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Vice Presidential Debate to Air Tonight

Rep. Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden will talk domestic, foreign policy

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will discuss domestic and foreign policy at the vice presidential debate from 9 to 10:30 p.m. today at Centre College in Danville, KY.

Pressure on Biden increased after President Barack Obama's lackluster debate performance last week. To prepare for tonight's debate, Biden has been holding practice sessions and reading briefing books, The Washington Post reports.

Reuters reports Democrats are relying on Biden to deliver. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus told the Washington Post he expects Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan to do well, but Vice President Biden is a "gifted orator."

Vice presidential debates rarely make any difference in the elections, George Mason University Professor Mark Rozell told Patch.

"So whoever has the better night on Thursday, I doubt it will add up to much more than some media hype of what it all means to the race," said Rozell, who teaches public policy. "In the end, voters vote based on the top of the ticket, not the running mate."

Northern Virginia residents have a host of issues they would like to see the candidates address. Sequestration will cause $1.2 trillion in defense cuts and other spending if Congress does not make key budget decisions before January. 

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) hosted a press conference call Friday with U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-4th) and Ashburn defense contractor Joe Travez, saying the cuts could be "devastating" to Northern Virginia's economy. About 200,000 Virginians could be at risk of losing their jobs if sequestration is implemented.

"These cuts would be devastating to the military and incredibly harmful to Virginia’s economy," McDonnell said. 

Rozell says Thursday night's debate will be "a debate of contrasts."

"The two men have very different styles," Rozell said. "Biden is good on the emotive side. Ryan is more about policy and details. The keys for Biden are to avoid a news-making misstatement, appear statesmanlike as the incumbent who is a generation older than his young and less experienced counterpart. For Ryan, it is important to present the arguments for the Romney economic plan in a way that especially connects with middle class voters still thinking about that 47 percent comment. He can build a bit on the momentum that Romney has from the first debate."

Northern Virginians can watch the debate at the following watch parties:

Arlington County Democratic Commitee: Bailey's Pub and Grille, Ballston

Northern Virginia Tea Party: The Green Turtle, Fairfax

Veterans for Romney/Ryan Phone Bank and Debate Watch Party: Fairfax County Republican Committee HQ, Fairfax

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