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VP debate goes to Biden on points, but not style

It wasn’t as exciting as the Giants-Reds game. But it was just as scrappy.

Some say they found the exchanges between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP running-mate Paul Ryan uncomfortable. Yes, there were plenty of interruptions, but it was more substantive than the first presidential debate, and there was less tolerance for – how should we say it – the creative use of facts.

In my mind, Biden won on points – on the issues. But he lost in body language. Too many guffaws and eye-rolls. He also looked bad in explaining why there was a lack of security before the attack at the Benghazi embassy that left four people dead.

Ryan was more poised – and polite – but he did not look good in explaining such things as his past positions on privatizing Social Security, on abortion and, when pressed by moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC, his lack of details on the 20 percent budget cuts that Mitt Romney has pledged to make.

I have posted a column by E.J. Dionne Jr. of the Washington Post who clearly calls it for Biden. “Obama has a lot to be grateful for,” he says.

Maybe, but in the end, I doubt it was much of a game-changer for those 6 to 10 percent of voters who are still undecided. All is likely to be forgotten by Tuesday night when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney square off in Round 2 of the presidential debates.  Your thoughts?

- Paul Gullixson

31 Responses to “VP debate goes to Biden on points, but not style”

  1. Frank says:

    On Sept. 11, 2012, heavily armed Islamist militants stormed and burned the American Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing the United States ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three others: Sean Smith, a Foreign Service officer, and Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, both former members of the Navy SEALs who helped protect diplomatic personnel.

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  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Chuck G-the reason we’re a laughingstock in the world today in not because of Obama. He’s very well liked and you saying different doesn’t make it so. If anything it’s because the Republicans are running crazy ignorant candidates. ROMNEY IS NOT WELL LIKED. He is NOT A DIPLOMAT. Italy hates him because Bain and Romney did a “Bain” on them, Romney made millions and left the country’s economy in chaos. Romney will never go to Italy because they hate him there. His first forays this year had him insulting all of England, the Palestinians many of whom are Christians, and Spain. All within a matter of months. The world IS NOT HAPPY WITH ROMNEY and can’t understand the American voters that would put such a man into office.

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  3. Josh Grahek says:

    I love the contrast and cognitive dissonance from commenters who disparage the Vice President for being rude and immature, yet can’t make it through an entire comment without turning his last name into an insult.

    Stay classy, Republicans.

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  4. Chuck G says:

    Bottom line folks Republicans, Democrats, Liberals,

    You have an opportunity for positive change on November 6th. This country of ours has become the laughing stock of the world because of the current administration.

    The world has changed, people’s opinions have changed regarding jobs, what we will leave our children, and the future. We need a Businessman to run a business which is what the Presidency is, and always has been.

    Do you really want four more years of uncertainty for your recently college gradutated kids with no hope for a job except McDonalds, or Burger King? Don’t your children, and their children deserve to have a job and a home just as you have?

    Then vote for Romney and Ryan, otherwise accept the economy as it is right now and don’t complain about it.

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  5. Jean Anderson says:

    Most 10-year olds know better than to act like a clown during a serious conversation or debate.

    Apparently Joe “Bite-me” never got the memo.

    Ryan looked ready for higher office, while Biden looked ready for the funny farm.

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  6. Commonsense says:

    While, the final decision to reject the request for additional security may have been communicated downward by a mid level manager, I have to disagree that the top level didn’t necessarily know about the request. Especially given the region it came from (and it did come from Benghazi per the testimony and records available per the House Intell. Review). In fact, it came directly from them due to the fact intelligence had been received that a attack was likely planned for that specific date (9/11 ann.) and location. While Biden may have not necessarily know before hand (as Sec. Clinton has indicated), he should have been in the know afteward, and the administrations attempt to blame this on protests revolving around a youtube video were at the very least negligent, although more likely an intential mislead. Both parties have played the distract and mislead game in a crisis, and both should be held to the same standard of accountability.
    FYI, per the budget bill was passed there was numerous discussion from both sides and the $300 million was agreed to by both sides, with the cut to go to admin/maintenance costs, not secuity.

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  7. Reality Check says:


    Yes of course decisions such as increasing security at a foreign outpost are not made by the president or secretary of state, no more than decisions to have the FBI track Middle East nationals taking flying lessons are made by the president.

    Sadly, both sides play this destructive game.

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  8. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Michael – “I agree, but also hope people remember that Biden either told a whopper about not knowing that the Libyan staff requested more security and were refused, or that both he and Obama were totally uninformed about what’s going on in their own State Department.”
    Some mid-level state department official said no to an increase in security in Tripoli (not Benghazi, some 400 miles away), probably because there was no money after Republicans in the House took out $300 million from what the President asked for. Why would a decision like this ever make it to the White House? Does the CEO of General Motors know all decisions made for every assembly plant? Biden’s comment makes perfect sense.

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  9. Grapevines says:

    All the happenings you see going on in the Government right now; the GSA, Secret Service and VA scandals, out of control deficit spending, “Gee, we didn’t know?”, all of it, just shows you what happens when you let amateurs with shallow minds play with the big toys.

    Vote these fools out before they make an even bigger mess of things than they already have.

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  10. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Kay T.-talk about stupid faces. That rictus, fake grin BOTH Romney and Ryan had looked like they were tweekers. If someone was grinning at me like that I’d want to run and hide to keep from losing my skin.

    I find Biden refreshing. He says what he means and means what he says. He’s one of the most honest politicians in Washington. He quite clearly said what he couldn’t talk about and quite clearly said HE WAS IN THE ROOM with the decision makers and Ryan was full of, well, you know what (what I think, though I’ll bet Biden did too).

    I once read from a blogger that Biden is the person he’d want in a foxhole with him watching his back. I agree. Biden is in the foxhole with the American people, always has been and always will be. He’s a politician he’s always been on the American people’s side of things and always will be. He’s not super rich like some, cares about everyone and believes in the constitution’s “promote the general welfare” for all the citizens of this country not the corporations and operates from that belief.

    I find him refreshing, he says his mind and we know exactly where he stands and that’s rare in the political world where everyone is backstabbing everyone else.

    As for the debate, hurray for challenging Ryan on his ignorance and lies. We know what Ryan stands for. It isn’t a mystery because he’s been promoting it his whole political career and it won’t be to OUR BENEFIT.

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  11. Kay Tokerud says:

    I mostly remember Biden’s incredibly stupid faces and laughing inappropriately while Ryan was speaking. What an embarrassment to him and the entire Obama campaign. The only time Biden wasn’t laughing (at Ryan) was when Ryan was talking about the terrorist strike in Libya. Then Biden looked defeated and was hanging his head. Ryan was poised the entire time and did well in spite of the ridiculous antics of Biden.

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  12. Snarky says:

    As someone recently said, Biden wanted to show us his healthy teeth.

    Very odd.

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  13. Michael Sheehan says:

    Hi Critic,

    I agree, but also hope people remember that Biden either told a whopper about not knowing that the Libyan staff requested more security and were refused, or that both he and Obama were totally uninformed about what’s going on in their own State Department.

    It’s either a lie or incompetence, and someone needs to be held accountable for the tragic result.

    Can you imagine what the dishonest press and liberal posters would be saying if a Republican administration had said “we didn’t know” in a debate?

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  14. Dick Tracy says:

    Style is style, but is has no part in a proper debate. Biden took Ryan apart, not because Ryan is not a good debater but because the GOP has given both Ryan and Romney a poor position–or variety of positions–to defend. When you have to spend 18 months making T-Partiers happy, then try to move to the center, you are bound to get tied in knots.

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  15. Graeme Wellington says:

    “When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet.” Proverbs 29:9

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  16. R. B. Fish says:

    In May I attended an 8th grade private school graduation and was so impressed with their level of knowledge, presentation, respect and confidence, etc.

    Joe Biden at VPOTUS was a disgrace and probably the worst representative of the US on the world stage as one could imagine. This so called protecter of the blue collar worker is an absolute phony. He is from the Clinton and Gore school of politics. VOTE these corrupt, inept phonies out in 2012!!

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  17. Frank says:

    On Biden, my probation officer said he should be arrested and evaluated

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  18. Critic at Large says:

    Biden last night came across as that know it all drunk in the sports bar who is loud, obnoxious and offensive who debates anyone who will listen to his complaints about how their team played last Sunday.

    He didn’t score debate points, he tried to verbally brawl his way into a debate with groundless points and a juvenile attitude.

    Oh, it was just old Joey being Joey so we can all excuse his lack of demeanor and decorum. If anyone remembers this debate next week all they will remember is old Joey’ bad behavior.

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  19. Snarky says:

    I watched little of the so called “debate” because I cringed while watching the VP of the USA making silly little child faces rather than discuss fact and more facts.

    I find it amazing that the people of the USA tolerate public employees (yes, the VP is merely a public employee)… acting like kids while they have the power to drag us into wars.

    Wait. Biden and his buddy Obama have dragged us into war.. Libya being one example. They are chomping at the bit to get us back into that mess as they plot to engage us more into a war with Iran and Syria.

    Public employees who pretend to be important… like the President and the VP …. are mere empty suits.

    We need only half the monster government we have today. With all the foreign wars, they clearly have way too much time on their hands.

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  20. Commonsense says:

    IMHO, Ryan could have been a little more passionate in his responses, but he most definetly was the more professional and mannered/mature of the two. Biden started out spunky, by the end the continued gestures and smirks, especially were inappropriate, ended up making him look immature and foolish. Overall, I’d say it was a tie.
    What I do find interesting (again), is how many people are making the statements that Biden was some pilar of substance and truth and Ryan a lier. We must have watched different debates and be living in two different worlds of facts.
    Ryan, rightfully so, got called out on making a request for stimulus money for his own district, while being critical of the bill. Biden, outright lied when he indicated he voted against action in Iraq and Afghan (per the voting records, he was present and voted in favor of both). Ryan exaggerated some of the general percentages/numbers regarding some of the economic discussion and so did Biden (The initial budget request for embassy security, construction and maintenance was about $1.8 billion, after discussion with the House and Senate, the agreed budget was a little over $1.5 and this was a bipartisan agreement with many from both sides crossing over isles) and can be verified through both the House and Senate voting records. The embassey did make a security request prior to the Libya attack, and while Biden may be able to deny personal knowledge prior to, he cannot deny post knowledge of that request, as it was made known during testimony given to the House and made further known by an CBS investigative reporter.
    There were numerous exaggerations by both sides, and many were really of little to no substance, but to say Ryan lied and Biden was some sort of truth telling angel is factually wrong. So, while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they aren’t entitled to their own facts, although I suppose they can ignore them if they choose. Although it’s really sad that so many alleged unbiased reporters do it to persuade readers to their point of view.

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  21. Sarkyfish says:

    You go into a bar and sit down between this old blowhard and a young guy. The old guy talks over you, waxes sarcastic, smirks, and informs that he and the guy he works for aren’t responsible for a bad economy and an ambassador and three other good Americans who are murdered while representing their country. At last he shuts up and the young guy has his say speaking quietly, rationally and with difference to the old geezer. That quickly done, he takes a sip of cold beer and smiles. Down at the end of the bar a guy named “Jr.” of the Washington Post and Editor Paul Gullixson of the Press Democrat are blowing kisses to the old guy. Question, God forbid, but should your president die, who would best replace him?

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  22. I have been one of the most vocal opponents of Obama/Biden and their mission to turn this country into New Sweden.

    But curiously, despite Biden’s performance, I couldn’t summon up any real outrage at his acts, which were dismissive and disrespectful, both to his opponent and the moderator.

    In the odd way that personalities and style can overpower facts and logical thinking, Biden somehow came across as an elder statesman with decades of real-world experience, who was bemused and annoyed by the misguided idealism of an inexperienced youth.

    Nothing could be farther from the actual credibility of these two and their positions, but in the bubble of TV, where perception becomes reality, I scored this 15-round fight Biden 9, Ryan 6.

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  23. Kirstin says:

    This is closer to my view: Style to Ryan, Substance to Ryan http://spectator.org/archives/2012/10/12/style-to-ryan-substance-to-rya

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  24. GAJ says:

    Who knew Biden was better at debates than Obama; that was a big surprise.

    And as far as Biden’s facial expressions and such, if you were expecting anything different then you don’t know Biden…that was not an act.

    Both told some whoppers, to be sure, Biden’s biggest being on Libya and, for me, Ryan on the Navy being smaller than at any time before WWI.

    Both ridiculous.

    What’s disturbing for me is that they both gave short shrift to the deficit.

    And for the Democrats, who should be happy with Biden’s performance though Ryan held his own, I think Biden unveiled a bit too much of the play book so I expect Romney to be better prepared for the next debate than he was for the first one.

    Interesting theater, to be sure.

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  25. Skippy says:

    “Ryan came across as dull and lifeless.”

    And in the American Idol campaign O’Bamalama is running, only the grooviest and dreamiest will move on to the mansion.

    “Give me Joe any day.”

    He’s all yours in late January.
    Plugs and all.

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  26. homegirl says:

    Ms. Anderson, I wonder if you made the same comments about Mr. Romney’s performance in the first presidential debate. He laughed, smirked, shouted and lied.

    VP Biden knew his facts, wouldn’t tolerate Mr. Ryan’s lies and misrepresentations. Ryan came across as dull and lifeless. Give me Joe any day.

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  27. Steve Humphrey says:

    I found it difficult to follow the debate points…between the interuptions and smirks of Joe Bidon. Can anyone really accept someone who exudes the rudeness he portrayed as the second in command of your country?
    Bidon has held office too long. His ego is beyond the scope of representation.

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  28. Josh Grahek says:

    “If anyone ever needs an obnoxious, rude, loud-mouth, know-it-all who loves to interrupt and never learned any manners”

    What a difference from the last debate – where, I assume you thought Mitt was ‘forceful’ and ‘courageous’, perhaps?

    When you have facts on your side and your opponent insists on generalities and polished spin talking points – you needn’t apologize for pointing that out.

    I think the clearest sign that the Democrats won this debate is how the right is apoplectic over how “rude” Biden was.

    Age and Experience beats young and duplicitous.

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  29. Skippy says:

    If you can’t be substantive or accurate, be rude.
    Joe Biden has been a schmuck for decades.
    Last night everyone got to see what an adolescent jerk looks like when he is debating a serious adult.
    Biden threw the US Intel community under the Beghazi bus.
    Woddaya bet they embarrass him and his incompetent boss this month?
    Prediction: this weeks POTUS debate will be reported as being won by O’Bama even if His Dreaminess doesn’t actually show up.

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  30. The Bard says:

    Alas, poor Barack, I knew him, Horatio…

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  31. Jean Anderson says:

    If anyone ever needs an obnoxious, rude, loud-mouth, know-it-all who loves to interrupt and never learned any manners, Biden is your guy.

    Passion is one thing. Acting like a smirking, arrogant, laugh-happy weirdo who blames others for his failures is quite another.

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