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KBIA's coverage of all the elections going on in mid-Missouri and the nation for 2012.

MU scholar: Vice Presidential debate will test Ryan on national stage

Joe Biden at Democrat Rally

The vice presidential nominees will take the stage for the first and only Vice Presidential debate this election year on Thursday.

Mitchell McKinney, an MU Communication professor who has been internationally recognized as a scholar of presidential debates, says this week's debate will serve as a test to Paul Ryan's ability to keep the momentum started by Romney last week.

McKinney says the debate will be the largest audience that Republican Congressman Paul Ryan has faced in his political career, and the debate will be a test for Ryan on the national stage.

“Standing next to his opponent who has been in the job, who has served as vice president for the past four years, and does Paul Ryan measure up?" McKinney said. "Does he seem as qualified, mature, wise, ready for the presidency?"

As for Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, McKinney says Biden will need to watch his quote “pit bull demeanor.”

“Biden will have to work to keep his aggressiveness in check, so it doesn’t boomerang and he comes across as flailing or just overly aggressive, and then seem mean-spirited and nasty,” McKinney said.

McKinney says last week’s presidential debates served as a platform for Republican candidate Mitt Romney to change the dynamics of the race.

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