Local political analyst expects Biden to go on the attack in deb - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local political analyst expects Biden to go on the attack in debate


Eau Claire (WQOW)- Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will take the stage Thursday night for a debate.

"The most famous things to come out of vice presidential debates are mistakes," says UW-Eau Claire Political Expert Geoff Peterson.

Peterson says the debate isn't as important to voters as some have built it up to be.

"It is in vice presidential debates that we see people make the biggest errors.  The reality is most people don't vote for vice president as a general rule," notes Peterson.  "So when they go to the ballot box, who is on the vice president ticket often doesn't matter."

Peterson says one example of a time the vice presidential debate did matter was in 2008 when Democrats took advantage of errors made by Sarah Palin and turned them into a victory. 

But Peterson says the candidates this time around seem to have more experience and a performance like Palin's is less likely.

"Biden talks off the cuff and doesn't follow script very carefully on a fairly regular basis," Peterson points out.  "That said, the man's had a 40 year political career so obviously he knows what he's doing. Ryan has to find a way to come off as being a little more personable than he normally does and I think that's entirely possible.  But if he gets too bogged down in the details of policy or arguing about 'Our policy is going to do this versus that' and starts to get into the numbers of it, he's going to lose the audience very quickly."

Peterson believes the incumbents are going to have to change their game plan to keep the Republicans from gaining more momentum.

"Given Obama's lackluster performance last week, Biden has got to come out and show that the ticket has some energy and some fight and they are willing to go after Romney and Ryan sort of head on," says Peterson.

The debate begins at 8 p.m. Thursday night. It will air on WQOW News 18 and on WQOW.com.

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