The pressure had never been higher for Joe Biden not to fuck up.
It was October 2012, one week after a disastrous performance by President Barack Obama in his inaugural debate against Republican rival Mitt Romney had Democrats in near-hysterics. The president had come across as aloof, professorial, and disengaged in front of an audience of 67 million people—and it had cost him dearly. A Gallup poll released five days afterwards found that 72 percent of debate watchers believed Romney was the clear winner, with only 20 percent believing that Obama had won. It was the widest margin of victory for any presidential debate in Gallup history, and national polls in an already close election immediately swung in Romney’s favor.
Now, it was up to the Obama administration’s most gaffe-prone member to keep the ship from going down.