• With: Dan Henninger, Bill McGurn, Jason Riley, Kim Strassel, Bret Stephens, Matt Kaminski


    GIGOT: We are back with more on this week's vice presidential debate and a look ahead to Tuesday's Obama/Romney rematch.

    First, let's look at a clip from the debate on the economy.


    BIDEN: And by the way, they talk about this Great Recession as if it fell out of the sky like, oh, my goodness, where did it come from? It came from this man voting to put two wars on the credit card, at the same time, put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. I was there. I voted against them. I said, no, we can't afford that. Now, all of a sudden, these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt that they created.


    RYAN: Joe and I are from similar towns. He's from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin. Do you know what the unemployment rate was in Scranton today?

    BIDEN: Sure do.

    RYAN: It's 10 percent.

    BIDEN: Yes.

    RYAN: Do you know what the day you guys came in? 8.5 percent.


    GIGOT: Kim, one of Ryan's jobs was put the onus on Biden about the state of the economy. Did he accomplish that or did Biden turn the tables and really put the focus more on Romney's agenda?

    STRASSEL: Yes. Paul Ryan didn't get much of a chance to put the onus on Biden for anything.


    Look, I think he did go out there, he tried to the extent that he could while he was dodging the kitchen sinks that were coming at him to put some information out there --


    -- continue to further the Romney agenda, the sort of positive vision for the economy. But he didn't get a big chance. That's something Mitt Romney is going to have to be aware of and get ready for as he moves into this debate with Obama. Because now they've got a sense of what's coming. And by the way, Obama won't make the mistake of going onto the stage --

    GIGOT: Right.

    STRASSEL: -- and in any way making those style mistakes Joe Biden did.

    GIGOT: One thing that I saw -- the answer from Ryan I felt was weak. He said Romney is a car guy. What does that mean? That's not an answer on the bailout.


    GIGOT: That's not an explanation. That's just one of those nonsense --

    RILEY: I think on domestic policy, I think Ryan did OK mostly. Most of the debate was foreign policy, which plays to Biden's strength. But on domestic policy, I thought Ryan did OK, with the exception of his discussion of entitlement reform where I think Biden got the best of him on saying, who do you trust when talking to seniors, talking directly to the camera. He did that a bunch of times. And I thought that came off well for Biden. So I think he was a little defensive, Ryan was, in defending his budget proposals from the past and he got distracted from that. On whole, on domestic policy, I thought Ryan had a pretty strong night.

    GIGOT: Is this going to have any impact on the presidential race, Dan, or are we going to forget about this, except for the Saturday night clips on Joe Biden's antics?

    HENNINGER: No, I think it will have an effect on the race, Paul, because, again, as I keep saying, I think voters out there who are going to decide the election are paying very close attention to what these people are saying in terms of, why is the economy behaving as poorly as it is. If you think -- connect this to what Barack Obama himself has been doing out there, in his stump speeches, he primarily mocks and ridicules Mitt Romney rather than talking about his own record. And Biden's weird performance was kind of a piece of that technique that they have adopted. I think voters are looking for something deeper from the president now. The burden is on him to show it next week.

    GIGOT: No hint of a second term agenda in Biden's --

    MCGURN: No, not at all. I think he showed President Obama that you can be aggressive, you can defend it and --


    GIGOT: So Romney ought to be on notice, he's coming at you?

    MCGURN: Right.

    But he also showed us how not to be aggressive at the same time. And one of the dangers is -- I got the impression from the last presidential debate that Romney was holding back a little bit. That he was a little nice.

    GIGOT: Really?

    MCGURN: That he left a few zingers on the table and so forth because he was dominating. He didn't want to --


    GIGOT: But Obama -- But, Bill, Obama is such a cooler customer than Biden. Biden is all heat and energy and attack. Obama is laid-back. I mean, can he really go on the attack like Biden?

    MCGURN: I think he can, but I think the danger is he opens the door for Romney to be more aggressive in his responses. And I think Governor Romney will be more aggressive.


    GIGOT: He will have to be more aggressive than Paul Ryan.

    MCGURN: Yes.