It’s age over beauty by a hair in a debate carrying more importance than the usual joust between the executive understudies. With the Democrats’ campaign stumbling after a poor performance from President Obama last week, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, 69, outtalked—and out-scoffed—Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, 42, who nonetheless held his own. Here’s some instant commentary to get you up to speed:
Martha Raddatz, the moderator, was probably the most popular person at the table, keeping the candidates on their toes and moving the conversation briskly.
The debate started with questions about the administration’s handling of attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans:
As we expected, Ryan was well prepared for Biden’s attempts to invoke his middle-class background, and to make a convincing case for social insurance reforms:
Which meant that generational politics reared its head:
Ryan and Biden didn’t always stick to the facts:
But both men agreed that 2014 would be a good time to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan; Ryan somewhat more reluctantly:
Biden had some tough moments:
So did Ryan:
But Biden was far scrappier than Obama in his debate, hitting back against Romney and Ryan:
Like the first presidential debate, some important talks were left off the table.
The final verdict:
PRIMARY SOURCE: Read a transcript of the debate here.