I think Joe Biden shaded the debate last night by just being himself and clearly not losing. That’s not a load of "malarkey", ie hot air. The Irish expression somehow made it into the middle of the presidential debate, though some spell it "mullarkey".
Biden is one of the most liked men in politics, and that is what came across in the debate.
I have met Biden many times, interviewed him once when he was a senator, and always came away impressed with his easy manner and basic decency.
He has an easy Irish charm, hail-fellow well met and the Vice Presidency suits him well.
That was what came across with the Ryan stand-off. He was keeping Paul Ryan under pressure but managed it in an amiable way and he “righted the ship” as political editor Gloria Borger on CNN noted.
Biden accused his fellow Irish American of "malarkey" at every opportunity and kept Ryan off balance enough so that he never got to do a Romney and slam home unchallenged assertions.
Biden accomplished what Obama never did, aggressively challenging fundamental Republican policies.
The fear of Democrats on the way in was that Biden would collapse like a burst balloon as Obama did in the first debate.
Near panic had spread through Democratic ranks after Obama’s faux pas. The slippage in the polls was a nightmare scenario come true.
There has been a tendency on the right to paint Biden as a buffoon liable to go rogue at any moment but he proved far from that.