The VP debate: “Who do you believe?”

With the conclusion of the Vice Presidential Debate, the national spin rooms have come out swinging. Clearly, it was a fast-moving, high-spirited affair. Unlike the first Presidential Debate of 2012, Both Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan held their ground, and represented their opposing views well… for the most part.

Here’s my take. Sorry it’s so long, but this one was power-packed…

-1st impression: THANK YOU to Martha Raddatz for asking clear and direct questions. This is how it’s supposed to be done!

Joe Biden gave an honest answer on the Libya response… mourning the loss of the officials, admitting that Obama administration could have done better, but received conflicting reports from the intelligence community in real time.

Ryan’s criticism of how they handled the Libya incident is valid, so I give that point to him. But only due to the fact that he’s the challenger and had no real responsibility for the incident. B-FAIL.

So Ryan agrees that we should apologize for burning Korans, and for the film, but not for our values. So how would you make that distinction instead of just talking about it?? A bit of a tangled web there.


Ryan is critical of the Obama admin because they should have been more harsh on sanctions. He’s definitely studied up on Foreign Policy matters.

Obama policy is BAD. Umm… ok, but what would you do differently?

Joe Biden smiles every time he hears a disagreement, assertion or lie. I get it… for some people, that’s the only way to handle it.

He also points out that the sanctions aren’t just placed by the US, but a world cooperative effort. “So all this bluster I keep hearing, all this loose talk… What are they going to do… unless he’s talking about going to war.”

Ryan: “They see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress.” WHO DID THIS? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? Iran is “not changing their mind, we have to make them change their mind.” Umm, how??? No solutions, just criticism.

Biden comes back and defends sanctions. “This is a bunch of stuff”… is he going to curse during this debate?

Ryan: Thank heavens we have these sanctions in place, and because of these sanctions, Iran is 4 years closer to a nuclear weapon. So you either SUPPORT the sanctions, or you don’t. Which is it, and what would YOU do differently?? R-FAIL.

Ugh… Biden laughs a lot. It gets annoying because it’s read as not taking the debate seriously.


Wow Biden came out SWINGING with all of the buzz words “Romney said ‘let Detroit go bankrupt’, ’47 percent comment’ and ‘Grover Norquist pledges’… “They’re holding hostage the middle class tax cut.” INCREDIBLE

Ryan’s counter was WEAK. Ryan didn’t address anything that Joe Biden accused the GOP of. Now he’s re-legislating the GOP convention… trying to humanize Romney. Answer the question, and take on Biden’s assertions. R-FAIL.

Ryan on 47 percent: “The words that come out of your mouth don’t always come out the right way.”

Biden counters GOP Congressional obstruction head-on: “If they’d get out of the way and let us pass the middle class tax cut. If they’d get out of the way and let us pass the Jobs Bill. Stop talking and SHOW ME SOMETHING.” Very effective point to Biden.

Raddatz asks Ryan directly: “When could you get unemployment below 6 percent?” He doesn’t give a time frame. Ramble, ramble.

Ryan attacks Stimulus funds as “green pork”, and Biden CALLS HIM OUT for requesting Stimulus funds!! Biden: “This is such a ‘bad program’, but [Ryan] writes me a letter saying the Stimulus will create JOBS. R-FAIL.


Ryan did a good job on this, getting ahead of some of Biden’s points, but once again, he never even entertains the possibility of increased REVENUES. Not that I want to pay more taxes, but if it means that I’ll have a Medicare program, even I am willing to pay a little more. Stop demonizing taxes!!

Biden on Medicare: Calls out Ryan for his first budget, which did destroy MediCare. If that’s not your plan, then why did you create a budget that does it?

Martha calls Ryan on premium support, and he goes into some interesting detail, saying that he’ll ensure “100% MediCare for poor seniors by taxing/scraping benefits from wealthier seniors.” I guess he’s not aware that the income gap among Seniors is actually worse than the young, and has been decimated by savings losses in the Great Recession. Save for the Romneys and Warren Buffet, there won’t be many “wealthy seniors” left. Pie-in-the-sky economics here.

Biden is getting rude here, have to call it when I see it. B-FAIL. Thankfully, Ms. Raddatz is good at shutting it down.


Biden’s numbers got a bit confused. “800millionbillion dollars” Oh, boy. Thankfully though, he’s not meant to be the wonky one.

Ryan again, not explaining WHY the rich can’t afford to pay more in taxes, but tries to diffuse it into everyone’s spending. But he also points out rightfully that tax increases on the rich alone won’t make up for the deficit. That’s TRUE. Great line here… “Watch out middle class, the tax cut is coming to YOU”

Raddatz asks Ryan directly: “You have refused to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20% across-the-board tax cut. Do you have the specifics?” Ryan answers: “We want to have bi-partisan agreements.” She asks again. Ryan answers: Well here’s what Ronald Reagan did. You’ve got NOTHING. R-FAIL.

Ryan: “Jack Kennedy lowered taxes and increased growth”. Biden: “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” ZING!! Ok Ryan, stop trying to lecture Biden on what Congress does. He’s been in Congress since you were 2!!

Ryan made some interesting promises… now he wants to close the really big loopholes for high-income people? No home mortgage deduction for high-income people? I think he’ll regret that statement later.


Oh boy… Ryan call the cuts he VOTED for “devastating”. And of course, Biden calls him out on it. R-FAIL.

Ok Biden, you’re debating Paul Ryan, not Martha Raddatz. Don’t get testy with her. B-FAIL.

Ryan: “We agree with the administration on their 2014 transition.” But yet you keep arguing against the timeframe? Why?

Biden say we have trained Afghan troops, and it is their responsibility to take care of their nation. “We are leaving in 2014.” Nice, clear answer. Yet Paul Ryan continues to argue around the edges.

Ryan: “We don’t want to broadcast to our enemies” our departure date. Biden comes right back saying it’s not just the US involved… 49 other allies agree to the timeline. Granted, the US is invested FAR MORE than the other countries, but Ryan didn’t counter with this point.

Raddatz asks Biden directly: “Do you think the Taliban will take advantage of this timeline?” Biden says “Unless you set a timeline, the Afghan government will not step up.” Then cites Iraq as an example. Oh, that’s right… this administration as already ended one war!! Good job here.


Biden accuses Ryan and Romney of “loose talk” on Syria, saying they’re too quick to threaten war. Ryan counters with shoulda woulda coulda, but doesn’t say what they’d actually DO. He also manages to diss the UN and Russia in one fell swoop. Ryan has been pretty solid on foreign policy so far, but this was a very careless answer.

Biden: “What would my friend do differently?” Raddatz asks “So what would Romney/Ryan do differently?” Then Ryan simply AGREES with Obama administration, with NO new ideas. Trying to sound tough, but no substance. R-FAIL


Ryan: “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life and their faith.” He then clarifies that policy of Romney administration will be to oppose abortion WITH exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. This is news.

Biden: “With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position… in my personal life. But I refuse to impose that on others. I do not believe that we have a right to tell women that they can’t control their body.” Biden also pins Ryan to his past record on trying to change abortion law through Congress.

Raddatz to Ryan: “If the Romney/Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe abortion should remain legal be worried?” Ryan let’s out a HUMONGOUS sigh of despair. You can tell he did NOT want to defend the ticket on this!!! Here’s Ryan as he abandons his last shred of principle, and sells his soul to the political pundits…

“We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision. That people through their elected representatives, and reaching a consensus through a Democratic society should make this determination.”

STOP. Please remember this answer, if you forget everything else from this debate. I believe this is going to haunt Ryan for the rest of his political career, and here’s why. As you already know, the Supreme Court, our highest court in the United States, is UNELECTED. Those unelected judges ruled on Roe V. Wade in the first place. If it’s not up to them to make a decision like Roe V. Wade, what else should unelected judges not be able to do? This answer was meant to make Ryan sound like he’s reasonable, but it’s acutally questioning the very core of the role of government.


Biden talks about his son as a part of the 47 percent. It was a good summation of the Obama admin’s actions as well. Much better than his closing statement.

Ryan: “If you don’t have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as something to run from.” Of course, Mr. Ryan spent a lot of time running from his own record.

On Biden’s closing statements, find a camera!! Great way end with 47 percent comment though.

Ryan’s closing statement was at the camera, but mostly criticized Obama, and wasn’t very hopeful. “This is not what a recovery looks like.” Some will agree, but some won’t.


I genuinely thought both men did their jobs tonight. Paul Ryan stood up to a much older incumbent, and represented his views about as well as one could. He came out swinging and was able to take great advantage on the Libya incident. But what he couldn’t do was run away from his record. He did ask for Stimulus money after calling it “wasteful”. He did pursue Personhood amendments. He couldn’t name a single proposal for how he was going to cut tax rates by 20%… instead he said that they would look for bi-partisan solutions (as if that’s working now??).

Biden lost some style points, and there were a few times that got overly testy and combative. But he dominated this debate, and left Paul Ryan holding the bag for several parts of his Congressional record. And prhaps, most important to the Right-Wing portrayal of him, Biden never delivered a truly terrible gaffe for them to use to their advantage. He made his points, and backed them up with old-fashioned facts.

Final tally: Biden 3 Fails. Ryan 6 Fails. Advantage, BIDEN

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