The Veep Debate: Blog Reax

Oct 11 2012 @ 11:15pm

R.L.G at The Economist's live-blog felt that Biden won:

Joe Biden was easily the more memorable debater in every way; he was louder, more emotional, lucid, detailed, garrulous, grinning, teary-eyed and just Joe Biden. He sank some real barbs into Romney-Ryan. The Biden that Mr Obama hired in 2008 to excite lower-middle-class types from Scranton showed up and did his job.

Ryan was cool, impressively calm given is unpredictable opponent, and detailed, but seemed reactive much of the night. He could have put Obama-Biden on the spot for their deficit failures more effectively; as it was, more time was spent on how Mr Romney's numbers don't add up (a potential future deficit) than the actual deficit itself. Democrats can walk away with a spring in their step again, confident that the story line is no longer all about Mr Obama's awful showing last week. A modest net positive for the Democrats.

Josh Marshall also gives Biden high marks:

Biden made the whole Democratic argument — on policy and values and he hit Romney really everywhere Democrats wanted him to. He left nothing unsaid. You can agree with those points or not. But this was exceedingly important for recovering the damage from last week's debate when many Obama supporters simply felt that Obama wasn't willing or able or something to make the case Democrats around the country are hyped up to make. Why didn't you say this? Why'd you let him get away with that? Biden said it all. And for Democrats around the country that was extremely important.

Taegan's verdict:

Biden was more prepared, more experienced and the clear winner.

Ed Kilgore, meanwhile, doesn't declare a winner:

Ryan will, as I predicted, get props for "holding his own" re foreign policy. He was also fluid and stuck to the Romney plan of making the ticket seem reasonable. Biden was up and down, but scored pretty well on Afghanistan, on defense spending, on abortion, and perhaps on Medicare. Kind of mixed on overall budget and economy; depends on what you know about the facts.

Elias Isquith thinks Biden was effective: 

Biden does a good job of interjecting himself into Ryan’s time, usually to say a quick dart like "Not true" or "Nope" and the like. Ryan isn’t doing the same — I don’t know if it’s been decided that he’ll come off as presumptuous or disrespectful. The end-result: He’s been defending himself the entire night, both his arguments and the veracity of the factual statements that are cited to support them. Joe attacks, talks, chuckles, often goes a little too far. Ryan tries to respond and turn the attack into a reckless, cynical, and desperate gambit by a flailing Administration. It works sometimes, but — perhaps I’m a blinded partisan — I can’t help but avoid concluding that Biden has come right up to the precipice of calling Ryan a "liar" without paying the price. It’s a hard thing to do, but if you can do it to your opponent, it’s devastating. 

Althouse, on the other hand, complains that Biden "cannot physically tolerate Ryan having a turn to speak!":

Biden is so angry. Why is he yelling? Ryan needs nerves of steel not to lose his cool. I'm impressed that Ryan, when he gets his turn, is able to speak in an even, natural voice. It's hard to concentrate on the policy itself, because the emotional static is so strong. 

Matthew Dickinson is unsure whether Biden's aggressiveness worked or not:

I have to think Joe’s over-the-top performance tonight is a conscious effort to compensate for the President’s comparatively more sedate performance.  And it is the role of the VP to play attack dog.  But is this too much?  

Andrew Sprung fears that Biden overdid it:

While not looking at commentary, I was afraid that Biden would be laughed off the national stage. He shouted nonstop until his voice gave out; he grimaced far too much and failed to look at Ryan when confronting him (though I may have been misled in that by the C-Span split screen; when I switched to PBS he seemed more natural in this regard), he interrupted incessantly, and I thought he was often incoherent on domestic policy (though generally effective on foreign), failing to answer Ryan's allegations systematically and jumbling a bunch of not-fully-articulated assertions together. Ryan, on the other hand, struck me as methodical, systematic, unruffled and precise — never mind that his characterizations of Obama administration policies — and Romney's — were wildly misleading.

Allahpundit takes issue with Biden's tone and tactics but thinks he did what he came there to do:

I expected "table-pounding atmospherics" from Biden but I didn’t expect him to act like a total jackhole for fully 90 minutes. Give him credit for knowing his target audience, though: His task tonight was to get the left excited again after Obama fell into a semi-coma in Denver, and evincing utter disdain for Ryan — grimacing, shouting, laughing inappropriately, constantly interrupting, the total jackhole experience — is just what the doctor ordered.

Weigel likewise suspects that liberals will be fired up:

Reading this transcript is going to be like scanning a David Mamet play. Biden never gave up the momentum he won in the first five minutes — he seems physically unable to let Ryan finish an answer, interrupting him as if he's livetweeting to correct every factoid he dislikes. Whether or not this Biden performance helps Obama, you could sell bootleg DVDs of it to Dems for $20.

Ben Smith is in the same ballpark:

The Vice Presidential debate appears unlikely to have the effect on the presidential campaign that Barack Obama's stumbles last week did, and the performances were far more even. Ryan held his own where Obama failed. But Biden's performance gave Democrats hungry for energy, punch, and emotional connection what they needed to end a week that had veered at times near panic.

Ezra Klein fact-checks Ryan:

Paul Ryan began his comments on the economy by asking Biden if he knows where unemployment is today in Scranton, PA. Ten percent, Ryan said. When Obama and Biden came in to office, Ryan continued, it was 8.5 percent. "That’s how it’s going all around America," Ryan said.That’s not actually true, The national unemployment rate is now 7.8 percent. In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, unemployment was 7.8 percent. In February 2009, Obama’s first full month in office, unemployment was over eight percent. So it’s simply not the case that a 1.5 percentage point increase in unemployment is "how it’s going all around America."

Kevin Drum questions Ryan's tax logic:

Ryan's basic tax message seems to be that raising taxes on the rich isn't enough to close the entire deficit, so it's obviously not worth doing. Um….

Justin Green's take:

Sully is downright exuberant at Biden's performance tonight. I think it's justified. You don't survive 30+ years in Washington without being one savvy, savvy guy. It's showing tonight.

And Mark Kleiman tosses in two cents:

Well, that should stop the bleeding, anyway.