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Commentary: Paul Ryan, Joe Biden lacked professionalism, were unimpressive in debate

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

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Thursday night gave us the second in a four-part series of debates for the presidency of the United States. This time, however, the nation witnessed Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan square off to discuss the nation’s issues. The debate, in general, was fairly even; both polls taken from CBS and CNN showed mixed results for whom viewers believed won the debate.

Following a win by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the debate Oct. 3, the Republican Party hoped to continue the momentum. Biden, however, had hoped to stop the bleeding caused by President Barack Obama’s lack of preparation in the debate.

Whether you intend to vote for Obama or Romney in November’s election, Thursday night’s vice presidential debate clearly demonstrated why both Biden and Ryan are running for the vice chair – and the president’s chair – in the White House.

Granted, I thought both did fair jobs in demonstrating competency to a level which suggested they both qualify for second in command; neither man showed a combination of the composure and knowledge that is expected of a president. 

Seeing as Biden and Ryan are running on the tickets of men that shall be their superiors, they did little more than regurgitate the views of those men. Watching the debate, I realized I was more or less viewing less composed versions of the men who were arguing last week.

To the specific issues discussed, however, moderator Martha Raddatz brought up the topics of Iran and Syria, economic growth and taxation, Medicare and abortion. My feelings on their statements aside, Biden made Ryan look flustered and nervous when discussing Medicare; Ryan provided great statistics against the Obama administration to take the case on the economy; abortion was irrelevant because that is a state matter to be dictated by the judicial systems in this country and not the president; and neither debater seemed to claim an edge in foreign policy, as I suppose that just boils down to with whom you agree.

Anyone could have known what was to be said by simply watching last week’s debate and listening to the candidates’ speeches. Instead, I would rather focus on the lack of professional respect that was portrayed by mostly Biden, but also Ryan on Thursday night.

As stated, it is clear that neither man is worthy of being president. Both debaters made sure to cut their opponent off from speaking as soon the speaker left an opening to do so. This was a consistent theme throughout the night. The other constant was Biden’s need to laugh at every statement Ryan made. Both displayed irritating lacks in professionalism, behavior unbecoming the man first in line to take over the presidency should it be needed.

I will give both men credit on one matter each. Biden seemed to be more knowledgeable of his talking points, leading to a fiery style of speech. That, combined with a slight condescension, is a very effective manner in which to debate. Ryan, on the other hand, delivered a very spot-on attack to the Obama administration.

“When he doesn’t have a good track record to run off of, he makes his opponent out to be a candidate who you should run from,” Ryan said.

Whether you like or dislike the president, everyone can acknowledge the effect of his attack campaigns on both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008. Ryan also did a good job to point out the president’s promises from 2008, followed by the lack of results.

In all, both men did a decent job in the debate on Thursday, but neither stands at the level of their superior in terms of leadership and professionalism.

The winner was actually the moderator, Martha Raddatz. Neither man was impressive enough to deserve a victory. Raddatz was so much better at her job than Jim Lehrer was during the last debate that I must name her the winner.
 

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