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Live Blog: Biden Vs. Ryan In The Vice Presidential Debate

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
October 11, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican opponent, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, face off tonight in their only debate before the Nov. 6 election. They will be on stage at Centre College in Danville, Ky. The moderator is ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. It all gets started at 9 p.m. ET.

Much is at stake. Last week’s presidential debate, which we live blogged, is widely seen as having given a bump to the Republican ticket — headed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Polls show most Americans who watched that debate thought he did a better job than President Obama.

We’ll be updating before, during and after the debate. Hit your “refresh” button to be sure you’re seeing our latest additions. The debate will be broadcast on most NPR stations and streamed on During it, our colleague Frank James will be hosting an online chat. We’ll wrap up the highlights afterward — as will NPR correspondents on the air.

Update at 8:45 p.m. ET. Scaled-Back Expectations, Viewer-Wise:

Before last week’s presidential face-off, debate commission Co-Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf told the audience that “50 to 100 million” Americans would be watching. He just told the audience at tonight’s event that “50 or 60 million” voters might be tuning in. Vice presidents, apparently, get lower forecasts.

And how many did tune in to the first Obama-Romney debate? About 67.2 million.

Update at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Prelude:

The major broadcasters aren’t showing it, but C-SPAN has gone live to the debate hall for the opening announcements from the officials of the Commission on Presidential Debates. So, things are getting started.

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET. What Does Each Man Need To Do?

This afternoon, NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving told our Newscast Desk that that even though Ryan is a member of the House and a committee chairman there, “because he has never run statewide in Wisconsin — [and] he’s never run for national office — he’s going to need to show that he’s ready to be seen at that level of the game.”

Biden, “who’s been around for quite a long time” needs to show he is “still sharp enough, still full of energy enough, is still clear-minded enough and clear sighted enough to handle this kind of debate pressure and to handle the pressure of the job of being right next door, a heartbeat away, from the Oval Office.”

Update at 8:05 p.m. ET. Buzzwords And Things To Watch For:

Before nights like these, news outlets love to do lists covering what to watch and listen for. Here are three that come from different angles:

– has the budget-focused “Beep If You Understand Veep Buzzwords.” Here’s one: “loophole.” A polite definition is “gray area in the tax code.”

– Politico has zeroed in on “5 Things To Watch In VP Debate.” No. 1 is “Can Biden Draw Blood?”

– ABC News goes one better than the typical Top 10 list with “11 Things You Will Hear Tonight.”

Update at 7:50 p.m. ET. First Roman Catholic V.P. Could Be Followed By Second:

As The Washington Post noted earlier today, “with the momentum in Romney-Ryan’s favor, America’s first Catholic vice president is under even more pressure than the man who wants to become the second.” As you can see in’s “tale of the tape” look at Biden and Ryan, the two men share at least one thing — their religion.

On key issues, though, they have significant differences. Biden, for instance, is an “advocate for Obama’s health care overhaul, which he once advised the president to delay given harsh economic conditions.” Ryan “opposes Obamacare; wrote budget plan that secures savings by converting Medicare from a guaranteed benefits to a voucher plan, and Medicaid to a state block grant program tied to inflation.”

The two men are also from different generations. Biden is 69. Ryan is 42.

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET. What’s The Format?

“The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each,” the Commission on Presidential Debates says. “The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.” [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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