Democrat Joe Biden and Republican congressman Paul Ryan traded barbs in the first and only vice-presidential debate of the 2012 election campaign on Thursday night.
Commentators say the real test will be whether this new showdown will influence poll numbers in the same way as last week’s faceoff between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The Democrats say the current Vice President made up lost ground following Obama’s weaker performance during the first debate, which has seen several opinion polls swing towards Romney .
Democrat Senator Dick Durbin said: “Biden knew his assignment, pick up that flag and go right into the battle and he did it tonight and did it effectively.”
According to the Washington Post, Republican candidate Paul Ryan was largely a “bystander” during Thursday’s exchange.
Republicans say Vice President Joe Biden came across as too aggressive and at times condescending.
“I think Ryan succeeded particularly on the economic issues and I think tjhe fact that we have a massive deficit we are facing, we have massive unemployment in our country, what is the Administration doing? And what they are doing is not working? What are they going to differently?” said Republican Senator Rand Paul.
At a debate party in Los Angeles, Biden was overwhelmingly named the victor.
“Joe came out strong. He did a lot of things that I wish the president would have done but I feel that the president will do in the next debate. He challenged Ryan on a lot of things,” said Randy Wild who watched the debate in a bar in downtown LA.
“I think the Obama campaign made a comeback. I was extremely impressed with the way that Biden handled all of the questions and I thought he did an excellent job of providing both the emotional content and the factual content,” said fellow viewer Andrea Campbell.
Two polls suggest the battle ended in a draw.
Commentators says historically, the Vice Presidents’ debates have done little to influence who eventually wins the White House.