Romney’s vagueness in the first debate could make Ryan’s job harder


Romney may have won accolades among pundits at Wednesday’s debate, but his vagueness on actual policy points is hurting him—and putting more pressure on his running mate.

Next week, before round two of the Obama versus Romney debates, vice presidential contenders Paul Ryan and Joe Biden will go head to head. On Thursday’s PoliticsNation, host Rev. Al Sharpton noted that Romney’s decision to move towards the center in Wednesday night’s debate could spell trouble for Ryan.

“He’s going to have a hard time defending some of the things Mitt Romney said last night,” Sharpton said.

David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, agreed that Romney’s moderate and vague statements last night put Ryan in a tough position. Romney, Corn said, ”gives Joe Biden a lot of lines of attack on the Ryan budget, the Medicare plan, and all those things. The one thing Ryan has done the past two years is be very, very, very specific on all these things … so he can’t do the pirouettes the way Mitt Romney did.”

That said, Corn added, “The truth of the matter is that [the debates] don’t really matter.”

“If the Dan Quayle, Lloyd Bentsen debate didn’t make a difference, I’m not sure this one is going to,” Corn said. That 1988 veep debate was when the Democratic Bentsen famously put down Republican Quayle with the line, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Though the vice presidential debate in 2008 was the most watched in television history—69.9 million viewers tuned in to watch Sarah Palin debate Joe Biden—in general, debates don’t seem to have long-term impacts on races. Last night, 67.2 million people watched Obama and Romney, the largest audience for a presidential debate since 1992, according to the AP.