TODAY | October 12, 2012
>> and going into this joe biden needed to steady the ship and calm the democratic side. did he accomplish that?
>> democrats are psyched that he had such a good night. you said at the throb was no clear winner, and it may be, but it was very important for the democrats paul ryan not be the clear winner. most democrats, i don't know about independent winners, probably think that joe biden clearly won
>> i think the analysis there's no clear winner is because of joe biden 's style, his demeanor, and if we've learned anything from these debates those things matter as much as substance, occasionally more. do you think that biden was over amped and overly aggressive and that detracted from his performance?
>> seemed like aggression and not like a cool distancing from the proceedings which was the problem with the president's performance in terms of his style the first time around. biden 's aggression i think is both expected from him, and the laughing thing was essentially implicit messaging, don't believe what this guy is saying, i can't believe this guy. it actually had sort of a messaging function rather than just being a display of his emotion.
>> on the subject of what you can believe from paul ryan , his calling card, a number guy so on jobs, spending, taxes, how did he do this.
>> had a couple of problems on basic number issues. when he tried to make the case when the unemployment rate is going up, scranton versus janesville, it was stylistically interesting because biden jumped in so aggressively to shut him down, but it's true the unemployment rate is below 8% and being unwilling to admit that i think put him on maybe sort of shaky ground . obviously he's very comfortable talking about these issues. the fact that the debate focused so much on foreign policy was not paul ryan 's wheelhouse and i think that spoke to mr. biden 's strength, but, you know, those issues they both feel confident talking about the middle class . it's a question of whether or not it resonates.
>> we know joe biden , americans know him. watched him in the senate and watched him now for almost four years as vice president. not as many people know paul ryan . this was his first major test on a stage like this. did we learn anything about paul ryan last night that will impact the election?
>> yes, and that's what i think is so exciting about this debate. whoever you want to win, what was exciting about it is all this new ground was covered mostly by joe biden pinning paul ryan down on stuff that we weren't sure if the romney/ryan ticket is going to stick with. he is in favor of privatizing social security and overturning "roe v. wade" and making abortion criminal. on afghanistan, nobody has pressed them on afghanistan. now we know they are going to stick to the 2014 deadline but they also think that deadline is dangerous and a bad idea. that's the sign of a campaign that hasn't been pressed very much on that issue, that it made so little sense when they had to.
>> very quickly, you obviously think biden won, but would you acknowledge that ryan passed the threshold test proving he was a plausible president and vice president if the need arose?
>> on everything except foreign policy . i think paul ryan was out of his depth on foreign policy . maybe it wasn't fair to have him with a foreign correspondent moderator and former chair of the senate foreign relations committee there talking about foreign policy . there he bottomed out, and other than that he did just fine.
>> we'll see you tonight on msnbc.