Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan face off tonight in their first and only debate in the 2012 campaign season.
The Vice President prepared for the debate in a Delaware hotel, reading up on Congressman Ryan's budget proposals. During his four decades in politics, Biden has taken part in more than 20 debates. As he left for Kentucky, Biden told reporters he's ready.
Paul Ryan spent 5 days on debate preparation and admits Biden has a lot more experience but plans to simply point out the differences between the two men at the top of the ticket.
Thursday night's showdown in Kentucky is one of the most anticipated V.P. debates in years and that extends onto college campuses as well.
A lot of people are still talking about last week's debate and while these match-ups won't ultimately determine the winning ticket, people I met just want to see what's next.
"Both candidates are extremely charismatic, they're both going to be confrontational and I think people will be looking forward to it," Augustana Asst. Professor Dr. Emily Wanless said.
Dr. Emily Wanless teaches American Government with expertise in International Affairs, among others. While she knows this debate is huge for both candidates, it's Paul Ryan who has something to prove.
"I don't think experience really matters in these because they are really intelligent men who speak for a living," Dr. Wanless said.
Augustana students agree, telling KSFY that while neither Ryan nor Biden is up for the top job, what they will say matters.
"They're like the side candidate, they are second in charge, in charge of a lot of things. We really have to pay attention and I think we have two good candidates. I don't know what's going to happen but it's going to be an exciting debate," Augustana Junior Jake Shama said. "It'll be really cool to see what they see as most important because we have the economy, social issues, very important topics. It'll be good to see what they place on their focus so we can get to know them a lot better with these debates."
While most political analysts agree Biden needs to be aggressive, Ryan must capitalize on Mitt Romney's success, last week, in Denver.
"I think he needs to convey clearly, accurately, the broader concepts the Romney campaign has put forward and I look for him to do that," Dr. Wanless said.
The V.P. debate will cover both foreign and domestic policy and be divided into 9 timed segments of about 10 minutes each. There will be no opening statements.
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