Ryan won vice presidential debate, Biden succeeded, say polls and pundits

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Most polls and media talking heads gave the advantage in the vice presidential debate to GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, but said that Vice President Joe Biden also won by reviving Democratic morale following the disastrous Oct. 3 presidential debate.

A quick CNN poll of registered voters said 48 percent thought Ryan was the winner, while 44 percent thought Biden claimed the title. Sixty percent of CNN’s respondents said Ryan was presidential, and 53 percent said he was more likable.

A CNBC poll said that 56 percent thought Ryan was the winner, while 36 declared Biden to be the winner.

A majority of CNN’s panel of 31 self-described undecided Virginia voters said Ryan offered the better vision for the future, while Biden was seen as more empathetic.

A CBS poll of 431 “uncommitted voters” gave the title to Biden, with 50 percent saying Biden won, while 31 percent said Ryan won. But Ryan also passed the CBS voters’ basic expectations, with 75 percent of the respondents saying Ryan is knowledgeable, and 48 percent saying he is “relatable.”

GOP officials claimed victory. “The momentum stayed on our side, and that’s what we wanted,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. “On style, Joe Biden completely failed,” by repeatedly interrupting and smirking, he said.

However, Biden did enough to restore Democratic morale after Gov. Mitt Romney’s stunning victory in the Oct. debate against President Barack Obama.

Biden “accomplished his strategic task,” by restoring Democratic morale, said Paul Begala, a long-time Democratic strategist.

“I was proud to be a Democrat,” Democrat activist Van Jones said, because Biden was “fact checking” Ryan’s statements. “Democrats really needed this performance. … he energized his [Democratic] base.”

Biden succeeded, said CNN’s Gloria Borger, because “he righted the ship” after the Oct. 3 presidential debate. Romney decisively won that debate, stunning and demoralizing Democratic stalwarts.

However, Borger also added that Biden’s demeanor was “condescending,” matching comments from many GOP advocates and Romney allies.

But even Democrats complimented Ryan’s performance, saying he was presidential, informed, reassuring and likable.

Ryan, said Van Jones, “acquitted himself well.”

Ryan showed himself to be “a likeable guy… [and] that helps Gov. Romney,” said CNN’s national correspondent, John King.

Ryan was fluent and presidential, said CNN’s Borger.

Obama’s allies claimed total victory.

“Vice President Biden won tonight’s debate,” said Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina. “In a clash between facts and conviction on one side and glib lines and empty promises on the other, tonight’s debate exposed the extreme risk that Romney-Ryan economics pose for the American middle-class,” he claimed.

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Neil Munro