No. 2s rising in presidential race

Biden vs Ryan


Paul Ryan likes exercise, budget charts and the Green Bay Packers. Joe Biden likes train rides, foreign policy and talking.


In some ways, these presidential ticket No. 2s could not be more different. They are separated in age by nearly three decades, were born to families in different regions of the country and have views on opposite ends of the political spectrum.


But in other ways, the 42-year-old Republican congressman and 69-year-old Democratic vice president are very much alike. Both were born to Catholic families in working-class neighborhoods and were young stars in their parties who became experts on the inner workings of Washington.


Serving a unique purpose


And perhaps above all, these men both do political things their respective No. 1s cannot.


Biden, with his back-slapping image, big smile and hardscrabble roots in Scranton, Pa., is seen as more effective than President Barack Obama at courting white working-class voters. Ryan, while less known outside his Janesville, Wis., hometown, is a favorite of the Republican Party’s conservative base, a group that long has been skeptical of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials.


Over the next three months, Biden and Ryan will play key roles in the White House race, raising money, criticizing the opponent and helping lend credibility in complicated policy debates — Biden on foreign policy and Ryan on federal budgeting.

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