No debating that this debate was a heavyweight brawl for it all

This was more than a debate. It was enough of a body-splattering, meat-wagon showdown that it resembled a WWE steel-cage Texas death match at times.
Joe Biden and Paul Ryan went at it hammer and tong in their fast-paced and contentious Veep Debate Thursday night.
The Cranky Old Pol vs. The Buffed Kid Nerd.
Biden’s mission was as apparent as his bald spot: To serve as a kind of sorbet in cleansing the palates of likely voters left with a bad taste after Biden’s boss tanked against Mitt Romney.
Romney had the howl of the wolf in that debate while President Obama had the bleat of the lamb.
So Biden came out last night absolutely determined not to look like a crushed, old peanut shell (sort of like Jimmy Carter). Which is why Biden came across as part contrarian, part passion-and-pursuit linebacker.
Biden, complete with plenty of condescending laughs, smirks and eye-rolling, played the role of an exasperated lecturer as repeatedly interrupted and dismissed the wonky Ryan. Biden flashed so many grins that his pearly whites kept lining up like ivory soldiers. Certainly impressive for an old coot, whose teeth usually are the ghastly color of yellow corn.
Ryan in turn went toe to toe with Biden, even though they both were seated. Ryan exhibited presidential mettle and refused to allow Biden to smack him down into the trough.
Ryan played the role of a serious student who also was nimble and calm enough to walk on the lumps of shrapnel bursting around him. And there were vivid moments when he struck the visionary chord that has made him a beloved icon of the Republican right.
Ryan’s worst moment was when he seemed embarrassed when the vice president raised the issue of Ryan’s letter seeking stimulus funds.
His best moment came in retort to Biden’s attack on Romney’s infamous 47 percent rant (which Obama astonishingly and inexcusably ignored in the presidential debate) when Ryan delivered this surgical stinger: “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
Even Joe Ol’ Foot-in-the-Mouth Biden laughed. And this time it was a genuine, not condescending laugh.
The Veep Debate was a helluva undercard. But it likely didn’t move the needle either way. Split decisions seldom do.