Nightly News | October 11, 2012
>>> good evening, there is every reason to believe the live television audience watching the vp debate tonight will be every bit as large as the last presidential debate , and because that debate was something of a game-changer, as it turned out, the stakes going into tonight are higher for two men from similar backgrounds, who are very different. for starters, this is the broadest age difference of any debate. our poll bottom team is in place tonight, our coverage includes our nbc polling numbers out tonight on this race. we want to begin with nbc's ron mott in danville, kentucky, tonight, good evening.
>> reporter: hey, brian, to you, vice president joe biden will be there at that table, paul ryan the other table. the forward progress is what vp biden hopes to stop in its track. before taking off today, vice president joe biden was in a boxing mood, hinting he wouldn't be the one on the ropes tonight. congressman paul ryan got the rock star treatment tonight, walking the rope line, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. it is the second stage for joe biden . but many are questioning just which joe biden will show up. the emotional guy next door type.
>> i don't know what it is like to have a child you're not sure is going to make it.
>> reporter: or the feist ie guy. he was not at his best last week against mitt romney in denver, the president admitted. there was pressure to score, the maryland congressman played the part of ryan in six mock debates, detailed down to a set. acting like the one tonight.
>> you go through a lot of mock debates, the vice president is looking forward to being here tonight. joe biden just needs to be joe biden .
>> reporter: they described his mood as upbeat. whether joe biden and ryan uses first names, remains to be scene. the moderator will introduce him as congressman, although he is far less experienced than joe biden , ryan 's advisers don't seem worried.
>> he can talk about all his years in washington, all the multiple times he has run for president, the tough decisions he has made. they have a record that is bad for the country, he will have to defend it.
>> what he can't run from is the president's record.
>> reporter: aides say mr. ryan spent the afternoon relaxing with family, working in time for last minute studying. he even hit the gym, just as an old-time picture hits the stands, and a pep talk from his seven-year-old son, sam. now we're on the college campus , of course, which means certain traditions need to be upheld. a couple of days ago, a student brought the picture of fred vincent into the debate hall. he has not missed a home football game here since he passed away. now finally, president obama will watch tonight's debate from air force one after a day of campaigning. governor romney will watch from a hotel room .
>> looks fit to us, ron mott starting off the coverage in danville tonight, ron , thank