Forget winning over the Gen X vote. Ryan's biggest fans are older voters who loved his respectful demeanor at the vice-presidential debate.
LANCASTER, Ohio -- The reviews of Paul Ryan's performance in his debate against Vice President Biden last week have been mixed. The Republican congressman held his own, but often seemed to fade into the woodwork compared to Biden's goofy, scenery-chewing act. He struggled to match his counterpart's relentlessness, complained about the constant interruptions, and was frequently on the defensive.
But there's one vital demographic that was perfectly satisfied with how Ryan acquitted himself: the grannies.
"I thought Paul Ryan came out looking very responsible and intelligent, and personally I did not think the vice president did," said Susan Seifert, a 65-year-old retired housewife who lives on a farm in rural Ohio and brought her 16-year-old granddaughter here to see Ryan and Romney the day after the debate. Given the way he acted, she said -- "all that smirking and grinning" -- Biden "doesn't seem to be taking the country very seriously."
Several older women I met at the rally put it in similar terms: Ryan, 42, struck them as a nice young man, Biden, 69, a grating boor. Some Republicans might have wished Ryan pushed back harder against Biden's aggressive assault, but these ladies appreciate that he minded his manners.