012 at 04:04 PM
My same comment applies to your repost as well. "President Obama said Mitt Romney seeks a $5 trillion tax cut. The $5 trillion figure accounts for only half of Romney’s plan -- and it's cumulative over 10 years. The governor says he will offset those lost revenues by reducing tax deductions and eliminating loopholes. However, he has never said what those changes would be. The president made a misleading statement about an incomplete plan, but he did describe what the plan was missing and Romney would not fill in the gaps. We rate the statement Half True."
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Cow Dung What qualifications did Obama actually have though? Obama had little actual experience at the national level as a Senator--almost as much experience as Palin had as governor of Alaska. If you discount Palin for being in office only a year or so, why not the same treatment for Obama? Bernie replies; Difference between Obama and Palin? You really have to ask? If you don’t know by now doubt you ever will. Speaks volumes about you.
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Tommy; You like stories? I’ll let Pedro tell you the story. Pedro Santa Clara and Rossen Valkanov Concurred that the democrats fared better than the republicans by a wide margin. Democrats had consistent above average returns. Most Republicans had lower than average returns and greater volatility. Santa Clara and Valkanov attribute the difference in returns to the stock markets being systematically and positively surprised to discover that democratic polices in a 80 year time frame of quantifiable data, are the best economic stewards for the nation. Differences are substantial. Democrats had a respectable average return of 9.6% as when compared to republicans 0.58% average returns. If an employee’s 401[K] plan was fully invested in stocks at a value of $100,000, at the beginning of the employee’s 40 years of labor, apply this to both parties for returns. Republicans Nest egg accumulated $224,375. Democrates Nest Egg accumalated $ 3,912,210. Now at $5,000, initial nest egg investment. Republicans Nest Egg would have accumulated $126,027. Democrats Nest Egg would have accumulated $1,985,526. ‘The Presidential puzzle; Political Cycles and the stock market” Accessed December 14 2011, the journal of finance, Vol.LVIII, no.5October 2003 In addition;http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/ Pulitzer Prize Awarded site THE END
James R Hoffa October 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
@Dave Koven - ABC, CNBC, and CNN instapolls all showed Ryan winning the night by a four point margin or greater. The consensus amongst focus groups is that it was a draw, if not slightly favoring Ryan. The only instapoll that showed Biden winning was CBS. Ryan trumped on content of the message and image, while Biden's performance, although passionate and aggressive, reminded me of a cackling hyaena or jackass! The focus groups also showed that women specifically were favoring Ryan over Biden - not very good for the supposed Dem base! Biden also LIED about voting against the wars and contradicted everything that the State Department and Intelligence community have been saying about Libya, which either proves a cover up or severe incompetence by this administration! Obama now has a mess to clean up thanks to Biden, and Hoffa's guess is that Obama will triple down on his LIES. The American people aren't buying the Dems BS anymore! Looks like once again, your opinion squarely lies with the minority. When Obama/Biden lose, are you guys going to stage fraudulent sick-outs again and throw another temper tantrum?
CowDung October 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Bren specifically cited Palin's lack of time in office as a disqualifying quality. Obama had a similar lack of time that was not held against him. Bren is a hypocrite.
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM
The Hoffas once again expose their biases. Republicans redistribute wealth as well. Not an Obama phenomenon. Obama prefers to strengthen the middle class and support for the lower classes. Republicans have turned the pyramid upside down to funnel all wealth to the pinnacle. Cronyism Welfare ; Fair Game? Banker’ hired lobbyist to restrain any restrictive regulation to be imposed upon them. Expenditures were high enough to have each political representative, to be lobbied to the tune of $2.5 million! Monopolies whether government granted or “sanctioned through inadequate enforcement, have built fortunes of many of the wealthiest people. They merely have the government hand over the wealth. Example; banker’s protect themselves is to have easy access to unlimited funds from the Federal Reserve at near zero interest rates. Banks can then lend the money back to the government or a foreign government. Multibillions are then transferred to what will produce a profitable return. Example; poison pill scam. Consider back in 2003 republicans introduced , what many refer to as the “Poison Pill” of Health Care. Government extended much needed Medicare drug benefits. A little provision was added to its extension. Provision PROHIBITS government from bargaining for prices on drugs! $50 Billion per year windfall to the pharmaceuticals. Imagine cost to premiums to cover that little bit added expenses. Lets see 9 years X 50 Billion per year = $450 Billion..
Johnny Blade October 12, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Who is going to stand up to the Banking cartel, the Federal Reserve .. they have legalized the stealing of our money ... our money has been devalued by 97% since this cartel has been put in place .. and they keep getting bailed out by us the taxpayer, the FIAT system always fails, and is failing before our eyes .. Come on people wake up, look what iceland did, throw the bankers in jail, and look how they are doing .... THis is the fundamental problem with America fiat paper created on debt, and the Bankers keep winning and WE keep losing
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Craig 10:12 am on Thursday, October 11, 2012 Based on the results of the 2008 election, we were dummed down more than one could imagine. Bernie replies; Yes Craig I can see how that might affect your intellect. You were referring to intellect and not your verbal communications, I presume. Yes Your intellect has been damaged from that devastating 2008 CRASH…. From many of your comments I see your pain, of illusional delusional ramblings. We all wish you well.
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The Hoffas can be so comical.. Ya just gotta love em..
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 04:57 PM
The Hoffas fear the fact checkers. We should all abide by his dellusions as facts;LOL
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 05:08 PM
@ Dave Koven; Bernie replies; Agree; Old adage “believe ½ of what you see and nothing of what you hear” My preference is to observe the present and research the past and then extrapolate if they are walking the walk that they are talking the talk. These debates are nothing more than oral test. We all know how that goes from our school days. Some days your in the pink other days not so good. History of actions is more accurate. With that said. Obama all the way! Democrats all the way! Time to send a message loud and clear to republicans to shape up or ship out.
Bernard Forand October 12, 2012 at 05:11 PM
@ Dave Koven Bernie replies; Not a complete blowout. All Ryan had for a sandwich was full of baloney.
Bernard Forand October 13, 2012 at 01:20 AM
@ Cow Dung; Agree it is a half truth. Your original comment post it as not true. Which is incorrect. Your second post agrees with Half Truth as I do. Now that said lets try another one. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/05/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-barack-obama-has-doubled-deficit/ Double the deficit? Don’t think so Romney..False
Bernard Forand October 13, 2012 at 01:31 AM
@CowDung 11:33 am on Friday, October 12, 2012 Bren specifically cited Palin's lack of time in office as a disqualifying quality. Obama had a similar lack of time that was not held against him. Bren is a hypocrite. Bernie replies; Bren being a hypocrite. That would be mostly false. There are similarities in one arena of experience as there is other arenas you have failed to mention that gives the edge to Obama being the higher probability for success in vital issues involving the president’s office in the executive branch of our Democracy. That said how about Romney’s statement on pre existing conditions that he said his health care plan covers it. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/05/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-his-health-care-plan-covers-pre-e/ Romney on preexisting conditions covered. Mostly false
Bernard Forand October 13, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Regulations, Regulation. Is What Strikes fear in the corrupt and criminal. Republicans see us on the Brink as democrat see opportunity. Could this explain why, there is such a diverse view of the same equation? Republicans see a dwindling ability to extract social welfare payments from the bottom of the Pyramid scheme’s they have designed. Democrats’ see opportunity for our society by cutting welfare payments to the elitist and returning the Pyramid back to its proper position. Three decades of low wages, to the 90%, with a growth of 15%. Earnings increase to the 1% have been cruising at 150% increases as to the 0.1% are racing at 300% Greater acceleration of wealth accumulation has affected the wealth at the bottom. “ By wiping out the middle classes and separating society into two classes of the property - less on the one hand and the rich speculators on the other, [inflation] paved the way for fascism and communism on the continent of Europe. It is a destroyer almost as evil as war itself. In the eyes of those that want to destroy democracy and capitalistic institutions, it is a cheap way of achieving their collapse” Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois on the Senate floor, February 22, 1951. Frank Dodd, Elizabeth Warren and Obama, got the Volcker Rule passed, that DOES once again regulates banks from derivatives. May 2010. Exactly the regulations the Romney and the Bankers seek to overturn.

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