Trail Mix: Drinking through the debate

NEED TO KNOW
  • How to look smart watching the VP debate
  • The person Paul Ryan didn't ask for advice
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Want to know what's popping in campaign news? Meet our column "Trail Mix" -- your guide to the fun, the quirky, and, oh yeah, the news from the 2012 campaign.

Debate drinking games

So how are you watching tonight’s vice-presidential debate? Does it involve drinking? It probably does for some younger voters. A Surveys on the Go poll after last week’s presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, showed that 7% of 18-34-year-old voters who watched the broadcast played a drinking game.

Among the triggers to take a drink were “Let me be clear,” “middle class” and “small businesses.” Some took a drink every time one of the candidates interrupted moderator Jim Lehrer (hopefully nobody drove after that!)

But you’d have stayed pretty sober with one of the more popular drinking lines: “47%.” Much to the surprise of his supporters, Obama never mentioned what Mitt Romney said at that secretly recorded campaign fundraiser.

Impress your friends

If you’re not planning on drinking your way through Thursday night's debate, you might as well look smart to your friends watching the debate with you. There are plenty of insider tips out there on key items to watch for when Biden and Ryan face off:

-- CNN warns that Ryan could fall into the “wonk trap” by getting too deep into the numbers of various proposals (remember the man does use PowerPoint presentations while talking to supporters on the road).

-- MarketWatch predicts Biden will have to explain his remark last week that the middle class has been “buried the last four years.” Look for wrangling over key middle class issues like college costs and foreclosures.

-- USA Today says Biden is under pressure to make up for Obama's lackluster performance last week. Look for Biden to “bypass Ryan” to make the debate more about Romney and less about Biden. Will the phrase “47%” finally be mentioned?

Who are you NOT going to call?

Both Ryan and Biden have been busy preparing for their one-and-only debate, made all the more pressure-filled by tightening poll numbers after Obama’s widely panned performance last week.

As usual, both campaigns have been downplaying their candidate’s chances at success -- especially Republicans who point out that Ryan has never debated on a national stage before. But even though he’s been meticulous in his preparations, Ryan tells CNN’s Dana Bash that he hasn’t talked to the one person who arguably knows the most about Biden’s debating style: Sarah Palin. “You know, I haven’t,” he said. “I don’t really know her. I only met her once and that was about two years ago.”

Ryan did say that he would ask Palin for advice if he was given the chance.

Must Reads:

The New York Times: Paul and Joe: Beware the dangers of the split-screen

Los Angeles Times: The Biden-Ryan Catholic political divide

The Hill: Ben Affleck expects VP debate to rival WWE

CNN: Ann Romney’s Welsh Cake emergency

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