What Paul Ryan Must Do In The Vice Presidential Debate

After President Barack Obama's lackluster performance in Denver, challenger Mitt Romney has surged to even or better in both national and the all-important swing state polls. His campaign has a new bounce in its step, and Americans from all walks of life seem to have warmed to him.

This week, Democrats will seek to stall his momentum in the one and only vice presidential debate. Vice President Joe Biden, who has been in Congress for close to 40 years and twice run for president, will take on Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and to many, the intellectual leader of the Republican Party.   

With the polls tightening and the campaign in its final month, the stakes could not be higher. Any gaffe, any overstatement, any attempt by either to show disrespect toward the other, could send polls rocketing in the opponents' direction at a time when such damage could be irreparable.

If this were a basketball game, Ryan's task would be to play solid man-to-man defense, prevent his opponent from ever getting a clear path to the basket and avoid the temptation—which is not small with Biden at the other lectern—to try to force a mistake.

Specifically, Ryan should:

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report 

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Analysis & Political Strategy