As is my practice I don’t plan to watch the debate this evening. I’ll read the commentaries tomorrow morning and, if something interesting happened, I might even watch the video of the debate but I won’t watch it live.
It’s a remarkable turn of events when a presidential campaign may hinge on the debate performance of a seventy year old man with (minimal) brain injury. I cut Joe Biden a certain amount of slack when he blurts outrageous remarks out—his self-censor may have turned itself off. But there’s really no telling what will happen tonight.
I presume that both Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan will bring their A games to the debate and Biden’s an old hand. I seriously doubt that he will be bored, lose his temper, or melt down. Ryan might be wonkish enough for listeners to shut him out but I think he’ll be engaged and loaded for bear. As was my advice in the first presidential debate, look for the body language more than what they’re actually saying. That’s the key to understanding how most people will respond.
Their personal favorability ratings are just about the same, quite a different circumstance from the one Biden faced four years ago in which his personal favorability was substantially higher than Sarah Palin’s going into their debate.
What will be most interesting is how people respond and that’s what I’ll be paying attention to.