Did Joe Biden bring in Al Gore as his debate coach? Did he review the tape from the Bush-Gore debate in 2000 and think obnoxious interruptions and smirks on questions of national security are the way to move voters? He sighed. He broke into Ryan’s answers. He chortled. His actual answers were the least of his problems. His tone and demeanor were beneath the office he currently holds.

Paul Ryan was fine. And, I mean that in the most literal use of the term. A snap CNN poll found that Ryan won the debate, 48-44. It wasn’t the decisive mauling that Romney delivered to Obama, but it was enough to sustain Romney’s momentum. At times, I wished Ryan had been more aggressive in defending his time to speak. Biden left some whoppers on the table that went unanswered.

That said, Ryan gave forceful, passionate answers to several questions and his closing was especially strong. He had a firm command of the situation in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. Most voters only know him as a budget guy, so his command of these issues was probably a pleasant surprise. There was nothing in his performance that would suggest he wasn’t up to the job of being Vice-President.

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