Pundits—and the public, according to a CNN poll—seem split on who won the vice-presidential debate, but most agree that the feisty meeting had more to offer viewers and voters than the first Obama-Romney debate.
- Viewers "were treated to a free-wheeling and substantial debate over the size of government, the limits of US military power, and other issues defining the choice between Obama and Mitt Romney," writes Ron Fournier at the Atlantic. "Voters will be better served if Romney and Obama debate next week at their runningmates' level."
- "The upshot was a vice presidential debate that was occasionally entertaining for partisans on both sides, but was mostly unenlightening," writes William Kristol at the Weekly Standard. "Ultimately, I suspect, it will prove inconsequential. It's hard to believe it will change any votes, or give either side momentum."
- Both men had strong showings that gave their parties what they wanted, writes Mark McKinnon at the Daily Beast. "Biden was a passionate defender of his boss and wasn’t shy about taking the offensive to point out where and when he thought Ryan and Romney are wrong," while Ryan "was calm and competent. And looked like he could sit in the big chair if necessary," he writes.
- Biden was both the winner and the loser of the debate because he was so aggressive that he made Ryan seem like a bystander, decides Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. At times, Biden was "measured, passionate, and heartfelt," but he went overboard trying to counter Obama's listless performance last week and "bordered on bullying Ryan," he writes.
- Roger Simon at Politico, who declares Biden the winner, was more impressed. Biden "smirked, sneered, and openly laughed at many of Ryan’s responses," he writes. "It could have looked rude, but Biden made it look tough." As the debate went on and Biden started inflicting damage, "Ryan began looking younger and younger. And not in a good way."
One clear winner: Moderator Martha Raddatz