“Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” -Joe Biden
Wow, that was brutal! Last night Vice President Joe Biden faced off against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in the one and only vice presidential debate. Biden came out aggressive and kept Ryan on the defensive, while Ryan did not make any mistakes and had a fairly solid performance; it was Biden who in a substantive and stylistic way thrashed Ryan. Here are my winners and losers of last night’s debate.
Biden had two major objectives going into last night’s debate: A) Attack Mitt Romney and the GOP’s policy proposals and B) Energize the Democratic base; Biden had accomplished those things within the first 30 minutes of the debate. Issue after issue Biden stayed on the offensive, Foreign policy, taxes, entitlement spending, abortion policy, etc. Biden did not concede any ground to Ryan who appeared unqualified to be on the stage with Biden. Some in the media have criticized Biden for what they say was his condescending demeanor towards Ryan, constantly smiling, laughing, and interrupting Ryan, but Biden projected a strong demeanor and most importantly he energized a demoralized Democratic base. What Biden has done is set President Barack Obama up for his upcoming debate with Romney. Obama has the opportunity in the next debate to begin to end this race if he takes the fight to Romney in the same manner Biden did to Ryan.
Unlike Jim Lehrer in the first presidential debate, ABC News’s Martha Raddatz did a wonderful job moderating last night’s debate. She kept control of the debate and posed tough questions and follow up questions to both Biden and Ryan. Raddatz in her questions displayed her deep knowledge of Foreign and domestic policy and allowed both candidates to spar with one another in what ended up being one of the liveliest debates (presidential/vice presidential) in modern American political history.
The debate did not get as many tweets as last weeks presidential debate, but over three million tweets related to the debate were sent
Ryan drank so much of water last night I thought he was going to have to get up and go to the bathroom
I’ve said Paul Ryan has the ability to make unpleasant things; like setting yourself on fire, seem pleasant, but no amount of water and fast talking could help Ryan last night. Ryan, for the most part, stayed on his talking points, he rarely engaged Biden because when he did (foreign policy, abortion, entitlement spending, etc.) Biden out debated him. Ryan came in with a handicap, no one can properly defend Mitt Romney’s record because he changes his mind/policies more frequently then he changes his underwear. Ryan could not adequately defend Romney’s 47% statement or his own 30% statement and he could not provide any details on the Republican’s tax policy. Ryan had a strong, well rehearsed closing statement, but by then the damage had already been done.
Democrats widely acknowledge that President Obama lost last week’s debate, but Republicans could not concede that Ryan lost last night. Republicans complained about Biden’s demeanor and facial expressions and said he came off as a “grumpy old man”, but in politics when you are complaining about the demeanor of your opponent that often mean he just cleaned your clocked. Republicans got a bump out of last weeks debate, but Ryan could not keep that momentum going last night which opens the door for President Obama to take the momentum and this race once and for all. Make no mistake about it, whatever momentum Romney received after last week’s debate is now gone.
A week after trending on twitter Big Birds got no mentions last night
Remember when Myspace was thee social networking sites? Now, nothing!
This debate was critical because it was the undercard to next week’s presidential debate. Ryan did not make any mistakes but because of his cautiousness he allowed Biden to go on the offensive and remain on the offensive all night. Biden needed to blunt Republican momentum and energize the Democratic base and he accomplished both. Most importantly Biden has set President Obama up to go on the offensive against Romney next week. What we learned from Ryan last night was that Romney-Ryan does not have an effective answer to any of the pressing issues. They cannot tell you how they will pay for their 5 trillion dollar tax cut, what Romney meant when he wrote off 47% of the electorate, and how their foreign policy differs from that of George Bush. Romney-Ryan has no answers, and it’s President Obama’s turn to expose Romney as the chameleon he is.