Matt Lewis

Who ‘won’ the vice presidential debate? There are two possible media narratives…

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

During the vice presidential debate, my Twitter timeline was split between people who thought Joe Biden was being tough, versus people who thought he was being a jerk.

So who won? It was a Rorschach test. But there will be a dominate media narrative by Friday morning. Unlike the first presidential debate (which Romney clearly won), the post-debate spin will help determine a dominant media narrative.

I predict one of the following headlines will define the debate tomorrow:

1.) “Biden turns off voters by smirking, laughing, and interrupting,” or…

2.) “Biden comes out swinging and aggressive — he restores Obama’s swagger…”

My guess is that the media will go with the latter. This is both because of bias and because the media loves a comeback story (and it’s Obama’s turn for a comeback.)

Clearly, Biden (who can be affable) felt he had to overcompensate for President Obama’s weak debate performance last week. The liberal base wants a fighter, and Biden gave them that tonight.

From an optics standpoint, Biden couldn’t have gotten away with bullying Sarah Palin the way he interrupted Ryan tonight. He was dismissive and condescending.

Still, my guess is that while conservatives will disdain Biden for his demeanor — average voters won’t much mind his rudeness. (Besides, it’s a traditional role of vice presidents to play the “attack dog.”)

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the public does care about gentlemanly behavior? Maybe Biden’s behavior will backfire?

Either way, there will be a fight to frame this debate. As of this writing, it’s not clear cut. But we will know very soon who “won.”