I disagree with Hightower.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

VP debate

I watched the VP Debate on PBS and I agreed with the post debate verdict that both men did what they needed to do.  Biden needed to take the edge off of Obama's bad performance and Ryan needed to appear credible.  I thought Ryan got a bit the better of it.

Ryan seemed a bit too scripted, but I was more bothered by Biden's manner of constantly interrupting (the moderator did nothing to restrain him) and his "argument by laughter".

I thought Ryan flubbed the final question about abortion by taking too long of a pause before saying it should be left to the political process. Maybe it was to appear reflective.  (Perhaps I'm biased by the fact that I disagree with him)  Biden then said that Romney would probably appoint someone to the court who would outlaw abortion.  (Which underlines how stupid people are about this issue.)

Biden did at one point make what I think is a good argument for the Ds about medicare when he said
"Who are you going to trust. ... since they (the Rs) were never for it in the first place.."  That argument would  work a whole lot better with me if it was proceeded by an acknowledgement that there is a problem with medicare and that the Ds were committed to solving it.

There was one humorous moment when Biden said something about the Romney's 47% remark and Ryan tried the line, "... 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."  (LAUGHTER)
Biden shot back: "But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney."   
For whatever reason Ryan did not note that Biden's "always" would then include the time a few years ago when Biden had to drop out of  a presidential campaign because he had plagiarized his biography from that of a British politician.


  1. I thoguht both did what they needed to do, but Biden got a bit the better of it. Of course, I was listening and not watching, so I didn't catch the body language and some of the snickering. Biden was in a difficult of position of needing to challenge Ryan's statements without appearing too pushy or bullying, a line I do think he crossed on occasion. Still, I think the path he chose was more effective than the one his boss chose last week.

  2. I listened to the first hour of the debate on the radio and viewed the last 30 minutes on TV. That made a word of difference in perception.

    Biden is one of those individuals that gets a pass on many things because he is just being Biden. As for the comments I heard this morning about Biden’s demeanor I have to say that the 30 minutes that I saw visually just, well, looked like Biden. I saw nothing unusual or particularly offensive (well no more than usual) in his behavior.

    I heard several comments this morning about what a great job Martha Raddatz did. I thought the purpose of a moderator was to moderate not participate. I give her an F.

    1. If you want an example of what Tom is talking about then, check page 33 of 57 in the transcript. She asks Biden a question, he does not answer and then instead of pressing Biden as she had pressed Ryan on the similar question, she and Biden joined an attack on Ryan.

      RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President, what would you suggest — what would you suggest beyond raising taxes on the wealthy, that would substantially reduce the long-term deficit?
      BIDEN: Just let the taxes expire like they’re supposed to on those millionaires. We don’t — we can’t afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum of $1 million. They do not need it, Martha. Those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. Middle-class people need the help. Why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? Why does he go after the childcare…
      RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?
      BIDEN: Why do they do that?
      RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?
      RYAN: Yeah, we’re saying close loopholes…
      RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?
      RYAN: … on high-interest people.
      RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?
      RYAN: For higher-income people. Here…
      BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage — their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?
      RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses. He keeps trying to make you think that it’s just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor…
      BIDEN: Ninety-seven percent of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year, would not be affected.
      RYAN: Joe, you know it hits a million — this taxes a million people, a million small businesses.
      BIDEN: Does it tax 97 percent of the American businesses?
      RYAN: It taxes a million small businesses…
      BIDEN: Small businesses?
      RYAN: … who are our greatest job creators.
      BIDEN: I wish I’d get — the “greatest job creators” are the hedge fund guys.
      RADDATZ: And you’re — and you’re going to increase the defense budget.
      RYAN: Think about it this way.
      RADDATZ: And you’re going to increase the defense budget.
      RYAN: No, we’re not just going to cut the defense budget like they’re — they’re proposing…
      BIDEN: They’re going to increase it $2 billion.
      RYAN: That’s not…
      RYAN: We’re talking about… RADDATZ: So no massive defense increases?
      RYAN: No, we’re saying don’t — OK, you want to get into defense now?
      RADDATZ: Yes, I do. I do, because that’s another math question.

  3. Debate shake out – In The Debate Biden pushed blame for a poor response in Benghazi to the US Intelligence community and the State Department. There is a lesson to be learned here. If you are going to throw someone under the bus be sure they do not have the ability to fight back.

  4. On her show on MSNBC after the debate Rachel Maddow was ecstatic with, among other things, the even handedness of the moderator, ABC's Martha Raddatz, in the course of her praise she announced that "Martha Raddatz, who I would now officially support for President herself, kept things moving."
    I have no idea about whether Rachel realizes how revealing that statement was.

    However, on a related note, Bill Maher (who gave the Obama campaign a million dollars and despises what he calls the tea baggers) said: "If I Watch MSNBC All Day, I Want To Marry Ann Coulter And Join The Tea Party"