Joe Biden never bothered me that much. Even as one who supports the Romney-Ryan ticket, I often found myself feeling empathetic toward Biden.
The frequent gaffes were excusable for two reasons: people, including public figures, should not be wholly judged on an occasional slip of the tongue, and Biden does exude a certain charm that makes you want to give him a pass.
He reminds you of the uncle whose big personality trumps the incidental nuttiness.
"That's just Joe being Joe," is the frequently heard refrain.
But the vice presidential debate changed that.
Here was a lifelong public figure, the man one heartbeat away from the presidency, behaving like a petulant teenager. He laughed dismissively at inappropriate times, bullied the moderator and his opponent, mugged for the camera and puffed up like a threatened tom turkey.
It's estimated that Biden interrupted Paul Ryan as many as 80 times.
Ryan, by contrast, was measured and respectful.
For 75 minutes of the 90-minute debate, Biden shifted from the charming uncle to the prototypical career politician, the omnipotent official who, by benefit of his years in government, simply knows better than everyone else.