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Vice presidential candidates must tell the truth

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 00:10


When second-in-command hopefuls Joe Biden and Paul Ryan square off in tonight’s vice presidential debate, their real success will lie in how they are able to communicate the truth to young voters.
After a presidential debate full of half-truths and half-efforts, the Democratic vice president and Republican congressman will have only one night to make their points. Discussion after the presidential debate focused on truth, effort and demeanor rather than issues at hand. 
When it comes to the college-age demographic, an imperative force in the 2008 win of President Barack Obama — according to the Pew Research Center, 66 percent of votes from 18- to 29-year-olds were for the Democratic ticket — the truth is a big issue. Ryan and Biden, just in their demeanor and delivery, will serve to further divide undecided voters.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Aug. 22, reported that among 18- to 29-year-olds, 36 percent of voters view Ryan favorably and 36 percent view him unfavorably. For Biden, a 51 percent favorable and 
34 percent unfavorable makes him the more-liked candidate in the running.
Biden seems to be more popular among the traditionally Democratic-leaning young demographic, but Ryan has made an effort to appeal to younger voters. In his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in August, he made college students an important part of his address.
“Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get going in life,” Ryan said. “Half of them cannot find the work they studied for, or work at all.”
Yet Biden has been touting his ticket’s education policies at universities across the country, saying the Romney campaign “hardly (mentions) education at all except in a negative context,” according to the Associated Press.
Biden’s signature candid and progressive remarks will likely stand out against Ryan’s complaints about the current administration’s failures, but the test will come with their abilities to lay the groundwork for voters in the form of true policy reforms.
Perhaps the vice presidential contenders can clear up some points for us concerning college debt and federal loans. Social issues should also be at the forefront of the debate. This is a chance for Ryan and Biden to get away from tax talk and health care banter — favorites of the presidential contenders — and focus more on issues that hit home among a key demographic.
No matter what the topic, the sincerity shown by Biden and Ryan in tonight’s debates will have the longest-lasting effect on voters, and the vice presidential hopefuls should remember this when addressing the nation — especially young voters.

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