Rich Galen



Democrats have been stunned by the staying power of last week's debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The other day Obama did a taped interview for the Tom Joyner radio show. In it he said he had been "too polite" toward Romney in their debate but we were not likely to see that next time.

It seems like every cab in which I've ever ridden in Washington, DC had Diane Rehm on the radio. Since 1977 I've been working through the dial to find the "All Diane Rehm" station, but I've been unsuccessful.

The driver of the cab I was in Wednesday morning had the Tom Joyner program on and when I heard Obama, I asked him to turn it up.

At that "I was too polite" line, my cab driver started guffawing and said, "He wasn't too polite. He was sound asleep."

That's where we find ourselves for the only debate between the Vice Presidential candidates: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan.

The moderator, ABC News' Martha Raddatz, is a long-time foreign affairs correspondent and the hearing in the U.S. House yesterday over the astonishing mishandling of the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of our Ambassador, can't help but come up in the course of the discussion.

Unlike Obama and Romney, Biden and Ryan have at least a passing acquaintance with one another but Biden will have to guard against showing that particular superior attitude Senators reserve for Members of the House. Senators believe their most junior staffer outranks everyone but the Speaker of the House. The staffers think so, too; except for that Speaker of the House thing.

I think the bar is somewhat lower for Ryan than for Biden. He has to demonstrate a command of the subject matter when it comes to the budget and economic issues; but it is Biden who is the foreign affairs expert so Ryan's test in that area will be somewhat easier to pass.

Come to think of it, the bar is pretty low for Biden, too. All he's got to do is be better than Obama was. If he can't to that, they don't deserve to win.


Ok. Biden was better than Obama. But he absolutely failed the "disdain" test that I wrote about above.

The two-shots showed Biden laughing with incredulity at just about everything Ryan said.

I'm not an impartial observer, so I don't know how it played in the filing center in Danville, Kentucky, but it reeked of Al Gore sighing and rolling his eyes in his debate against George W Bush.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at