Joe Biden and Paul Ryan: The Candidates You Don't Know

Paul Ryan and Joe Biden
Paul Ryan and Joe Biden

On election tickets, the presidential candidates usually get all the glory. They, after all, are the top names, the main acts, the men who are fighting for the chance to lead America. The bottom of the ticket, on the other hand, is usually filled with someone a little further out, a pinch-hitter brought in to garner a few votes or sew up a key constituency. But when it comes to debates, the bottom of the ticket is often where the action is. After all, the president has to look presidential -- dignified, responsible, above the fray. The vice president, on the other hand, can have some fun.

This certainly appears to be the case this year, as Paul Ryan, one of the Republicans' biggest economic heroes, faces off against Joe Biden, a notoriously outspoken (and gaffe-prone) Democrat. Pundits on both sides are already handicapping the contest, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates and waiting for what -- finally -- promises to be a barnburner of a debate.

In honor of tonight's festivities, we've put together a collection of candidate trivia, a glimpse of the ways the candidates differ -- and the surprising similarities they share. If you're interested in the two men who are fighting to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, or just looking for something to do until the start of the "Thrilla in Vanilla," here is our comparison of America's candidates for the second-highest office in the land!


Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.