Post-Debate Views

Ken AshfordElection 2012Leave a Comment

Well, both candidates were strong and lively, and I suspect that people who are already decided are pleased with their candidates.  That said, you can sense that the Republicans knew that Biden was better because of the post-debate spin.  Republicans talking points were "Biden smirked and interrupted.  Harumph, harumph" wheres as the Democratic talking points were "Biden won".

Biden was especially strongest, I thought, on social security vouchers — which people don't like — and on letting Afghans fight their own fight instead of sending American troops — which the vast majority of people agree with — and on abortion.  On that latter topic, he made it clear that a Romney/Ryan presidency would threaten that right.

Ryan sounded very good and in control.  However, when you listened to what he was saying, it was mush.  He talked about a "five point plan" to fix the economy.  One of the points was to "encourage economic growth".  Another was "reduce the deficit".  As one focus group panelist said on CNN afterwards, "those are plans; those are goals".

Returning to the Afghan point, Ryan gave Biden the chance to ask him if he preferred that American soldiers carry the fighting in the worst parts of the country rather than Afghan troops, a devastating comeback for which Ryan had no answer.

Ryan was best at his attacks on Joe regarding Bengahzi.  Unfortunately, it's an issue that nobody cares about and fewer understand.

The point is not that Ryan's performance was awful; it wasn't. Rather, Ryan was simply overpowered — where Biden was on the offensive; Ryan was on the defensive. Where Biden was direct; Ryan was evasive. Where Biden was confident; Ryan was in over his head. This line from John Dickerson rings true: "There’s an old line attributed to Bill Clinton: It’s hard for the other guy to talk when your fist is in his mouth. Biden was up to his elbow."

Martha Raddatz performed the role of a professional journalist. Sadly, we see that so infrequently that her performance will be celebrated and/or berated, depending on how you feel about professional journalism.

And the joke of the morning-after:

You know what's the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?


And now a breakdown of thought from pundits everywhere….

Biden Dominated Ryan…

CBS News @CBSNews .@CBSNews INSTANT POLL of Undecided Voters: Who won#VPdebate? BIDEN: 50% RYAN: 31% TIE: 19% Live

Larry Sabato@LarrySabato Pretty obvious that Biden had the edge in this debate. Ryan was workmanlike but Biden dominated.

Laura Rozen @lrozen Biden came off as more experienced, trustworthy MT@LarrySabato: Pretty obvious Biden had edge in debate. Ryan workmanlike Biden dominated.

Joe Hagan ‏@joehagansays Translation: Biden won. RT @ryanjreilly: RT @KarlRove: I miss Jim Lehrer.

Michael Hastings @mmhastings Media consensus forming? Biden easily handling Ryan…

David Gregory ‏@davidgregory Advantage here is for Biden. Swarming Ryan. Throwing a lot of punches. Talking a lot. Debating.

Michael Cohen @speechboy71 Agreed RT @davekarpf: I don’t think it was a Biden win. I think it was Biden winmaggedon.

George Zornick @gzornick How you know Ryan lost: RT@thinkprogress: Right-wing trashing debate

Brett LoGiurato @BrettLoGiurato MSNBC declaring Biden the winner. Fox News focusing exclusively on Biden’s smirking.#VPdebate

Garrett Haake @GarrettNBCNews  There’s also this: hearing a lot of conservative sniping at Raddatz. Generally, complaining about the moderator means you think you lost

Larry Sabato ‏@LarrySabato You have to admit, Biden is on fire.

Andrew Sullivan @sullydishnow I think Ryan’s inability to answer that question – how do you pay for it? – has to be the driving question

Paul Begala ‏@PaulBegala  Ryan on defense, big-time. As Mitt said, “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

Sam Stein @samsteinhp fair to say Biden is speaking with details and Ryan in broad platitudes. reflects their backgrounds on this subject matter

Ryan Couldn’t Produce Details….

John Heilemann ‏@jheil Biden is a human Politifact tonight.

Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp fair to say Biden is speaking with details and Ryan in broad platitudes. reflects their backgrounds on this subject matter

Jim Acosta @jimacostacnn Pressed for specifics on how to pay for their tax plan, Ryan declines: “Deny those loopholes and deductions” to wealthy but no details

TIMEPolitics ‏@TIMEPolitics @michaelscherer: Killer question: If Romney elected “should those that believe abortion remain legal be worried”? Ryan had no clear answer”

David Firestone ‏@fstonenyt  Ryan caught without an actual position on when to leave Afghanistan.

Chuck Todd ‏@chucktodd Biden with one of the better responses to the $716B Medicare cut attack I’ve heard from them. Talking to seniors about donut hole; smart

Sam Stein @samsteinhp Paul Ryan seems to be unaware that there are revisions to past jobs reports

ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress Ryan claims the Ryan/Romney plan doesn’t increase defense spending by $2 trillion. FALSE 

Patricia Zengerle ‏@ReutersZengerle That $716 billion claim has been repeatedly disputed. …

PolitiFact ‏@politifact  Are Romney-Ryan changing Medicare to voucher plan? That’s Mostly True.  #debate

PolitiFact ‏@politifact  Six studies back up Romney tax plan? Mostly False. #debates

Josh Barro ‏@jbarro  Those “six studies” Ryan talks about? Five are op-eds and blog posts, two of them are by the same author, and none hold water.

Vice President Biden Had the Edge on the Economy…

Jacob Sullum@jacobsullum Biden is right about Bush’s fiscal recklessness. It might help Ryan’s credibility to acknowledge that.#debates

Andrew Sullivan ‏@sullydish Biden finally, finally hits back at the gall of Ryan and Romney and the Republicans in blaming the debt on Obama.

Katty Kay ‏@KattyKayBBC  Biden scoring better on that addictive CNN instant-poll when he talks about economy and the middle class.

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein  So will Romney-Ryan pledge to not pass any tax reform that doesn’t include Dem votes? Cause if not, I don’t get this answer.

Vice President Biden Has the Edge on Foreign Policy…

Wall Street Journal: “Is Mr. Biden’s effort to highlight the coalition supporting the trade and financial sanctions on Iran a veiled dig at former President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq without much foreign backing? He seems to be calling Messrs. Ryan and Romney’s bluff on the tough talk about Iran.”

Anthony De Rosa @AntDeRosa Ryan seems a bit out of his element talking about Iran, Biden has far more experience here

Sam Youngman @samyoungman You, sir, are no Ayatollah

Jennifer Epstein @jeneps lots of Ryan-Raddatz crosstalk. now Biden cutting in: “Let me tell you what the ayatollah sees, the economy crippled…”

John Heilemann @jheil Really, Ryan is just talking total crap on the sanctions against Iran.#fact

Jordan Fabian @Jordanfabian  Biden on Iran: “We will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon period.” Suggests GOP might want to go to war with Iran. #debate2012

Michael Cohen @speechboy71 Pretty much nothing that Ryan just said on Iran is true.

Byron Tau ‏@ByronTau Doesn’t Ryan’s admission that they want to solve Iran without war undermine his credibility argument? Credibility would entail possible war?