Well, talk about a pivot. The Vice Presidential debate this evening was much more interesting and spirited than the first presidential debate. Joe Biden started in early, giving no quarter to Paul Ryan on any of his statements. To make up for the glaring omission last time, Joe Biden launched into an offensive on the issue of the 47 percent.
Unlike last week’s bullying tactics which went unchecked by Jim Lehrer, the VP debate had a much stronger moderator in Martha Raddatz. She forced both contenders to answer detailed questions and give specifics. Also, she came up with much better questions. In breaking down the answers and interchanges around foreign policy, Paul Ryan came off as talking about things he knew little about beyond pre-planned talking points. If there was even one element which he looked strong on, it was the ability to rattle off numbers and seem informed in his responses. Despite pulling out all the stops and being the numbers cruncher, Ryan still looked pretty bad in comparison to Biden who pointed out reversals in policy right then and there.
Among the two biggest punches delivered by Biden, were in my opinion the following. First, the mention of Romney’s “let Detroit go bankrupt” statement. That was well played. On issues of the domestic economy, that is no small point to raise. Second, the point about the letters Ryan wrote asking for stimulus money. There was really not much he could say to that. It got to a point where it almost wasn’t fair.
I have to say that definitely Joe Biden took this one. He cleared it up in terms of facts, and was able to press Ryan to show that he really did not have anything specific to remedy the great issues of foreign and domestic policy. Not to mention the beautiful answer on women’s right to choose. Biden said succinctly that he would not try to force his personal religious beliefs on other Americans. It is something else that in 2012 that a major national political figure has to reiterate the necessity of separation between church and state. Ryan has just made it that much harder for the ticket to win half of the electorate.
Now, we will see what happens with American public opinion as it relates to the polls. But no matter what they say, this was an awesome debate, and a clear delineation on a number of issues. Martha Raddatz did an excellent job. Can we bring her back for the second presidential debate? Just asking.
What are your thoughts out there? Do you agree with this assessment? Do you think Biden lost? Or that Ryan won? Or was it a draw? Sound off in the comments.
-Marc W. Polite