Joe Biden & Paul Ryan in last nights debate
(Credit: AP/Charlie Neibergall)
A CBS poll of undecided voters gave last night’s debate 50 to 31 percent to Joe Biden while a CNN poll of all voters gave it to Ryan by 48 percent to 44 percent.

I thinkJoe 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 whatObama 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.

Read all the Election 2012 news here.

Biden proved a hardy road warrior, well versed in the key debate issues.

Ryan is an extremely smart politician who comes across as robotic at times, but is very much in command of his facts.

It was a fascinating debate, full of substance, superbly moderated. It was everything the first debate was not.

The key moment for me in the Vice Presidential debate was when they both dealt with their religion and the issue of abortion.

It was an intensely personal moment, devoid of the accusations and reams of figures that each can spout.

Ryan made clear that he was personally opposed based on his experience of listening to his first child’s heartbeat at seven weeks.

Biden referred to Catholic social teaching but also stated that he was personally opposed to abortion but would not impose his views.

It was hard not to accept both men at face value and understand they were sincere in their sentiments.

Biden has bought Obama time, a precious commodity, but Tuesday night’s debate in Long Island now takes on even more importance.

Bring it on!

Complete Vice Presidential Debate 2012: Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan - Oct: