New York Times writer Maureen Dowd reckons that Barack Obama lost the vice-presidential debate last week - despite not being there. The combative style of both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan showed up his lacklustre performance of the week before. And as Dowd says: "The fact that one diffident debate by the president could throw his whole race into crisis shows that nobody madly loves Obama anymore. With his aloof presidency, he shook off the deep attachments from 2008, and now his support lacks intensity."
Then she notes that Biden went hard at it on the jocularity front: "Even if he [Obama] comes out in the town-hall debate on Tuesday with Ben Affleck charm, he has a Mitt Romney problem. Will it be the real Obama or will he just be doing what the media suggest and the base demands? In Thursday night’s hockey game of a debate, the odd semiotics were not Gore-y sighs but grins. It’s hard to imagine a politician getting penalized for smiling too much, but Joe Biden managed it, breaking out in smiles and laughter 92 times by the count of ABC News. Ever since Obama tapped him, Biden has felt that his role is to warm up Barry’s Brother From Another Planet affect. In this debate, making up for his boss’s Spockiness was critically important, so Biden overcompensated with a volcano of verbosity and gesticulating."