Vice Presidential Debate 2012: Preview coverage

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3:00 | 10/11/12

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Transcript for Vice Presidential Debate 2012: Preview coverage
This is an ABC news Yahoo! News -- -- the vice presidential candidates debate. Now here are Dan Harris Amy Walter and of the DA not. There is a live look at the stage tonight Danville Kentucky the big V debate. This is our pregame show everybody I'm Dan Harris along -- ABC news political director Amy Walter and Yahoo! News White House correspondent Olivier Knox. As I said it's our pregame show for tonight's face up between vice president Joseph Biden. And the Republican veep nominee congressman Paul Ryan which will be held at Centre College in Danville Kentucky would you showed it alive that shot. We are streaming live right now on a whole host of platforms including. ABC news that Yahoo! News YouTube election. And on ABC news mobile apps and we want you to join the discussion on Twitter hash tag. Pound debates. Coming up we're also -- to give you some Smart analysis for my brewing co host -- and Olivier. You look for that. They're coming in from the candidates that surrogate but let's -- up very quickly with a vital stats going into tonight Joseph Biden. Age 69 number -- debates under his belt roughly 23 during his nearly forty years a senator and then vice president favorability rating according to the latest ABC news Washington Post poll. 39% of Americans view the vice president favorably 51%. Unfavorably. Paul Ryan 42 years of -- number of debates under his belt at least eight during his twelve years. In the House of Representatives but never in this is important never on the national stage favorability rating 40%. Favor bill and let's see. Glad that right 40% favorable 34%. Unfavorable and on the eve of this debate we do have one. Big October surprise that this is saying is -- time magazine posting work out shouts of Ryan as part of a new profile they've written about him it is already sparked a fake Twitter account. Act Paul Ryan's -- that. And -- pointed out that that shot right there looks like -- -- take from an eighties sitcom. That's right an event that counts that you do it absolutely and as it -- it seems. That young mind might pass -- He has his political analyst -- a musical. Not musicals now let me -- -- that -- -- debate tonight who is under more pressure. Biden to make up for Obama is lackluster performance for Ryan to keep the momentum on its. Excellent question Dan and I would say can we say that there eke vent pressure is equal and if I had -- bet I can and I actually I had my thumb on the scale on. Well I'll put it from Paul Ryan. This is his very first debate as you pointed out on the national stage he is very comfortable obviously as a campaigner. He's been very comfortable in national interviews but going face to face with the sitting vice president for the very first time is can be a lot of pressure. Listen that the debate performance of Romney's going to be tough to match I think that is -- much tougher things. -- something you'd have to meet rather than just simply having to outperform what was a very lackluster performance by president. Olivier Dave what Paul Ryan has to do at the very least is show that despite his youth. He is still ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency and tonight he's got the biggest audience yet. Absolutely and and a big audience much which doesn't know Paul -- you know he's he's a well -- -- -- inside Washington. But this is going to be his biggest audience ever his biggest shot and introducing himself and his biggest shot as you say as about appearing as a credible. Potential president so he has to keep the momentum going from -- team and he's got to make his -- argument on case. Look quickly at how this race has changed since -- before last week's presidential debate prior to that debate Obama held a small but steady lead in the Gallup poll. Today -- take a look today Gallup daily tracking poll it's high 4848. As we know though this race will be won. Or loss in the battleground states and the numbers have tightened there as well here the latest Marist numbers Obama up by six points in Ohio. But ahead by just one point Florida and in Virginia a three point Romney deficit pre debate is now -- one point Romney lead there those numbers. Talk about the dynamics of this race. Today. And we had this show many of -- you know we're tuning -- and that. And we pointed out that the momentum was on the side of Obama it was Romney's chance to turn things around. And he. To a point and he was able to it to move some of those numbers -- races tighten up. Where he's also improved his standing -- with his favorable rating of people now are willing to listen to Mitt Romney and what he has to say. They look at him differently because of his performance. That is what Paul Ryan's gonna have to build not -- the race did not. Transform. After the the first debate. But it did tighten and there are different perceptions now of this this candidate and this ticket and before the debate began. Big but not transformative and still in the battleground states Olivier ending the math is tough for Mitt Romney. That's right and who were Israeli and Ohio war or president announced is about 50% to 51 -- and it's extremely important number when -- an incumbent seeking -- election. You're seeing tight races in in Florida and in Virginia and and other spots to -- bombing campaign insists that its ground game can turn things around. Or or she could win in the states even if the polls say that there's you know one -- 2% -- they can turn that around I think it when those states. But but they're also where they had -- real spring in their step after the conventions and after the 40% 47%. Video leaked out there or they were happy they were saying. Another result is an artificial -- with a big smile on their face -- miles -- They're back they're back at work and and they -- to -- to fight. So let's cycle of -- more about tonight's debate the the moderator is somebody near and dear to our hearts here at ABC news' Martha Raddatz who let me say. -- full disclosure is somebody like consider personal friend and I respect dearly she has as you can see in all over the world she is one. Pretty much every award you can win for her foreign coverage he's been in Iraq and Afghanistan countless times you've written. New York -- best selling book about the home front. And front lines in Iraq she is just an all around terrific person she's got a big tough job tonight because as -- side's Jim -- in the last debate that raked over the coals. Neither party afraid to work. The -- that's right. Now this is gonna look a little bit different because. Instead of like the last debate where they're standing -- airwaves significantly far away from the two candidates -- heated debate. She's sitting not as close as we are but you can still kind of reach across the table that's gonna lead to a different dynamic. So I think that's -- that's gonna play differently. Today than what we -- The other week -- -- -- how would you -- -- do this javits -- the worst job in journalism summit well did you know maybe it is -- back I mean I've. Martha's also -- from a -- I have complete faith in her I think you know about these guys are are are Roman Catholics maybe they should never rulers you can. To mete out some of that some of the discipline. If they think it generally but I'm not -- -- -- concerned about about her performance plus. You just saw this picture she's been in Iraq she's been -- at sixteen. She contends that he has said though that she's more nervous about this than anything she's ever -- -- Yes I believe -- it -- get it at our first guest in this pregame show she is the former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts her name is Kerry Healey. She actually played the role of Martha Raddatz in the mock debates with -- -- he joins us from -- So what are you most worried about for your guy. -- and into tonight how to be doing these mock debates and what is your biggest concern as he heads into tonight's real. Advance. Why I think everyone knows that it's Vice President Biden is a very experienced debater as you noted you know just in the lessons 2008 he's done to fourteen either vice presidential or presidential level debate so. -- -- and his forty years and in politics is that he's a master -- so we know that he is going to actually do his best tonight he doesn't usually. Go off script during debates he's pretty disciplined about it so we -- we X can't expect a good performance from Vice President Biden tonight. But I also think that the American people are going to be very excited to get to know. Paul Ryan he's sincere he's intelligent he's thoughtful he has plans for the future of America and he's going to be able to lay out his and Mitt Romney's plan to get America back on its feet and get jobs flowing again get the economy growing and that's what people really want to see not whether someone is a great debater not. -- quickly say that one of -- my favorite things about watching American politics is the only time. People say nice things about somebody from the opposition party is where we're getting ready for debate Joseph Biden -- -- quote master debater. -- as debater ever in history -- -- earlier politician ever and Washington. I think it's great basin that he's been debating since the eighteen hundreds so. -- that mechanic governor and just want it as egregious abuse. Obviously been a woman in politics been on the island both the -- -- stage. What difference do you think it makes you have a woman as a moderator what difference do you think that could make in this. Well the thing I find interesting about Martha Raddatz being that the moderator tonight is her deep experience with foreign policy we -- -- a situation right now we're foreign policy. Events around the world. The foreign policy of the Obama administration appears to be unraveling and so. -- -- will have an insight into those events and be able to probe those topics which are so current right now. In in a way that I don't think other -- other moderator is really would be able to use -- more than gender I think it's her expertise that's really going to bring something special to the table tonight. -- and introducing Paul Ryan to to a large audience just a break in of any bad habits during -- debate prep. Note if he knows what he thinks that he is very willing to share it and he is excited about the idea is the Romney and Ryan. Ticket -- putting forward so no no bad habits to be broken. -- biceps as impressive as. Person as they are in this time magazine job. Well I I didn't know that he went mountain and exercise daily and help that matters to him so I can't say I saw that but I can definitely tell you that he does state that. I'm telling you -- really appreciated thank you very much feared tally of the -- after the debate tonight. The former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts Kerry Healey. I believe we are also who have. The former governor of Ohio Ted Strickland lined -- is he dared. Governor you let us. He is not with a hit yet but he's not with a -- -- the love. The spectacle. These politicians talking up. Their arch enemies only in the lead up to a debate. They -- that the Obama campaign spokesman Jen Saki joked that the worst thing Obama can do -- fall off the stage right at the -- Lot of you'll think he did yet he -- -- somewhat close to that but. Found -- issue also brings up a very good point about Martha reticence as the moderator which is. Foreign policy she knows a lot about it. And Paul Ryan while he's been in the house for some time he's not -- neophyte his issue is the budget he knows a lot about that he's going up against the vice president who obviously has. Much deeper understanding of foreign policy in before he was the vice -- They're prepping very hard on issues of foreign policy what what in the US that. Kerry -- about that the impact of having a female moderator with two men in response to what would you think I think this change and and I think. We heard a lot of -- air and partly because it looked like he was getting run over. I think it's different. New York human there's a woman moderating and it looks like you're talking over her or belittling or condescending. That can come across very poorly and remember who the swing voters in this election when in terms of the age dynamic -- and that Biden. -- Ryan age dynamic here. Who has the trick here line to walk does Biden have to worry about being condescending -- Ryan have to worry -- -- callow. Well I am ready both of those are true I I also think -- -- this -- -- where we already know one one of the applause by it is going to be a variation on Ronald Reagan saying that he would not exploit his opponent's youth and experience. I think we're here variation on that weather comes Ryan. You know Biden does come across the folk or can try to come across is that sort of folksy uncle. Got a lot of warm -- And and Ryan can sometimes come across as a little a little in his numbers and so they could both have. Very clear challenges here while we're gonna listen to Biden literally is that that potential gaps. And and for Ryan you know he's got to reach out and he's got -- he's gonna make the connection with the audience and he -- -- we have to do when he's on the house floor. You know in the in this expectations game one of the thing you want things to keep -- from the Ryan Romney camp is that. Yes Biden is prone to gaffes that he's never made one -- -- debate. They write -- -- That's you know he did extremely well if you think back to 2007 he stood out more than anybody else in those debates. Part of it is because I think he had nothing to lose in those debates in the same -- that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did. Has done this a lot he -- then as we showed earlier. In the United States senate for a very long time so this is nothing new for him it's on the stump and get him off the cuff. That's when things can -- -- Foot and mouth disease -- -- at the governor Ted Strickland. Who -- former governor of Ohio joining us now from Danville. Gotta thank you very much for joining us I -- sort of a debate in just a moment but let me just ask you about Ohio the numbers there the lead for Obama shrinking how worried -- you about this. Well well -- -- the latest poll that I've seen has the president at 51%. To 45 or 46%. And I'll take that Ohio's -- closely contested state it will be a very close election. But any time the president's over fifty -- percent I'm a happy guy. It and governor speaking of that why what do you think this is -- we've seen every other battleground states. With the numbers. Much closer than where they are in Ohio so. Can you explain this to us why those numbers look so different from both the national numbers and from the other battleground state numbers. Well obviously the auto industry's a huge part of that. We believe that -- highlands understand that the auto industry was saved through the president's courageous action. We believe one in every eight jobs and -- -- it was a related to this vital industry. And Mitt Romney took the wrong position and the president took the right position and consequently today. -- highlands are benefiting investments are being made people are working. And it it's it's a big deal in Ohio there are other issues obviously but I would put the auto industry in the rescue of the auto industry at the very top. Of the issues that make Ohio. Move toward the president. Governor Strickland so the -- FC at the top of voters' minds. Why why shouldn't -- governor -- get more credit for the Ohio economy -- -- Well because the economy started coming back well before John Casey became governor. In into in twenty -- Ohio's economy. Improved and our unemployment went down one point 6%. In the first year and a half -- the Kasich administration if continue to go down another one point 7%. So this economy. Is the result of actions that were taken by the Obama administration the Recovery -- certainly was a big part of that it enabled me as governor to keep Ohio from. Falling ever deeper into a deeper deeper. Recession. And in the auto industry rescue. And so the president. And this administration I think has been -- really good for Ohio we're back on track. And and -- highlands understand that. You know work common sense spoke in Ohio. We -- extremes of to both of the left and the right. This president has been a common sense focus president I believe. And Ohio was -- are showing. And their support for him we believe that perhaps 20% of the total vote has already been cast in Ohio -- early voting. And do we have reason to believe that a large. Majority of that vote has has already been cast for president Barack Obama. Tonight one gets the sense that every time Joseph Biden opens is about. -- that people are taking. Products that might -- heart burns. In the west wing the so how nervous are you as a loyal Democrat about tonight's debate and the potential. Four Vice President Biden to say something it bears. Listen I love Joseph Biden Joseph Biden has a lot of knowledge in his head. A lot of experience but he also has a great heart. And he really cares about this country and he cares about the American people and that comes across and I am confident. That that this vice president tonight will will draw a sharp contrast. Between. What what what that the president and the vice president pat I have done and are doing for this country. And that that draconian. Ryan budget. That Mitt Romney has called a marvelous budget. A budget that would slash Medicaid. Slice pell grants begin to privatization of Social Security. Voucher rising Medicare. And give huge tax cuts to people and drive up the deficits my understanding is and I think I'm correct the Paul Ryan budget. Doesn't achieve balance for thirty years. So the Romney Ryan folks they aren't even fiscally. Conservative. And I believe that'll all come out tonight in this debate. And Americans and Ohio -- -- -- world will understand. Who's on their side and I believe pres Obama and Joseph Biden are clearly on the side of of working ordinary people. And that was reflected certainly. In the in the 47%. Videotape that we saw him. This speaking of the 47% video there are a lot of Democrats were upset that President Obama did not mention that one time during this debate. Last week. Do you expects Vice President Biden to raise. Well I think it will come up in the course of the of the discussion of the issues. Because as as you discuss the issues and and and the various visions as do. How to move this country forward. I think there will be opportunities. To discuss the fact that. That Mitt Romney basically is so out of touch that he doesn't seem to understand. What life is like for most people. And and and for this man. Quite frankly to have. Stood in front of rich contributors. And say -- what he said it is very telling. You you know in my earlier life I was a minister -- there's there's a scripture verse from the book of proverbs it says as a man think it in his heart so is C. And I really believe that we saw something of Mitt Romney's heart in that videotape. As he spoke so -- -- and so disrespectfully. About. A large portion of the American population. And and you know veterans and older people and students. And I think it's because quite frankly Mitt Romney has lived an in an economic bubble as social bubble. All of his life and I don't think he has the capacity. To understand what life is like for people who may may twenty -- forty or 5060000. Dollars a year. And I hope that becomes clear in the discussion tonight between these two vice presidential candidates of course Mitt Romney has said that in the course of the camp. -- you say many many many many many things. Then once in a life is -- -- former governor Ted Strickland of Ohio we really appreciate your time thank you sir. Thank you for having me. Once again we appreciate your time let's get it down to that had -- -- -- who's in our Washington DC bureau he's a political writer for Vanity Fair. -- thanks for your time we appreciate it -- like if you are willing to play. The role of wise man here and give us some historical perspective can you think of one time. When a vice presidential debate had a significant. Impact on either that dynamic of their race or the final outcome of -- race. Well I certainly think in 1976 debate when Bob Dole effort to Democrat wars that that really stuck in the -- of a lot of people and certainly. Did not help did not help. Gerry Ford one bit. I think four years ago Joseph Biden probably made a difference by holding his own against Governor Palin after she come out of the convention you know such star and expectations for her were high. Dick Cheney in 2004. Countered a weak first debate performance by President Bush by coming back so strongly against John Edwards so. It matters this one probably is going to matter more than most. It matters more than most because of what happened in the first debate -- because these two candidates. Also coming into this debate not particularly well known and also not particularly well white. Well I think any because of what happened in the first I mean for the -- for the Democrats -- chance to come back strong. And make up some of the ground that -- Obama lost last week. Obviously you know the White House is well aware of what went wrong and I'm still somewhat puzzled at their explanation for for how it happened but anyway did happen. So Vice President Biden. Is probably going to be you know come out of that gate charging hard tonight and he'll have plenty to say about what he thinks is wrong with -- Ryan Romney plan for the future. I've -- out looking ahead to the next presidential debate you you you cast the previous one as a Kirk vs fox Star Trek showdown. What what do you expect to see in the second debate what does President Obama need to do to reassure Democrats and me -- -- or independence. We -- he really needs to reassure them that there's a sharp contrast between what he would do and what governor Romney would do as president. The format should benefit him in a way because it's a town hall format which is usually pretty good -- Governor Romney is not necessarily so good at those kind of on scripted things. The tricky part is that the questions will be coming from members of the audience so. You really have to answer the question from the questioner you can't just -- the moderator and attack your opponent it looks disrespectful to the ordinary people in the audience. And of course we -- famously in twenty years ago in 1982 -- that town hall format the first time it happened benefited Bill Clinton who. Just by his body language. Answered that questioners. Query about how -- have a debt have hurt now President Bush. And night he he just you know really wrapped up that night so I think it I think -- Obama knows what needs to do. That we you know you floated theory your -- an article in Vanity Fair on line about. About why Obama may not have performed so well -- you said that he eats it because he -- his opponent as. Quote un serious at best can you elaborate on the yeah I think. Think you hear a lot from people around a -- Obama that he doesn't take governor around leaders seriously because he doesn't think he's really. Very candid about what he would do and I think he thinks he's kind of glib. And is willing to say anything and and so if that's what he really thinks that it's surprising to me that -- Obama was knocked back on his heels and not able to come back. With a sort of rejoinder that would say to him you know who are you coming here on the stage dancing all these new things I've never before but instead that seemed to unnerve him a little bit. But the truth is apparently pres Obama also thinks the whole debate formats kinda silly. He thinks it's kind of -- show he thinks it's it's something that's kind of you know a performance but of course I mean part of being the president is performing. As Ronald Reagan said he couldn't imagine how to be president he hadn't been. So so Todd tell us what you were expecting to see in terms of the the Joseph Biden that's gonna show up tonight and the Paul Ryan that's condition. Well Vice President Biden might well say to congressman Ryan you know god love you Paul I you have -- we know what you're gonna do we don't know what Mitt Romney's gonna do but since we don't know what he's gonna do. And we do know what you in the house Republicans want to do we have to assume that what the president will do is -- your plan and here's your plan and he can lay it out. Because congressman Ryan has very specific record. Of his you know blueprint for what what the budget should be like and it's quite radical in its own way. I guess from his perspective congressman Ryan could say Vice President Biden. You know you guys have had for years to get on this problem man -- you have managed to do it I'd be shocked if he doesn't try to take it to the vice president little bit. Over the Libya situation the bad guys and the consulate all of that in all the information is coming out about you know how planned this attack was in in the face of previous requests from people on the ground there for more security so I'd I'd be surprised if he does not mix it up on those grounds. Are you're an excellent debate preparers have candidate should hire you think we'll -- I don't really so -- that we really appreciate your time it's excellent and thank you were playing a -- lies and and you do it. Very convincingly. -- -- it. No no no definitely not an slender and they had asked that that helps us look for -- role. We do appreciate it one final note on our little live stream here while the analysts and advisors are making their predictions and have done so during the course of this half hour. ABC -- clinically went outside the beltway you can say way outside the beltway for some different styles of prognostication pick and a. -- that's such a great movie it's all a dream. Yeah I doubt enjoyed. Hey happy birthday you're -- love that scar and that connect with the wind -- your -- five. Spoiler -- there for the week which is why it's always more fun to cut and write the ending. And that's what we've been really insiders to find out what they think might happen. During the vice presidential debate. She dies and he. The Washington says the vice president will go all Scranton joke on the Romney Ryan budget -- -- -- back in shape. As for predictions on -- -- a numbers guy just haven't given to demand the that you well I don't know. It would take between want to go to -- path but that's what Washington. So this is a harder problem to get a glimpse at what may come from Thursday's face off. I really choppy as things will avenge a pager -- Joseph Biden making -- During the debate with Joseph -- anything -- -- -- and I call on the highest positive forces Hollywood mistreating. Father son holy spirit in the well at first he seems very confident this is a hermit card knowing his answers being -- straightforward. Already knowing already seeing his you know -- -- answers to questions that are being closed. -- and similar actually to -- And that it looks like you get some guidance during the questions. Towards the end he seems to lose energy so he -- -- gaffe I'm going to say it's going to be towards -- -- He's. Debate so that third here is what we should you -- -- -- thinking yes and you don't want -- into the break -- -- -- To his. Now he's going to be ways he's an arrest. He's going to be just sitting around watching and getting pretty good news New -- And poker -- Bingo there. Didn't movements the next question is will Martha Raddatz the moderator then -- she -- control of the debate and I was feeling. Stressed out -- Generally feeling very put -- I think that they're gonna put her through her me. But yet she will you will be able to control the debate. And I just think there's also some kind of manner perhaps someone kindness and it's also -- Perhaps -- Jim -- the ultimate guy's ex. And that's -- -- didn't not thanks Kelly yeah MI the take over for George. Trying to fit square peg into a round hole at this point Georgia. Where -- you I'm afraid to say. So will the big winner Thursday's debate but -- victory November 6. I can tell me. Again that. -- -- a little bit of a left turn at the end of our live -- here that's -- -- -- far veep debate pregame show we're back to the main event tonight at 8 eastern will be streaming live on Yahoo! News -- elections have. And on ABC news mobile apps and we want you to join the discussion. You can -- -- on Twitter hash tag debate -- welfare and Olivier not -- Dan Harris thanks for watching. We'll see you back here tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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