To be honest, I would have said Biden won the debate on substance. 6 full days of preparation and memorization, not to mention 40 years in public office and having run for President, does give one an advantage. Ryan did well on substance too, but Biden had it down. But Biden blew truly winning the debate with his silly grins, giggles, interruptions (some 80 times by media accounts) and facial expressions. I think that turned a lot of independent voters off. Ryan seemed as determined to be respectful as Biden was determined not to be. What people like most about Biden is his likable personality, which he showed little of last night. But he was passionate and commanding. Ryan did well on Libya, Obama’s tax hikes, and Medicare. Both had their statistics and math well rehearsed. But for political purposes as long as Ryan did well, and he did, then I don’t think this affects things at all.
Just a few points. It’s clear Biden doesn’t see a nuclear Iran as any kind of a threat at all, and that is disturbing. Biden saying that they were unaware that Libya requested more security contradicts what has been reported. Biden continued the lie that they didn’t know it was a terrorist attack on the 1st day, which contradicts what the State Department is saying. Other than the Libya debacle though, Biden did better with answers on foreign policy, but I think Ryan did better with answers on domestic policy.
From the WSJ:
On nearly every specific issue on which Mr. Biden attacked, he was demonstrably wrong. The Administration’s Medicare actuary really does say that 15% of hospitals will take on operating deficits as a result of ObamaCare’s cuts in payments to Medicare providers. The American Enterprise Institute study doesn’t say that Mr. Romney’s plan will raise taxes on the middle class, and Mr. Ryan’s Medicare plan doesn’t raise costs for seniors by $6,400. Mr. Biden never even tried to offer a second-term agenda.
Of course it was infuriating to me for Biden, a cafeteria Catholic at best, to completely lie about the HHS mandate affecting the Catholic Church. If there is no attack on religious liberty then why are over 40 Catholic dioceses and organizations suing the government for exactly that? And how amusing was it that Biden kept referring to the “two wars and medicare prescription plan put on a credit card” when he voted for all three?
In the end, it’s too bad for Biden, because although he did well on substance, the pundits will be talking about his condescension and smirking as well.
As a footnote, CNN undecided voters voted that the debate was a tie. One-third said Joe Biden won. One-third said Paul Ryan won. One-third are undecided. CBS’s insta-poll had it 50/31 for Biden. A CNBC website poll had Ryan winning 56/36.