TIME’s Vice Presidential Debate Drinking Game

Planning a night in with Biden, Ryan and your refreshing beverage of choice? Here are a few ideas on how to best enjoy (or simply endure) it.

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Like Biden, we recommend a cold Coke if you're playing along at home. After all, you do have to work tomorrow.

It’s not easy playing second fiddle to the president. Quite often it seems like a loveless job. But both of tonight’s debaters both sport quite outsized personalities, which affords tonight’s Vice Presidential debate a highly watchable quality. The gaffe-prone foreign policy expert Joe Biden will square off against the budget buff (and fitness buff) Paul Ryan. But it’s not enough to just sit there and take in their comments. TIME’s D.C. staff came up with this nifty drinking game to create a more interactive experience.

As the candidates blab about Main Street and Wall Street (and quite possibly Sesame Street), the only street you should be worried about is the pathway from your couch to your fridge. And we’ve broken our game into categories to minimize confusion. You’ll thank us as the night drags on.

And of course, please enjoy responsibly.

(MORE: What to Expect in the Vice-Presidential Debate)


  • Sip for however long the opening handshake lasts between Biden and Ryan. Joe will be sure to linger.

For the Troops

  • Take a sip if Biden mentions his son Beau, an Iraq war veteran.


  • Drink if Biden says something to the effect of, “I will not exploit my opponent’s youth or inexperience.”

(PHOTOS: Pete Souza’s Portrait of a Presidency)

Big Bird

  • Biden is expected to mention Big Bird. Drink if Biden asks Count von Count to check Paul Ryan’s fuzzy math.


  • If Biden mentions his friend former Sen. Russ Feingold, or Paul Ryan notes that he co-authored a bill with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, grab a partner and take a swig.


  • This rule’s not for the feeble-hearted.  If Biden says “Champ,” “Sport,” “I’ll be brief,” or “literally,” take a good hard look at your glass, and take a drink.

Workout regimen

  • If Martha Raddatz gets caught checking out Paul Ryan, take a sip.
  • If Biden says “P90X,” flexes, and winks at the camera, shut off the TV. That’s the best it’s going to get all night.

(PHOTOS: Paul Ryan: All Pumped Up for His Closeup)


  • If Biden mentions his wife, drink for 5 seconds, one for every of Joe’s proposals.
  • If there is a cutaway shot to infamously press-shy Janna Ryan, take a drink. It’ll make things less awkward.


  • If Biden mentions the Electric City, Scranton, Pennsylvania, turn off the lights.
  • If Ryan says “Cheesehead,” wash some cheese curds down with a Miller.


  • If Biden says “47%,” drink 53% of your beer.
  • If Ryan says “47%,” finish it.


  • If Paul Ryan mentions his mom and “$716 billion” when asked about Medicare, finish your drink.

(MORE: Introducing the Inevitable Twitter Account Dedicated to Paul Ryan’s Bicep)

Presidential Readiness

  • If Moderator Martha Raddatz asks the “3 a.m. test” question, drink to her relevancy.

George W. Bush

  • If Biden mentions George W. Bush, grab a pretzel.
  • If Ryan mentions George W. Bush, try not to choke, and wash it down with an O’Douls.


  • If it’s after 10:30, and you’re still watching, take a drink. You deserve it.

LIST: Gaffes of 2012: Secret Videos, International Snafus and Joe Biden