Professor Hankins Grades V. P. Debates: Biden – B+, Ryan – B+

Last night’s U. S. Vice-Presidential Debate was an opportunity for U. S. Vice President Joe Biden to even the score with the Republican ticket as the result of last week’s strong performance by Governor Mitt Romney. What followed during the 90-minute debate was an offensive attack not previously seen in any U. S. Vice-Presidential or Presidential debate.

Clearly Biden was armed and ready as he challenged Ryan on a vast majority of his statements, facts and opinions. For his aggressive debating style:
Biden: A

On the other hand, Ryan appeared unnerved by Biden’s in-your-face approach. His careful responses contained a sense of reason. A less talented debater might have become flustered or defensive. A less experienced debater may have taken the bait and adopted an equally aggressive approach, which might have created a cat fight. For keeping his cool:
Ryan: A

On substance, Biden appeared more knowledgeable on the topics:
Biden: A

Ryan, although he demonstrated a good understanding of foreign and domestic policy, had more canned responses and ducked several questions.
Ryan: C+

But, here’s what bothered me. It was the multitude of facial expressions that Biden unleashed while listening to Ryan’s responses: the smirks, laughs, eye rolling, head shaking. I would expect this in an eighth grade debate, but not in a broadly televised Vice-Presidential forum. For his lack of civility:
Biden: C

Final Grades: Biden: B+, Ryan: B+

That’s how I graded them. How about you?

Be sure to stay tuned for the second Presidential Debate on Tuesday, October 16 when the topic will be foreign and domestic policy.

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