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At the very least, Democrats breathed a little easier after Thursday night’s suddenly-important vice presidential debate. Vice President Joe Biden gave Obama administration spin doctors some fodder to use, something they lacked after the Presidents abysmal performance last week.
Republicans, however, had reason to cheer. Paul Ryan came across as cool, collected and more in control than the sitting vice President. Biden at times appeared exasperated, angry, petulant and bullying.
Both made points with their party’s base. Both avoided any major screwups although both played fast and loose with the facts.
Post debate polls show most voters gave Ryan a slight edge in the debate but no poll declared a clear, decisive winner.
A poll of 1000 Capitol Hill Blue readers gave Ryan a 46-43 percent edge with 11 percent undecided. That followed the trend of other polls.
Uncertain, however, is whether Biden’s performance stemmed the bleeding from Obama’s debate debacle from the previous week. Polls show Romney closing what once was considered an insurmountable lead by Obama and — in some cases — leading the President in key states like Florida.
What may affect some voters was the differing demeanor of the two. Biden, the long-time Washington pro, appeared irritated too often while Ryan was more calm.
Both did what they had to do. Both played to the base of their parties. Both stuck to their talking points and both avoided a major gaffe.
So who won?
The good news for both sides is that a debate that produces no clear winner also does not have a clear loser.
So both won.
And the real loser was probably the average American voter who saw few reasons to change his or her about either candidate.
Vice Presidential debates, as a general rule, have little or no impact on the outcome of a Presidential race.
And Thursday night’s veep gabfest won’t turn out to be an exception to that rule.