Five things to watch for in vice presidential debate

Thursday, October 11, 2012 | 8:27 a.m. CDT; updated 9:42 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 11, 2012

Five things to watch for when Joe Biden and Paul Ryan meet in the vice presidential debate Thursday night:

1. BIDEN UNBOUND: Look for Biden to go on the offensive in hopes of regaining ground lost by President Barack Obama's lackluster debate performance. An experienced debater, Biden is comfortable with the attack dog role. But the vice president has a history of freewheeling, foot-in-mouth moments. Will he commit another gaffe?

2. RYAN'S DEBUT: This is the Wisconsin congressman's first time on the national debate stage. As House Budget Committee chairman, he's a whiz on federal spending and tax policy. His knowledge of foreign policy and national security isn't as deep. Watch to see whether his hours of practice result in polished and punchy — not wonky — answers.

3. BATTLE OF THE AGES: It's youth vs. experience. At 42, Ryan is the same age as Biden's younger son. Ryan suggests the generational divide gives him an edge over 69-year-old Biden and wider appeal. But Biden's an energetic performer who prides himself on an ability to connect with regular folks.

4. NUMBERS GAME: Expect to hear lots about the House Republican budget plan written by Ryan. Biden's sure to criticize Ryan's spending cuts and Medicare proposal as too extreme. Even GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has distanced himself from some of Ryan's more controversial ideas.

5. THE MODERATOR: Jim Lehrer's laid-back approach in the first presidential debate was widely panned. This time Martha Raddatz of ABC News runs the show. Look for her to ask sharper questions and more aggressively rein in the candidates. The veteran war correspondent has joked that it might be wise to wear body armor for the job.

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frank christian October 11, 2012 | 11:43 a.m.

Biden's dramatics will be more interesting (fun to watch), than anything he has to say. Imo.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders October 11, 2012 | 1:32 p.m.

Yeah, it'd be a real hoot, if it weren't for the fact that these two men are competing to see who finishes off our society under an avalanche of debt issued in our names.

"The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

Ludwig von Mises - "Human Action" - 1949

Written over sixty years ago, yet its truth is every bit as evident now as it was then. Well, if one chooses to look, that is.

That any sane person would support this system of DC/Wall St. engineered plunder as legitimate government is guilty of ignorance, treason, or both.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 11, 2012 | 3:22 p.m.

R. Saunders - One would think a sane person would offer an alternative after a tirade such as yours above. You did not.

"if it weren't for the fact that these two men are competing to see who finishes off our society under an avalanche of debt issued in our names." One man "is", the other "is not". To not be able to discern the difference shows that you know not what you are talking about. Imo.

"the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of", Recession, Not depression! No one starves in this country after temporary economic setbacks.
The other systems have many times caused starvation to millions throughout history. Tonight one of the men and one of the political party's are on track to bring our country to this disastrous "edge". It ain't Paul Ryan, or the Republicans.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders October 11, 2012 | 6:07 p.m.

The alternative, Frank, is to stop supporting the ideology of the "Lesser of Two Evils" as you're still choosing evil.

Tell me, what does it matter which faction gets control when an unaccountable private banking cartel is put in charge of the US money supply?

The presidential race is no more meaningful than the practice of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Vote all you want, my friend, but we (the "99%") are going down, bled dry by the continuous inflationary practices of the not-Federal, not-Reserve. By the time of the next election in 2016, prices of everything we need will at least double. (That's if we're very, very lucky. It'll likely be much worse.)

We face a future of ever-rising debt service costs, funded by ever more borrowing. Ignore this equation all you want, but it cannot end in anything other than an economic disaster. If you think the political class can save us from this mess of their own making... well, you're going to get the democracy you deserve, good and hard.

It would've all collapsed already (ala 2008), but the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) currently protects the government from spiraling debt service costs. Thing is, that action costs the rest of us who rely on interest income in our savings, retirement, insurance, and many other types of financial accounts. Does the phrase "unfunded pension liabilities" ring a bell?

So, while they saved fedgov then, the price to pay comes due as it undermines the remainder of the global economy, affecting all of our ability to survive.

Yet all of this is ignored not only in the current race, but most all that came before it, all the way back to WJ Bryan's "Free Silver" campaigns of 1896 and 1900.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 11, 2012 | 9:46 p.m.

R. Saunders - I can recall instances when I have agreed with you. However, to reiterate faults in our system and proclaim "the end", because both party's are "guilty" of the crime, is neither helpful nor true.

Why can you not consider Ronald Reagan's effort by requiring the Democratic Congress to Borrow their excessive spending deficits rather than "print" the money, which created the stagflation of the Carter Administration?

Why not credit the 1994 Congressional Republicans who passed legislation and forced B. Clinton to sign it, that did everything you proclaim necessary, provided a balanced budget, reduction of the debt and controlled spending?

These are the only times that conservative Republicans have had political strength to do anything about the Democrat habit, spend, give away and steal (not necessarily in that order) the tax payer money they so ardently require.

Why not accuse those that have, in fact created All of the faults you have related here? The "Lesser of Two Evils" is horse crap! So is, "Yet all of this is ignored not only in the current race, but most all that came before it" In summary of these comments, you read more like the typical disgruntled liberal, than a historian, concerned with the welfare of our country.

(Report Comment)

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