Last night the only Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan took place. In case you missed it, here’s the video and transcript. The overall feeling is that both men did what they came to do. Vice President Biden was aggressive and Congressman Ryan was knowledgeable about more than just the federal budget. Biden managed to get through the night without making one of his infamous gaffes and Ryan provided a compelling closing that defined the difference between the Obama Presidency and what a Romney Presidency would look like. The Vice President also finally called Romney out on his “47%” remark, something Obama was criticized for not doing in his first debate with Romney. The problem with Biden being the one to have to mention it is that Ryan already had a response prepared, and a funny one at that. Here’s the exchange:
Biden: “But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives …”
Ryan: “And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way …”
If swayed by Biden’s aggressiveness, one would probably conclude that Biden won the debate. However, Biden was more than aggressive. He was flippant at times, dismissive at others. His constant laughing during Ryan’s responses, contrasted with Ryan’s collected and measured demeanor, came off as disrespectful and arrogant. It was not becoming of a Vice President or the proper decorum adhered to in a debate. Even the moderator, Martha Raddatz, chided Biden, albeit diplomatically, at one point.
I would like to also take a quick second to point out that Ms. Raddatz did a fantastic job last night moderating the debate. She deserves all the kudos she receives from this. Ms. Raddatz held Biden and Ryan to their times and their feet to the fire numerous times.
Congressman Ryan held his own last night, which means that there should be no doubt that this man is qualified to be Vice President or, if tragedy strikes, President. His primary focus being budgetary concerns, there were questions about how he would stack up against Biden’s decades-long foreign affairs experience. I would say: pretty darn well. In fact, it was Biden who didn’t have command of the facts, claiming, falsely, that there were no extra security requests for the embassy in Libya prior to four Americans being killed there on September 11th, 2012. Biden also decided that it would be a good idea to throw our intelligence community under the bus for the administration’s failure to correctly characterize what happened in Libya as a terrorist act, opting instead to blame an obscure Youtube video. This claim flowed freely from Biden’s lips as if it were the gospel truth, yet anyone that has paid any attention to developments over the past month, knows that the administration knew within 24 hours that the attack on our embassy was not spontaneous and was likely linked to al Qaeda.
It is these types of errors on the Vice President’s behalf, combined with the incessant laughing, that leads me to conclude that Congressman Ryan was the actual winner in last night’s debate. Ryan hit the hardest and he did it with class. Paul Ryan asked, pointedly:
“Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland or on windmills in China?”
“Where are the 5 million green jobs that were being promised?”
The Vice President had no answer. Much like their view of the economy, he and the President often have no answer. They think, as the President said, “the private sector is doing fine.” Congressman Ryan laid out exactly why the economy is not doing fine.
“The economy is barely limping along. It’s growing at 1.3 percent. That’s slower than it grew last year, and last year was slower than the year before. Job growth in September was slower than it was in August, and August was slower than it was in July … Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work today. Fifteen percent of Americans are in poverty … Look at all the string of broken promises. If you like your health care plan you can keep it — try telling that to the 20 million people who are projected to lose their health insurance if “Obamacare” goes through or the seven point million — 7.4 million seniors who are going to lose it. Or remember when he said this: I guarantee if you make less than $250,000, your taxes won’t go up. Of the 21 tax increases in “Obamacare,” 12 of them hit the middle class. Or remember when he said, health insurance premiums will go down, and $2,500 per family per year? They’ve gone up 3,000 (dollars), and they’re expected to go up another 2,400 (dollars). Or remember when he said, I promise by the end of my first term, I’ll cut the deficit in half in four years? We’ve had four budgets, four trillion-dollar deficits. A debt crisis is coming.”
And, for those still suffering under the delusion that the Republicans are to blame for the President not being able to get anything done, Ryan put that to bed, as well:
“Let’s not forget that they came in with one-party control. When Barack Obama was elected, his party controlled everything. They had the ability to do everything of their choosing, and look at where we are right now.”
Yes, I think Ryan won this debate and I’m not the only one. A poll conducted by CNN declared Ryan the winner with 48% compared to Biden’s 44%. Ryan won the debate with style, class, honesty, integrity, respectfulness and the data to back it all up with. However, it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, since VP debates don’t decide Presidential elections. Having said that, the RNC has put out a very powerful new ad that calls out Vice President Biden for his behavior. Check it out: