While the job may not be worth a bucket of warm “spit,” Vice President Joe Biden faces intense pressure to re-energize President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign when Biden faces off against his Republican challenger Paul Ryan tonight in Danville, Kentucky, at 9 p.m. EDT.
Polls have tightened since Obama’s less-than-stellar debate performance against Republican challenger Mitt Romney last week in Denver. Obama, bolstered by recent economic news, is holding onto a slim lead over Romney in Virginia and Wisconsin, and is tied in Colorado, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll out today.
Democrats are counting on Biden, 69, an old-school party veteran at home in union halls and firehouses, though prone to gaffes, to discredit Romney’s agenda. Republicans are pushing for Ryan, 42, a self-proclaimed “young gun” of conservatives, to attack Obama’s economic stewardship and maintain the momentum Romney gained in the first presidential debate on Oct. 3.
Economic data to be released today may give the candidates much to talk about. The Labor Department reports the latest jobless claims data this morning while pundits are still squabbling over the significance of Friday’s surprising drop in the U.S. unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. The U.S. trade deficit probably climbed in August on higher crude oil and as slower global growth reduced demand for American exports, economists said before a Commerce Department report.
Gloria Steinem, feminist icon and co-founder of Ms. Magazine, will discuss the need for Biden and Ryan to focus on women’s issues in tonight’s debate in a speech at the National Press Club, while Families USA releases an anlaysis of Romney’s proposed Medicare changes, providing even more debate fodder.
And speaking of pressure, the National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library will release seven boxes of documents today relating to Cuban Missile Crisis, one of the most intense international crises of the last century when the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. came close to a nuclear confrontation.
Also today, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers speaks at the Center for American Progress on U.S. economic strategy, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank speaks at the National Academies workshop on global best practices for supporting manufacturing and NASA gives an update on what its Curiosity rover is discovering on Mars.
Mike Dorning contributed to this report.