#VPDebate: Biden should apologize for laughing especially during Ryan’s abortion answer (UPDATED)

Posted by: ST on October 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

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.

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13 Responses to “#VPDebate: Biden should apologize for laughing especially during Ryan’s abortion answer (UPDATED)”


  1. Chris in NC says:

    I have to agree with your co-blogger. I think Ryan let way too many things go unchallenged. The dead air after moderator asked for specifics was painful. You cannot do that. She pressed for specifics and 3 times he blabbed out the bipartisan congress and when she said “so no specifics” he just let it sit.

  2. ST says:

    If he wasn’t given specifics, which I doubt he was because they can’t be found on the website either, he couldn’t give them and had to improvise. That’s not his fault.

  3. Sefton says:

    Regarding Ryan’s answer on the request for specifics, unless I’m mistaken he was being asked about government cuts into departments, etc.
    I think what Ryan was trying to say without giving away who exactly was going to get the axe (and giving the Obama team more attack fodder), was that these cuts are going to happen but it’s going to be a long negotiated, bipartisan process with the Congress on, no doubt, a number of different areas. This, in defense of Ryan, doesn’t fall within the scope of a 2 minute response at a debate.
    On the other hand, I suppose he could’ve given an example – for instance, slashing the EPA – but I think the overall point is that cuts have to happen, preferably negotiated, but if not they’re going to happen anyway if we have the executive and legislative branches in our favor.
    He did specifically say that they were not going to cut defense.

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    At this stage of the game an undecided voter, more like indecisive, is someone about to be eaten by a shark and whose most pressing dilemma is deciding whether it is a Great White or a Hammerhead. Biden’s childish conduct showed his weak points far outweigh his strong ones making him unfit to be a “heartbeat away” from the Presidency.

  5. Phineas says:

    @Chris in NC:

    I’ll agree that was a difficult moment for Ryan, but I’ve never liked the “no specifics” argument; it’s too often a straw man or meant as a distraction. Ryan’s point about frameworks and bipartisanship was correct. Plus, you never go into details before actually entering negotiations, for you’re giving away too much to your opponents, who are sure to demagogue it immediately. And Ryan did have a good rejoinder at one point that, while his side has at least offered a conceptual framework, all Obama-Biden has offered are speeches.

  6. Drew the Infidel says:

    All issues debated last night are serious and of great concern to voters. The mere mention of a nuclear Iran is anything but humorous and further evidence of Biden’s being out of his depth in his current capacity as Vice President.

  7. Arkie says:

    I don’t understand how anyone could still be undecided, especially after the Romney/Obama debate, but those who still were at the time of this debate should ask one question: in case some tragedy occurred, which one of these guys would you want to step into the Presidency? Ryan was intelligent, well prepared, courteous and sincere. Biden was a repulsive loon.

  8. Carlos says:

    “…the Obama campaign – and the MSM – are delighted…”

    There ya go again, ST, repeating yourself…

    And, after the niceties were over at the beginning, it didn’t take Slo (as in “slo gin”) Joe 60 seconds to make a fool of himself and set the tone for his behavior for the rest of the night.

    My wife and I both wondered out loud if he was “walking smashed” (functionally drunk) or had partaken of some chemical substance given him by either his security detail or by his boss, a former street runner?

    If the answer to those is no, then he is a functional illiterate and a social boor with the mindset of a middle-school debater unsure of his/her place on the stage.

  9. Steph says:

    I was appalled from the beginning at Biden’s behavior. I was on the high school debate team and I guess the rules have changed? We present our side; they present their side; each gets some time for rebuttal. When “they” spoke, we were to stand quietly, not interrupt and the moderator was strict on time. Our team would have been sent home as the losers and shamed by the debate officials if we had acted like this. Biden also continued the Dem lies and I wish that Ryan could have called him on the lies. Of course, he wasn’t just debating Biden but the moderator as well. In all, I think Ryan “won” the debate but not by much.

  10. PennyBeach says:

    Ryan really should have challenged the Benghazi fiasco right out of the gate. He let a number of things slide. All that water drinking was not so good. Nerves or lack of specifics when questioned?
    It was definately 2 against 1 though.
    Hopefully someone puts Candy Crowley in front of an open stocked refrigerator 2 hours before the debate. Her blood sugar will spike then rapidly fall & it will be a one on one debate.Beware Romney, America needs a leader we’re counting on you.

  11. Dorothy Palmer says:

    Hairplugs needs to be put out of his misery– like the vet does when an animal is no longer able to survive.

  12. Anny says:

    I was really offended and taken aback with Biden’s behavior. I thought he was drunk, or stoned, or mentally disturbed….