Joe Biden went after Paul Ryan aggressively during the US vice presidential debate on Thursday evening, as the Democrat sought to make up for Barack Obama's lackluster performance against Mitt Romney.
Since last week's presidential debate, widely seen to have been won by Romney, the polls have narrowed, giving a boost to the Republican campaign which had been falling significantly behind with less than one month to go until election day.
Smiling broadly in incredulity, rolling his eyes and raising his eyebrows, Vice President Biden gave expressive reactions to Congressman Ryan's answers and frequently interrupted the Republican candidate.
The fiery debate that covered both foreign affairs and domestic policy was moderated by Martha Raddatz, the senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News.
Describing Ryan's "loose talk" criticisms of the Obama administration's foreign policy as alternatively "malarkey" and "this is a bunch of stuff", Biden did not sit back as the president had done with Romney.
Ryan attacked Obama and Biden for failing to secure the US embassy in Benghazi in which ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans we killed.
He also said that while the Republican campaign agreed with the White House's timeline to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in 2014, that fixed date should not be made public.
"What we are witnessing is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, problems are growing abroad but jobs aren't growing here at home," he said.
"What we do not want to do is give our allies a reason to trust us less and we don't want to embolden our enemies to hold and wait until we leave."
He added: "We have been sceptical about negations with the Taliban, especially when they are shooting at us."
But Biden said a strict timeline was needed to make the Afghan government "step up" and take responsibility for security in the country.
He said: "Unless you set a timeline … Kabul will not step up, they are happy to let us do the job, the only way they step up is if we say fellas, we're leaving, step up. "
"Lets keep our eye on the ball. we went there for one reason, to get those people who killed Americans, al-Qaeda, we have decimated al-Qaeda central, we have killed Osama Bin Laden," he said.
Biden echoed the words of prime minister David Cameron when he said there would be no "cliff edge" of troop withdrawals.
"We've agreed on a gradual draw down so we are out of there in the year 2014," he said. "We are leaving in 2014. Period."
As the discussion turned to the US economy, Biden attacked Ryan for voting in favour of measures during the George W. Bush administration that caused the economic crisis.
"They talk about this great recession like it fell out of the sky," Biden said. "Now all these guys are so seized with concern about the debt that they created."
"My record stands for itself, I never say what I don't mean, whatever I say I do, my whole life has been devoted to levelling the playing field for middle class people."
However Ryan said Obama and Biden had not delivered on promises made in 2008 and were more interested in making speeches than taking action.
"That's what we get in this administration, speeches, we're not getting leadership. He [Obama] broke his big promise to bring people together to solve this country's big problems," he said.
He added: "What you need are people who when they say they are going to do something they go do it. This is not what a real recovery looks like, you deserve better."
An hour into the debate, a survey of more than 300 debate watchers conducted for The Huffington Post from across the political spectrum found that Biden was beating Ryan by a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent.Suggest a correction