As posted a few days ago, a group of Belgium journalists stopped in for a briefing on the election and the debate. The following is one journalist’s questions on the VP debate and my responses.
Q: What are the main challenges of this vice-presidential debate?
- Along with the personal challenge to be seen as competent and hopefully a winner, each side carries the campaign banner.
- There will be more interest in this debate because of the attention generated from the first debate and its apparent impact on the race.
- There is always a blend of substance and appearance. But, as the first debate showed, tone, style and forcefulness count at least as much as having facts.
- But, Romney’s having a plan, his five points was a benefit. He looked prepared and ready to work for jobs.
- There will be pressure on Biden to at least make a good, gaff-free show of it. Vice president debates seldom become important enough to change a race. Biden would like to stop the current news cycle narrative of Democrats in trouble.
- Ryan will also be under pressure to hold onto the momentum and not let his views or plan become a liability. Democrats have been attacking the plan for months.
- Ryan, as the new person, has an opportunity to become a national figure, but also the possibility of becoming a distraction just when Romney is making progress.
- The next presidential debate will make it more difficult for the candidates to argue with each other, such as during the long rebuttals in the first debate.
- Romney can expect many social issue questions that tend to benefit the Democrats (i.e., abortion, immigration).
- Candidates will need to be more conversational and focus on the citizen questioners.