Vice President Joe Biden faces Paul Ryan,the Republican who wants the job,in their only debate Thursday night. Bidens mission: to stop President Barack Obamas slide in the polls after a lacklustre performance in last weeks presidential debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
In what promises to be one of the closest presidential elections in recent US history,69-year-old Biden,an elder statesman and former senator,is expected to vigorously challenge the deeply conservative Ryan,a 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman,most known as a specialist on the US budget and a drive to make deep cuts in government spending lower the deficit.
Polls show Americans are feeling better about the struggling economy as unemployment fell below 8 per cent for the first time since Obama took office shortly after the near collapse of the countrys financial system. That helps Biden and Obama.
Ryan will be debating in the wake of Romneys powerful debate showing at a time when many Americans are only just beginning to pay attention to the campaign. Obama appeared distracted and missed multiple opportunities to challenge Romney on sudden changes on issues,taxes in particular,an attempt to place him in a far more moderate stance than before. Obamas failure to engage on that and other seeming position shifts left Romney a clear field in a bid to capture support of the undecided and moderate centrists voters who will likely decide who next sits in the White House after the November 6 vote.
The Biden-Ryan give-and-take will engage many issues but none,polls show,is more important than the struggling economy,which has been slow to recover from the recession through nearly four years of Obamas leadership and has been weighed down by persistent high unemployment.
However,the Thursday night debate at a small Kentucky college will not settle the contest. Instead it will,most likely,set a tone and a foundation for Tuesdays town hall style debate between Obama and Romney in Hempstead,New York,the second of three confrontations.
Romney extends lead over Obama
Republican challenger Mitt Romney has extended his lead over President Barack Obama to 3 percentage points,according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Thursday. Romney now leads the Democrat by 47 per cent to 44 percent among likely voters in the online poll. Reuters