Winner: Joe Biden
Scores: Biden 80 | Ryan 77
Judge: Ian Lising
Bluster and Loose Talk
The Vice President and Congressman came out swinging. Ironically, the person who was getting in the way of the round was the moderator. At the start, there were several moments of possible clash that she interrupted, diffused, or even railroaded. There were moments of exposition that were obviously rehearsed and when the debaters started integrating their refutation with their positive material, the moderator would cut them off. This benefited the Congressman as he would speak vaguely in generalities and he was not held to account. The moderator improved as the round progressed, but I would have liked her to stay away from taking control so that the debaters could do it.
The Gloves Come Off
The Congressman probably had the most colourful exchange with the Vice President when he alluded to his tendency to gaffe. However, when the direct clash was permitted, the Vice President took control of the round. He had solid matter, but much like Governor Mitt Romney in the previous round, his manner was brusque. This was utilized more effectively in the Vice President’s case as he navigated the narrative with a lot more control. His nonverbal communication was a little off at times when he would grin widely as the Congressman was talking about Iran sanctions.
The Congressman did fairly, but was more style than substance. This was most clearly demonstrated with the Vice President doing his own fact checking in the round. The palpable blow came when they each assessed the future of Roe v. Wade. I feel that the Vice President couched his terms in a much clearer way and forced the Congressman on his heels.