"I've never met two guys so down on America."
Vice President Joe Biden in one sentence tried to dismantle the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan theme of bad-mouthing the Obama administration for not turning things around in four years.
Throughout the 90-minute Vice Presidential debate, Ryan stayed on message complaining about the 23 million in poverty and how the president promised 4 percent growth while delivering 1.3 percent instead.
"If you get out of the way, we can help," Mr.Biden broke in for the umpteenth time while his opponent tried to make appoint. "Stop talking about how you care and show me," he lectured the GOP Congressman while goading him to support the President's economic recovery agenda.
Mr. Ryan asserts that the economy is "limping along and we are headed in the wrong direction," yet the polling suggests average folks see some improvement and more are saying the country is heading in the right direction. Plus the president did promise jobless rate below 8 percent which magically appeared one month before the election proving that God must be a Democrat.
To compound the challenge for the Romney team, in critical battleground states, under GOP governors, the economy is turning around, so how can Mr. Romney gripe about how awful it is, when in those states things are getting better?
For the vice president it was all about the middle class this and middle class that and he scored his most direct hit when he confronted his opponent on the Romney/Ryan tax break for wealthy folks.
"One hundred-twenty thousand families will get one million more in tax relief," he chided Mr. Ryan. "And you are holding the middle class hostage in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy."
Without responding to the accusation, the best Mr. Ryan could do was to explain that he and Mr. Romney wanted to grow the economy but he did make a point saying, "there aren't enough rich people to tax to cover all of their spending." Mr. Biden had no rejoinder to that as the class warfare card sat on the debate table.
If the female vote is important in the ultimate outcome of this contest, the back and forth on abortion and the candidate's Catholic faith was the most poignant and personal moment in the debate.
Both believe life begins at conception and while both are pro-life the similarity ends there. Mr. Ryan says he respects people who don't agree with him, but that respect does not include allowing a woman to decide the issue for herself.
Mr. Biden on the other hand confessed, "I accept my church (doctrine on abortion) but I refuse to impose it on others…We don't have the right to tell a women" what to do on the issue. If there were any pro-choice females still on the fence, he moved them off.
While the popular wisdom suggests that no VP debate has ever turned around an election, for Mr. Biden it was mission accomplished. His job was to demonstrate some energy, passion, and confront the other guys; everything President Obama left in the locker room before the first debate..
And the by-product of that was to re-energize the Democrats who were feeling down in the dumps after what Mr. Romney did to Mr. Obama.
Hope is back in the Democratic lexicon and by letting Joe be Joe, the Democrats got a much needed infusion of that.