What to look for in Thursday's VP debate

4:34 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - As Barbara Hunn iced an enormous cake at Key's Café, she explained that she would be forced to miss Thursday's debate between Vice Presidential candidates

She says she does plan on watching the highlights after a dinner engagement.

"I do love a good debate," she said.

The differences highlighted between Republican running mate Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden are vast.

"Biden with his older knowledge and Ryan with his youth," is how Hunn explained it.

University of Minnesota Debate Director Dr. David Cram Helwich also talked about what voters should be looking for.

"Both candidates face, I think, a pretty difficult challenge," he said.

Helwich says Ryan, who is well-known in Washington but not well-known throughout the country, needs to introduce himself and continue litigating President Barack Obama's record. Biden, on the other hand, needs to stop the GOP's momentum and attempt to define Paul Ryan.

But perhaps more importantly, we should be watching for future headlines.

"Avoiding large gaffes and things that can kind of dominate the next couple of news cycles is the big, big thing to avoid," the debate manager explained.

He also says the two men need to walk a tight rope.

"Using things like humor, command of the facts, but not too many facts," is how explained it.

The race for the White House is tightening, and that could be drawing more eyes to the VP discussion.

"Because of the uneven performances last week (many analysts called it a Romney victory) and because of the media attention that it's garnered, there will be extra attention," U of M Political Science Professor Kathryn Pearson said.

Ryan is expected to highlight his vast knowledge on the nation's budget and the deficit, while Biden will likely make mention of his foreign policy expertise.

Helwich says it could be a defining night for both men trying to make an impression on voters.

"They're really looking for somebody's who confident, somebody who shares their values, and somebody who shows good judgment," the debate director concluded.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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