Winner: Joe Biden
Scores: Biden 77 | Ryan 69
Judge: Wayne Jocic
Joe Biden won this debate by a clear margin. He did, at the first opportunity, what Barack Obama failed throughout the first presidential debate to do: defend Obama’s presidency. The argumentation was simple; Obama had set goals and achieved them. The first example? Osama bin Laden. Thus it began, and ended with Biden’s repeated urging before his closing address, “Look at my record.
Biden was probably most effective in matters of foreign policy, notably in the debate regarding Afghanistan. Here, his detailed factual arguments and his attempts to emphasise his personal experience were persuasive. As the debate turned to faith and abortion, Biden’s manner became more subdued and seemed genuinely reflective.
This serious tone characterised Biden’s manner when arguing about policy. In his dealings with Ryan, he was flippant. He interrupted and laughed at, but generally ignored Ryan. While probably exposing Biden to future parody, this manner allowed Biden to dominate the debate.
Paul Ryan, by contrast, was unconvincingly earnest. He drank too much, blinked too little and rarely debated the detail. His robotic closing address worsened his position.