US Vice President Joe Biden (L) participates in the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden mockingly smiled, wagged his finger and couldn't seem to stop interrupting Republican running mate Paul Ryan.
Democrats cheered his sharp tone in the only vice presidential debate. Republicans panned the vice president as disrespectful to his younger opponent.
Biden's aggressive approach stood in stark contrast to President Barack Obama's listless - and widely panned - turn on the debate stage last week. Obama, to the dismay of his supporters, clenched his jaw, looked down at his notes, and held back his criticism of Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Ryan, sitting on the national debate stage for the first time, settled on a smirk for much of the debate. He sipped water and cleared his throat through many of Biden's answers.