As the nation anticipates Thursday’s vice presidential debate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the best thing Paul Ryan can do is be Paul Ryan.
Wisconsin’s native son Ryan will join the stage with Vice President Joe Biden Thursday in Danville, KY. It’s the second of four scheduled debates before the election, and is the only debate between the Republican congressman and Biden.
"The only thing I would tell Paul Ryan is, 'to be yourself.' Those would be my simple words," Walker told Patch on Tuesday. "Paul Ryan is at his best when he is himself and in his element. He’s a man who can be aggressive but also respectful."
Thursday's debate has taken on added importance after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney emerged as the winner during last week's match against President Barack Obama. Nearly 66 percent of all voters thought Romney did a better job than Obama and the polls have tightened since, according to the Pew Research Center.
Now, the pressure is on Biden to push the reset button in Obama’s favor and stem the rising tide of momentum from the Romney campaign, according to an ABC News report. It’s something Walker said Ryan should be ready for.
“This guy’s ready," Walker said of Ryan. "Biden is going to come out more aggressive than the president was the other night. I was stunned by how the president performed in that debate.
"He’ll come out and repeat some of the attacks you’ve see in the past about Paul Ryan’s budget plan," the Republican governor added. "Most of those critiques have been false.”
Walker was quick to point out the well-rehearsed statistic that the Obama/Biden plan cut roughly $716 million from Medicare. According to USA Today, this favorite attack line from the Romney campaign isn’t exactly true.
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Walker is hoping for another strong debate, which is how he characterized last week’s presidential debate.
“The American people got to see a good debate about the issues. It was very substantive,” Walker said. “Paul Ryan will hold his own. The pressure is on from the last debate, so Biden may try to live it up in terms of negative attacks. But I want to see a debate like we had last week.”
A Little Reagan in Romney?
Story after story from the media in the days after the first debate highlighted the tightening gap between Romney and Obama. Was it all from debate momentum? Walker said if you were around 32 years ago, you saw a similar kind of rally.
“It’s much like it was in 1980. Even though (Ronald) Reagan won big, at this same point in 1980, Jimmy Carter was still well ahead of Reagan,” Walker said. “The debates helped him come out and show Americans he was the reasonable choice to fix the economy.”
Reagan trailed Carter by 8 points in a survey conducted on Oct. 26, 1980. However, two days later Reagan soundly defeated Carter in their lone debate and planted himself as a solid alternative to Carter. Reagan went on to win the election by 9 points.
"People get that the economy is not where we want it to be,” Walker said. “All those things people get, and at least among independent swing voters, they have really found a comfort level that Mitt is able to fix it.”
Romney Has 'Fire in The Belly'
Walker also said a new surge of energy from Romney also has helped shift the polls in his favor.
Well, Walker says he saw that during the debate and in the following week.
“I said he needed to show some fire in the belly. He showed it and he’s shown it since that debate,” Walker said. “I certainly think he’s courageous and the fact that he picked Paul Ryan and went against conventional wisdom. It was a bold move and showed that he can take on the tough issues.”