Biden barely mentioned President Obama at all, as if he were ashamed of him. The word “Obama” appears 30 times in the debate transcript. Ryan mentioned Obama 25 times (10 times as “Obamacare”), while moderator Martha Raddatz used the word only four times, and Biden only once.
In contrast, Ryan referred to Romney 22 times, promoting the top of the Republican ticket as well as defending Romney from Biden’s repeated attacks. For his part, Biden referred to Romney 26 times, and moderator Raddatz used the word “Romney” six times.
That partially reflects the debate’s focus on Romney (who was mentioned 54 times in total, nearly twice as often as Obama), but it also reflects the weakness of Obama’s argument in the election’s closing weeks.
In other words, Ryan balanced attacks on President Obama with arguments in favor of Romney. For Biden it was all attack, no defense.
That may have impressed a Democratic base hungry for a fight after Obama’s debate loss last week, but it likely did not move the ball in terms of convincing voters that Obama deserves a second term.