Revenge of the Biden

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, representative of Wisconsin, listens to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice-presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. 

“This is like the Avengers, when the Hulk grabbed Loki and smashed him on the floor.”

I watched this debate in Chesapeake, Virginia, with a group of local Democrats, and it’s fair to say that they were excited by Vice President Biden’s performance in tonight’s debate. They cheered his jabs—“This is malarkey”—and cheered when he directly attacked Paul Ryan for his rhetoric.

In other words, if Biden’s job was to cover for President Obama and rebuild Democratic enthusiasm, then he accomplished it with flying colors. From foreign policy to Medicare to taxes and national security, Biden defended the administration’s policies and offered a strong retort to claims from Paul Ryan and the Romney campaign.

Biden was dominant throughout the debate, but there were particular areas where he was most capable. On foreign policy, Biden relied on decades of expertise to essentially box Ryan into a corner—by the end of each exchange, Ryan was willing to concede that the administration made the right moves on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iranian sanctions. Biden gave an excellent defense of the administration’s stimulus policies, while at the same time hitting Ryan for requesting stimulus funds. Other discussions were not so decisive—Ryan fought Biden to a draw on taxes—but in each case, Biden managed to put Ryan on the defensive.

One thing that stood out, throughout the debate, was Biden’s demeanor. Throughout, he laughed at and openly mocked Ryan, usually when the congressman made claims on foreign policy. Republicans were not happy with this—on Fox News, Brit Hume said that “Biden looked like a cranky old man, and Ryan like a polite young man”—but it’s not clear if undecided voters will see this as disqualifying. Indeed, despite his feistiness—bordering on aggression—Biden came across as a statesman: cool and confident. Ryan, on the other hand, was playing as the House Budget Chairman. And while that can be effective, it’s not the tool to bring to a stage like this.

Martha Raddatz was an excellent and effective moderator. She made a few missteps, but actually pressed the candidates on their respective positions. Jim Lehrer would do well to study her.

As for the polls, it’s hard to say what effect this debate will have. It’s possible that this won’t stem Romney’s rise in the polls. My guess is that it will; Joe Biden has energized Democrats, and—hopefully—convinced them of Obama’s willingness to fight.

Comments

You saw that as "a draw on taxes"? I saw it as a clear loss. If the media was doing its job, paying even the slightest bit of attention, there is no excuse from this point forward for not holding the Romney/Ryan team's feet to the fire and insisting that they start identifying the deductions and loopholes they would close to make their numbers work. No more allowing them to yammer about "six studies" - but "put up or shut up."

This is like the Avengers, when the Hulk grabbed Loki and smashed him on his body I really motivated by reading such things.

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I would have been a lot happier if Ms. Raddatz reigned in the candidates when they wandered away from the question (and the topic!) and went to boilerplate speechifying. Especially Ryan on abortion and his Catholic beliefs, but lots of other times as well.

Jamelle, keep drinking the coolaid, buddy. If you think Biden won this debate, boy, oh, boy, are you gonna have a headache on November 7. Biden stumbled out of the gate when he lied on Benghazi. It will be like buzzards picking read meat when the Intelligence community gets done with him in the next few days. Except hardcore democrat partisans and Biden, ain't nobody laughing at the mess Obama/Biden have gotten this country into. Romney in an electoral college cakewalk.

It is always nice to hear the comment of someone living in the right wing fantasy bubble.

"The vice president's spirited performance more than makes up for Obama's failure..."

Oh YES! Joe Biden's near break even performance is going to lead to a 7 point reversal in the polls.!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Someone help me out here, which was it: "Throughout, he laughed at and openly mocked Ryan." or "Biden came across as a statesman?" Can't have it both ways. Either he was petulant brat, or a mature adult, they are, unfortunately, mutually exclusive.

Okay, Tommy, how OUGHT the sitting Vice President of the United States to react when his opponent LIES on every subject he discusses? You didn't like it when Pres. Obama looked down and took notes when Mitt Romney LIED about every subject HE discussed in the first debate; now you don't like it when Vice Pres. Biden reveals his emotional response to Ryan's LIES. Is there a third alternative?

Love the sound of teabaggers whining in the morning. Bring on the faux talking points! Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvTIphPnDM8

October 15, 2012
Hello, my fellow American voters!
I watched the Oct. 3rd presidential and Oct. 11th vice-presidential debates.
Romney-Obama debate covered 7 topics: jobs; budget deficit/debt; social security/entitlements; federal regulation of economy; healthcare; federal government role in economy; partisan gridlock.
Ryan-Biden debate covered 10 topics: Libya; Iran; economy; medicare/social security/entitlements; taxes/tax reform/spending/budget cuts; military policy; Afghanistan; Syria; abortion; negative campaign tactics.
As an INDEPENDENT, I support the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Romney and Ryan won both debates.
Ryan won despite Biden’s consistently rude/disrespectful behavior during the debate.
Biden’s tactics to evade issues/truth were disrespectful to Americans interested in facts, figures, forecasts, and solutions for real people with real problems.
Biden interrupted Ryan often, laughed often while Ryan was talking, and pointed his finger often.
Romney and Ryan won with substance, integrity, respect, clarity, facts, commitment, inspiration, and leadership. But these debates are NOT about who wins but rather about who is the best person in terms of qualifications/character to lead our country to solve problems and make life better for all Americans.
I am inspired by Romney/Ryan, and I hope that you are too!
Best regards,
Cas Lee

Mary, you did not mention any specific lies by Cong Ryan (maybe we could think of ways to counter them -- at any rate rudeness just does not seem to be how a statesman should respond). Unfortunatly, the debate contained at least a couple of whoppers by the Vice President: “No religious institution -- Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital -- none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact." "Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security again. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly." Really does not leave much room for calling someone eles a liar.

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