With American media still abuzz over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s post-debate poll surge over President Barack Obama, the nation’s attention turns to Thursday night’s showdown between the vice presidential contenders.
In the only debate between the running mates, Vice President Joe Biden will take the stage against Rep. Paul Ryan in Kentucky.
Historically, vice presidential debates rarely have had a significant influence over voters’ preferences, according to Gallup, a US polling company.
However, considering Romney’s strong performance in the election’s first presidential debate last week, US news outlets are paying close attention to this event.
Obama is blaming his perceived weak performance on being “too polite” toward Romney. The Obama team is reportedly hoping that Biden will turn things around.
While the debate will highlight a contrast in political platforms between Biden and Ryan, there are also a series of other, perhaps some more lighthearted, differences between the two vice presidential contenders.
Here are ten quick comparisons between Biden and Ryan:
Secret Service codename
Biden: Roman Catholic
Ryan: Roman Catholic
Biden: 39 percent
Ryan: 44 percent
(Source: Pew Research Center Oct. 10)
Recent notable gaffes
Biden: Speaking to a diverse audience, which included many African-Americans, Biden said that Romney’s economic policies would “put you all back in chains.” (Aug. 14)
Ryan: In a TV interview, Ryan grew frustrated when a reporter asked him for specific details about the Romney/Ryan economic plan. Ryan responded with: “I don’t have the -- It would take me too long to go through all of the math.” (Sept. 30)
Biden: Senator from Delaware for 36 years
Ryan: Representative from Wisconsin for 14 years
Age when first elected to Congress
National TV debate experience
Biden: Multiple debates as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, and one as the vice presidential nominee against Sarah Palin the same year.
Recent late-night jokes about the candidates
On Biden: "The vice presidential debate is just three days away. Republican candidate Paul Ryan says he expects Joe Biden to come at him 'like a cannonball.' In response, Biden was like, 'There's gonna be a pool there?'" (Jimmy Fallon, Oct. 8)
On Ryan: "There seems to still be sexism in politics. You still see candidates objectified. I'm talking about you, Paul Ryan—with your great abs and suspiciously good marathon times." (Craig Ferguson, Oct. 2)