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Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson hopes that the president emulates his vice president's winning approach during his next debate against Mitt Romney.

… Mostly, Biden did the obvious things that Obama failed to do. The debate started at 9 p.m.; at 9:24, he made the first of three references to Romney's "47 percent" speech, in which the Republican nominee described nearly half of Americans as hopelessly dependent on government and unwilling to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Later mentions came at 10:22 and in Biden's closing remarks at 10:30.

Biden pressed Ryan on his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program. He pressed on Romney's failure to specify what tax deductions and loopholes he plans to eliminate, in order to replace the revenue that would be lost through cutting income tax rates by 20 percent. Would the deduction for mortgage interest have to go, or perhaps the deduction for health-care expenses? Ryan resolutely — and embarrassingly — refused to answer.

Biden challenged Ryan on all his tough talk about foreign policy and the Obama administration's alleged weakness. What would he and Romney do differently about Syria? What would they do differently about Iran? About Afghanistan? Ryan tried to bob and weave, but he came close to acknowledging the truth: Romney would do essentially what Obama is doing.

As I said, these are pretty obvious lines of attack. Biden didn't do anything fancy. But I think his performance will be enough to snap Democrats out of their funk — for now, at least.

At this debate, the real Biden showed up. At the next, on Tuesday at Hofstra University on Long Island, the real Obama had better do the same.


Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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