October 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM
Editor's note: The Fourth Branch will host members of both the Penn State College Republicans and Penn State College Democrats as bloggers to vet their opposing viewpoints for Presidential debate season. Jordan Harris serves as president of the Penn State College Republicans.
Some have rightfully cautioned me not to count out a political veteran like Joe Biden tonight. This is a fair precaution. Paul Ryan was in fact three years old the year Joe Biden became second only to Henry Clay as the youngest man ever elected to the United States Senate. A debate stage is nothing new to him.
Even with this being the case it is hard not to count him out when you have Paul Ryan on your side of the stage.
By many measurements Paul Ryan is a veteran himself. Although he has never been on a stage quite like this one, he has been in Congress for 12 years, and in Washington for longer. He's been prepping for a moment like this since he was an undergraduate student at Miami University of Ohio, skipping parties to read through the federal budget.
Mitt Romney will need him to live up to the gigantic billing. There has been much talk this week about the pressure that Vice President Biden is under to stabilize a faltering Obama campaign. There is equal but less discussed pressure on Congressman Ryan. Many people throughout the last week have told me their opinion of Mitt Romney is changing - it's Ryan they are still unsure about. The Democrats attempted to paint Ryan as extreme, even before he was on the Presidential ticket. Tonight is his major chance to fix that perception.
I am more than confident that he will succeed. Biden and Ryan will be a great debate, but there is no one in elected office that gives me more confidence discussing the major issues than Paul Ryan does. This should be the second big week for the Romney campaign just as early voting has kicked off in places like Ohio and Iowa and could help solidify many voters who have were warmed to Romney a week ago.