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Bombastic Joe outdid himself last night. Not only did he come across as rude, hostile, huffy, arrogant and obnoxious, but his repeated laughter and throwing his hands up in the air during last night’s debate (transcript) with Paul Ryan was undignified for the office of the vice presidency, and he and the Obama campaign should be ashamed – not celebrating – last night’s performance. But coming off the heels of Obama’s lackluster, “professorial” debate performance against Mitt Romney last week, the Obama campaign – and the MSM – are delighted because Joe didn’t make any noticeable “gaffes”, even though he told a LOT of lies. So to them, that’s a “win” and they’re going to run with it.
Below, see what I think is the best summary of Biden’s attitude from last night.
He also laughed on the Libya issue, which was equally disgusting. These are serious matters that deserve a serious discussion. We didn’t get that from the sitting Vice President of the United States.
And below is the full debate for those of you who missed it.
I think Paul Ryan did a great job for someone in his first nationally televised debate and considering the two on one atmosphere he had to deal with from both Biden and the debate moderator (and Obama fan) Martha Raddatz. Raddatz, of course, is being praised by leftists this morning for her “fairness” but we all know what happened last night. I’ll say I thought the first fifteen minutes she did very well but after that it was downhill and it was clear she was going to let Biden talk more and badger Ryan more. She even seemed to take in stride the fact that at several points in the debate Biden was yelling at her.
The thing I believe Ryan could have done better was to push back on Joe Biden’s lies, but what impressed me was how Ryan got Biden on the defense quickly and for the first half hour or so Biden had to spend it defending O’Biden’s record rather thank attacking Romney and Ryan’s. My co-blogger disagrees with me on this particular point but I think Ryan did admirably on foreign policy, too, and what he missed will be taken care of by Mitt Romney in the next debate. It was during the foreign policy segments in particular that both the moderator and Biden wouldn’t let Ryan finish his answers and interrupted with more questions but he held his own. If he and Romney are elected and run for a second term, Ryan will need to be able to assert himself more without coming off like a condescending snob like Biden did.
The low point in the debate, and one I think sets a new low point for all VP debates in modern history, was when Biden laughed while Paul Ryan was giving a personal answer on the abortion question. Could he have possibly come across as more of a jerk than in that moment? He should really apologize for his attitude in the whole debate, but if not that then for that moment alone. It was a time for people to take deep breaths and share their personal stories without fear of being mocked, and Biden did not rise to the occasion.
(UPDATE 1 – 2:45 PM: I retract my above remarks about Biden laughing during Ryan’s abortion comments. Apparently what I heard was some other noise. A side by side frame video shows Biden did not laugh. My apologies.)
I saw that two or three media post-debate polls declared Ryan the winner, but the “undecideds” in the focus groups I watched last night were still undecided when all was said and done. What does this mean? Obama gained NO momentum from last night’s debate and Joe Biden failed to do his job in reversing the Obama downslide of the last week or so. But, as I said earlier, because he committed no noticeable “gaffes” – and because “showed emotion” against Ryan last night in a way that Obama did not against Romney – the MSM spins this as a “win.”
My personal opinion is that while neither of them hit it out of the ballpark, Ryan did what he had to do in terms of coming across as knowledgeable enough on the issues that should the unfortunate happen and he have to BE the President, he could handle it Not only that, but the person who looked like the mature adult on stage last night was not Joe Biden. It was Paul Ryan.
Make sure to watch the debate links above, read the transcript link above, and decide for yourself.
Phineas butts in: I thought Ryan was a little unsure of himself, or perhaps taken aback for a while by Joe’s initial “barroom boor” routine at the start of the debate, when foreign policy was covered. Some good points were lost when Joe would interrupt Ryan, and then the moderator would go on to the next topic, not letting Ryan finish his point. I count these as lost opportunities, something that can’t be recovered by Romney — you’ve got one shot and that’s it. On the other hand, I thought he finished strong and basically won the debate “on points.” But I more and more think the big takeaway will be Biden’s buffoonish behavior, and that won’t help the ticket. PJM’s Bryan Preston sums it up well, I think:
How to score this debate? Vice President Joe Biden was frequently irritating to the point of being obnoxious when he interrupted Ryan and even scolded Raddatz, demanding equal time when he consistently stayed a minute ahead on the talk clock. But he scored well when he went into compassionate voice mode. He never stepped on any landmines or dealt up any of the expected gaffes. Ryan held his own, but a time or two allowed the interruptions to halt him when he was about to make a good point. Raddatz learned the wrong lesson from the Jim Lehrer experience. The left accused Lehrer of allowing Romney to say too much. Raddatz consistently interrupted Ryan more often than Biden and consistently changed the subject just when it seemed Ryan would score. Ryan seemed to connect more often with the undecided voter, and never came across as undisciplined the way Biden came off more than once. Returning to the opening paragraph, Ryan presented himself as a knowledgeable and plausible vice president. Biden did far better than some expectations had set for him but did not, in my judgment, change the trajectory of the campaign. He did no real harm, but did not help appreciably either. The best he can hope for is that the poll slide his campaign has seen since the first debate will be slowed.
Paul Ryan wins it, narrowly, more narrowly than expected. Vice president probably brought his best game, but his best is often off-putting and even rude.
Update 2 – 2:57 From ST: Here’s a more complete video of all of Biden’s laughing moments.