October 12, 2012

Viewers of oft-overlooked VP debate say it matters

Viewers disagree on whether Biden or Ryan did better framing the issues, whether the vice president was too argumentative or justifiably aggressive, and whether his younger challenger was up to the task.

ADAM GELLER/AP National Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Supporters of Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, gather at the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis. to watch his debate with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/The Janesville Gazette, Mark Kauzlarich)


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Others in the crowd, though, said the debate affirmed their values, even if it doesn't change minds.

The Rev. William Jenkins, an ardent supporter of Obama and Biden and pastor of St. James AME Church in Danville, said he came out to support a candidate who gives voice to his concerns about healthcare. Jenkins, 59, a military veteran and disabled railroad worker who has been hospitalized for prostate cancer, heart bypass surgery and a stroke, said without the healthcare reforms, he simply couldn't get insurance.

"I've had enough illness to last one man a lifetime," he said. "I can't buy insurance. Who would insure me? This truly matters to me."

Not far away, Martha Guy, 75, of Cincinnati, agreed only on the importance of the voters' choice. Guy was visibly angered by what she saw as Biden "rudely" interrupting Ryan during the debate. "Can't he shut up?," said Guy, a retired business owner. Guy said if her fellow citizens just got the chance to hear Ryan, they might realize that a vote for Romney would free businesses to create jobs.

"The people who are on the dole, who sit at home and collect their checks, they are the ones who will vote for Obama," Guy said.

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