Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Will the VP debate matter?

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This Thursday Congressmen Paul Ryan will debate Vice President Joe Biden on foreign and domestic policy.

Among recent VP debates, most have been more of an afterthought than a forefront. Palin’s 2004 appearance in the political sphere notwithstanding. Jullian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University argues that while VP debates don’t provide much effect in the Presidential election, they can determine the fate of promising political newborns. Should Romney lose, Paul Ryan’s debate perforce might be in consideration in 2016.

With 29 days to go, and as the Pew Poll shows, Obama’s debate performance last Wednesday has put an unwanted strain on Obama’s campaigning efforts. For the first time Romney leads by 4 points in a national popular vote poll of likely voters.

Obama did not attach Romney on his 47% comment, which isn’t to say it was an intentional mishap. It will be interesting to see if Biden takes Wednesday’s platform to attack Romney though his running mate in an attempt to make up for Obama’s mistake. Or, as Stephanie Cutter‘s post debate comments have suggested, the Obama camp will try to put the Obama-Romney debate behind them and focus on the days ahead, leading to a Biden-Ryan debate actually focused on Biden and Ryan.

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