V.P. debates have impact

Matthew Ahasay, Opinion Editor

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On Thursday the Vice Presidential debate will be broadcasted to the public. While it is essentially the equivalent of a division II football game, Vice Presidential debates can make a difference despite the less seasoned orators’ inevitable gaffes.

Since the first televised presidential debate in 1960 pitting John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon, Americans have been tuning in to hear the back and forth and policies of presidential hopefuls. While the effects of that particular debate were apparent, the overall effect is up for debate. What isn’t debated is the overall effects on what the American people thought of the candidates and how the rest of their political careers were shaped because of it.

Even more pertinent to the personal development of a political career is the singular, debate between Vice Presidential candidates. In 2008 the American public, witnessed an unimpressive showing when Vice President Joe Biden and Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin squared off in the political octagon. Although the debate didn’t have an effect on the outcome of the election, the nation witnessed the beginning of the end of former Gov. Palin’s career.

With the upcoming debate between Vice President Biden and Rep. Ryan both have something to gain but even more to lose. Vice President Biden is considering a run for the presidency in 2016 and Rep. Ryan considered the up and coming star of the GOP this debate could solidify either as a power house or a wet noodle.

Vice President Biden is between a rock and a hard place. Feeling the pressure of the Democratic Party pushing him to gain back the twelve point swing from the first presidential debate, Biden must tread the pencil thin line of attack and defense. The American public doesn’t want to see a seasoned politician destroy a less experienced and optimistic Ryan, because it is considered to be in bad taste. On the other hand Biden must make up ground for President Obama’s poor showing last week.

Rep. Ryan has to keep the momentum the GOP has gained while not giving away his inexperience and avoid becoming flustered. However given, the criticism that has been directed towards Former Gov. Romney about the ambiguous nature of his foreign policy, Ryan must step up in order to advance the Romney/Ryan ticket.

Thursday’s debate will no doubt be heated as the pressure is on both candidates. With Mitt Romney’s new found support from the media this vice presidential debate could be the first to defy historical precedence and a decisive victory either way has a chance, albeit a slim one, to have a significant impact on the polls and, subsequently the strategy for the remainder of the election.

With Nov. 6 looming in the near future it is certain that both candidates’ sights will be set on 2012 and boosting the public’s opinions on the name at the top of their respective tickets. Both candidates though, must try to avoid gaffes and behaviors that could prove detrimental to a run at the presidency in years to come.

The Vice presidential debate will be televised from 8-9:30 PM CST.

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