Did Joe Biden's bravado debate performance help Obama?

The Week
Joe Biden speaks during the vice-presidential debate on Thursday: Nothing in last night's match-up reconfigured the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, says James Rainey at The Los Angeles Times.
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Joe Biden speaks during the vice-presidential debate on Thursday: Nothing in last night's match-up reconfigured the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, says James Rainey at The Los Angeles Times.

Even though Biden dominated the sole vice-presidential face-off, and performed better than Obama did last week, that might not be enough to affect the polls

The reaction to the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and challenger Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is in many ways a mirror image of last week's face-off at the top of the ticket: This time Democrats are uniformly cheering Biden's dominant, energetic performance while Republicans are saying Biden was too amped up and boorish for undecided and independent voters, griping about moderator Martha Raddatz, and arguing that the debate was basically a tie, and that Ryan won on substance or if you listened to the debate on the radio. But if Biden got the better of Ryan, nobody is claiming it was as clean or as big a win as Mitt Romney's over President Obama in their first debate — and of course there's still an active discussion on whether vice-presidential debates even matter. So, did Joe Biden's aggressive, bravado debate performance help Obama recover lost ground?

Yes. He gave Democrats a jolt: Let's start with the obvious: "Biden won the debate," says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast. The impact this has on the race probably isn't huge, "but it's real." Biden did exactly what he needed to: He kneecapped Romney, reopened Obama's lead among women, and most importantly, he "gave the Democratic base the shot in the arm it desperately needed after last week." I think momentum will now move "mildly back in the Democratic direction." That's not a bad night's work for "a guy who often makes the news only when he says something screwy."
"Biden delivers the needed shot in the arm"

SEE MORE: WATCH LIVE: The vice presidential debate

Biden's bullying will actually hurt Obama: We can all agree that "Biden wasn't passive" in the debate, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. In fact, "he was so aggressive, so rude, and so overbearing" that he must have turned off any undecided voters watching, not to mention women and independents. Meanwhile, "Ryan more than held his own," delivering devastating critiques of the Obama administration. I'm guessing it's Biden's nasty "habit of smirking and laughing and being dismissive" of Ryan that will really hurt Team Obama, though. "The split screen replays will be deadly."
"The VP slugfest"

The VP debate changed nothing: Biden's frequent interruptions "likely didn't win him many supporters," says James Rainey at The Los Angeles Times. But Ryan probably didn't "win many hearts, either, when he countered with a bit of snark" about Biden overcompensating for Obama's debate performance. All in all, though, each party will be pleased with its candidate — and nothing in the debate "helped reconfigure the race for the White House." Some voters still have questions, but "their answers will come from the presidential contenders, not their seconds." On to the next presidential debate.
"Biden, Ryan fight won't decide this for either side"

SEE MORE: The vice presidential debate: Joe Biden's best lines

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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