SPEAK OUT: Does the Vice Presidential Debate Rate?
It may not have the draw of the Biden-Palin debate but this year's Veep match may be an important one.
We haven't seen much of Vice President Joe Biden in the national media lately. His GOP challenger, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, on the other hand, has been giving media interviews routinely.
But America knows Biden and has seen him in national debates before. It will be the public's introduction to Ryan in such a high-stakes scenario.
The two will face off in front of a nationally televised and live internet audience of tens of millions Thursday in the only vice presidential debate in the 2012 campaign. The debate is 9-10:30 p.m. at Centre College in Kentucky.
Both men have the job of fiercely defending their running mates' records as polls show the gap between President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney closing, so national political pundits say sparks could fly. It wouldn't be the first time.
There have been many memorable moments in vice presidential debate history -- Sarah Palin's question, "Can I call you Joe?" in her own debate with Biden in 2008, among them.
In 1988, Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen landed a zinger against his opponent, Dan Quayle, who had compared his own public service to that of the late President Kennedy. Bentsen countered: "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Maryland has a direct connection, of sorts, to Thursday night's event. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, of Kensington, was reported to be the stand-in for Ryan in practice debate sessions.
Van Hollen, who represents Maryland's 8th District, routinely confronts Ryan in exchanges on Capitol Hill where Van Hollen is the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs.
Will you be watching the vice presidential debate? Could it have an effect on the election? Tell us in comments.