What Biden And Ryan Have To Do To Win Tonight’s Debate

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Whatever we could tell you here at Independent Voters of America about tonight’s upcoming Vice Presidential Debate has probably already been written by somebody just as smart for another publication, so without further ado, we present the Best of what everybody else has written to preview tonight’s VP showdown between Biden vs. Ryan.

What Biden Has To Do To Win:

Emily Deruy of ABC News nicely articulated the balance Biden must achieve — between appearing likeable, but also staying on the attack while avoiding the trademark “gaffes” he’s become known for over the years:

“Biden is genial and likable, and that’s a good thing, but he’s also been known to make his advisers cringe… Biden needs to be careful about what he says, but he also needs to debate numbers and specifics with Ryan, a self-proclaimed numbers guy. Obama received criticism for not throwing many punches during the first debate, and some of that pressure has now fallen to Biden as the Democrats struggle to regain lost ground.”

Matt Miller of the Washington Post had some excellent thoughts on how Biden can attack Romney and by extension, Ryan:

“My friends,” Biden should say, “we can’t be sure at this point what Mitt Romney’s ‘real’ philosophy and values are. He governed Massachusetts as a centrist Republican and did things that I applaud — like enacting a universal health plan with the support of Ted Kennedy. That plan became a model for the president’s national reform. “But then Governor Romney sold his soul to the right wing of his party to get the nomination – and adopted extreme conservative positions on taxes, immigration, health care, women’s rights and more… “Did Romney call for well-off Americans to contribute nothing to deficit reduction — or for hard-working high school graduates to be deported, though they were brought here as children – or for millions of poor workers to be stripped of basic health coverage – because he really believes in this pinched vision of America? Or did he do it because he thought that’s what it took to win the nomination? “I have no idea, my friends. And neither does anyone else… That’s the point. It’s impossible to know Mitt Romney’s real values.”

What Ryan Has To Do To Win

Robert Costa of the National Review rightly points out that Ryan can’t get too wonkish about policy or risk “getting lost in the weeds” – he should stick to a few central themes and hammer Biden on the Economy:

A handful of Ryan allies are worried. They know he is smart and that he is the House’s ideological leader, but they fret that his youth and upbeat voice may be problems. One longtime Ryan friend tells me that Ryan’s biggest challenge will be appearing to “meet the threshold” for executive office. The friend says Ryan may be president one day, but, for now, in his early forties, he has to make sure he doesn’t come across as too numbers-oriented and distant. Two Ryan advisers tell me that Ryan is aware of this, and he has talked about it with his top aides. To combat that impression, Ryan will probably stick to two or three themes on Thursday instead of bombarding Biden with data.

Joy Lin of FOX News reported that Ryan knows what he has to do to win — attack Biden’s “Achilles heal,” also known as “the Obama record”:

“Look, Joe Biden has been on this stage many times before,” [Ryan] said. “This is my first time so sure it’s a nervous situation because Joe Biden is one of the most experienced debaters we have in modern politics. But the Achilles heel he has is President Obama’s record and I’m really looking forward to giving the American people a very clear choice.”

 Make sure to tune in for tonight’s debate at 8PM EST time on your network of choice, and follow Independent Voters of America’s Facebook Page for continuing coverage throughout the evening!

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