Veeps tee up for debate, but will health IT come into play?

A recent New Yorker cartoon called “The Boys of Autumn” parodies the Obama and Romney camps as dueling baseball teams. The captions for the vice presidential candidates hint at the personalities that’ll be on display in Danville, Kentucky at Thursday’s debate:

“Shoeless Joe with his foot in his mouth. The loyal backstop has a loose cannon for an arm.”

[See also: Q&A: Michael Grunwald on the 'no-brainer' of health IT and ARRA's lasting impact]

“Posts big numbers that don’t appear to add up. Considers sacrificing runners ahead to be a weakness of character.”

Among all the “what to expect in the debate” articles, there is mostly an expectation of a clash of personalities in defense of the President and President-want-to-be.

Joe Biden, Democrat from Delaware, is said to be ready to “take the gloves off.” (Biden may seem a brawler now, but he quit his childhood stuttering by reciting poetry in front of a mirror for four hours at a time.) Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, whose “veins run with cheese,” is expecting Biden ”to come at [him] like a cannonball.”

As the Huffington Post put it: “Ryan is a wonk. Biden is undisciplined.”

Ryan, known for heady interest in tax and budget policy, is “a formidable foe,” the Huffington Post wrote, and on the other hand, “The fact that Biden is underestimated on domestic policy is an advantage ... He knows how to talk to blue-collar independents and to conservative Democrats who might decide key states like Ohio.”

It’s unclear how much time and attention health IT and healthcare will receive in the debate even after four Republican congressmen recently called for a halt to the EHR Incentive Program, 

Presumably Biden will not be cussing when describing the Affordable Care Act’s importance, as he did in 2010. Ryan may find the ACA as an easy target invoking the scourge of a government takeover of healthcare.

[See also: Slideshow: Is health IT held hostage to politics?]

Ryan grew in prominence on top of a wave of Tea Party Republicans joining the ranks of Congress after the 2010 midterm elections, forming a majority that has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act at least 33 times.

Onto the polls: A Rasmussen Poll has found Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama 49 to 47 percent in 11 swing states. It’s Romney’s post-debate bounce, so to say. Another poll — CNN’s “Poll of Polls” — finds Romney leading 48 percent to 47 percent.

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