Skip to comments.National Journal Column: Paul Ryan Wins Debate as Joe Biden Fails to Embarrass Rival
Posted on 10/12/2012 7:11:07 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Vice President Joe Biden had one task in his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday night: to regain the offensive against the Republican ticket after his boss, Barack Obama, all but relinquished the stage to Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate last week.
Biden failed in that goal, for the most part, though the sometimes gaffe-prone vice president certainly did not embarrass himself.
What the 69-year-old vice president needed to do in this debate was to use his vastly greater experience in public officefour decades worthto show up his 42-year-old rivals inexperience, especially in foreign policy. But Biden at best battled Ryan to a standoff. In particular, Biden was not terribly effective in countering the anticipated Republican script, which involved a move to the moderate middle less than a month before the election. Ryan, who for much of his young career has been a hero to conservatives, managed to successfully portray himself and Romney as defenders of the middle class and responsible stewards of foreign policy who would not get America into another war.
Biden certainly tried hard to catch Ryan out. He spent much of the 90-minute debate grinning in seeming disbelief at Ryans answers, which covered a mind-boggling range of issues from Afghanistan and Syria to the future of Medicare and Social Security. And unlike the president, who was perceived as too polite (Obamas own words) in his first debate with Romney, Biden sought to highlight Romneys most embarrassing moments on the stump, in particular the GOP nominees now-infamous comment that 47 percent of the country had no sense of personal responsibility for their lives. Ive had it up to here with this notion, Biden declared, saying that Republicans like Romney and Ryan needed to take responsibility for the harm their proposals would bring to the middle class and to investments in Americas future.
But Biden for the most part failed to add enough substance to his stock phrases of dismissal --Thats a bunch of malarkey." ... Not a single thing he said was accurate. ... This is a bunch of stuff -- to embarrass Ryan. In particular, Ryan managed to neutralize the issue of whether Romney's proposed 20 percent cut in marginal tax rates would favor the rich, despite the lack of specifics of which deductions and loopholes the Republicans would eliminate. Biden did not effectively challenge those ambiguities in the GOP plan, even as Ryan followed the presidential nominee in dramatically shifting position on that plan toward the middle, highlighting Romneys bipartisanship.
On critical domestic issues, namely the radical Ryan budget plan that embodies a fiercely pared-down concept of government, Biden for the most part failed to make the case that a Romney-Ryan administration would undercut the middle class and further enrich Americas wealthiest citizens, despite a Congressional Budget Office study earlier this year that concluded it would effectively eliminate, by 2050, funding for education, highways, veterans' programs, foreign aid, medical and scientific research, national parks, food and water safety, and most programs for low-income families and individuals other than Medicaid, as well as partially privatize Medicare. Biden, like Obama before him, missed opportunities to point up inconsistencies in Romney's and Ryans prior positions. At one point in the debate, Ryan repeated a line that has become a staple of Republican talking points: that Americas seniors would see their benefits reduced because of a $716 billion cut in Medicare. Biden failed to point out that Ryan himself had embraced those reductions in his own budget plan.
Although the moderator, ABCs Martha Raddatz, spent a substantial portion of the debate on foreign policypresumably a Biden strength since he formerly served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been enormously influential on such issues inside the administration -- the vice president did not decisively get the better of the well-prepped Ryan, who has little experience in this area.
Raddatz began by asking about the administrations handling of Libya and the death of U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens a month ago. Both candidates turned that into a broad discussion of the Obama administrations handling of issues from the Middle East to Afghanistan. But there was no clear winner there either.
Biden effectively countered the Romney-Ryan criticism that Obama had been weak or indecisive in addressing the nuclear threat from Iran, but he also failed to bring up the latest news that tends to vindicate the administrations sanctions policy: a broad-based collapse of Irans currency, the rial.
If it were me, I would've wiped that sh*t eating grin off Biden's face and removed a few of his recently whitened teeth!
Obviously written from a lib point of view, and calls it basically a draw, a standoff.
The silliest notion put forward is that Biden didn’t do himself any harm.
All that SANE people can talk about is how Biden was a total BUFFOON.
I am not so sure Biden failed.
His mission was different from Ryan’s. Ryan tried to be a purveyor of information.
Biden’s mission was to take the load off Obama and the last 4 years of economic and foreign policy failures. Biden succeeded. He BECAME the distraction from the real issues.
Most of the talk this morning is about Biden’s actions, smiley faces, laughing, interrupting, chuckling, folding his arms, etc.
When Biden slacked off, Martha Raddatz picked up the slack and continued the interruptions as Ryan tried to respond.
Ryan got double teamed. He held up pretty well, but his messages were lost in the smiley faces, laughing, interrupting, chuckling, folding arms.
Biden BECAME the distraction; thus, he had MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
Biden's constant flashing of his obviously "store-bought" teeth made me want to puke!!! What an empty suit !!! Biden also acted like he had "hoisted a few" back stage before putting on his "clown act".
I agree, Biden was like a coach creating a firestorm in the press room after his team played a bad game.
Take the attention off the players and put it on himself.
Old saying...you can pay now, or you can pay later.
But you will pay, if you supposedly “get away” with something especially if it’s this obvious, done in front of millions watching.
Biden distracted and the “mod” helped out at times, true.
But Biden being Biden is not pretty, it’s ugly, and it’s clownish and buffoonish. This is our Vice President, everybody, one heartbeat away.
Here, then, comes Obama and loudly proclaims he is as proud as he can be of Biden’s debate performance. Couldn’t be prouder of him!
Network commentators say Biden has singlehandedly revived the Obama campaign. Ryan was too much of a policy wonk.
Ryan failed to appeal to the “little man”, as he spoke above their heads.
I agree with your analysis, but I don’t think the “little man” will. Ryan was informative but much too passive.
Ryan “held serve.” The details of the fine (and not so fine) points will be forgotten in a few 24 hours.
The images of Biden acting the fool will endure.
Lots of folks post ideas for fantasy ads - how about one around the theme “a heartbeat away????”
WATTA COCKAMAMIE DUO—So far, the antics of the debating Prez/VP are very disturbing.
Obama was a dog-eared Hush Puppy unable to respond to prevailing govt problems —— when he did respond, he was incoherent, rambling and nonsensical.
Biden was a Laughing Hyena-—smirking and grinning at the most inappropriate times.
Even more disturbing-—there are actually Democrat voters who see nothing wrong with this-—yikes.
Liberal spin -- Ryan's plan simply reflects the reality that Obama's $700B+ cut in Medicare is already law.
It doesn't really matter -- VP debates, as a rule, have no discernible affect on the race's outcome. The objective is to get out of it without doing harm to your side's ticket.
Did Ryan win? Some say yes, some say no... I don't care either way. He did his job of "do no harm".
But Biden? Well, he had a secondary goal of playing to his wavering base, and by all accounts I can see, he was successful there. But his "smirks and laughs" routine played very poorly (and indeed, the RNC capitalized on it immediately with a devastating web ad [get this on the air in swing states now!]), and he may have violated the "do no harm" directive.
Wow, will they ever... especially with this Republican ad.