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Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Featured, Politics | 10 comments

TMV Live Blogs the Joe Biden Paul Ryan 2012 Vice Presidential Debate (COMPLETED)

Polls rolling in:

CNN has it a tie with 48% giving it to Ryan and 44% to Biden

CBS has it a Biden win 50-32% though the CBS poll has seemed to trend Dem (they had it much closer in the Obama/Romney debate for example).

Other polls to come.

One big winner in this debate was the moderator, she did an amazing job keeping this on flow

Looking to the networks it’s pretty much as expected with MSNBC saying Biden won, Fox giving it to Ryan and CNN pretty much calling it a draw.

While this debate is unlikely to appeal to the Independent voter it will serve as an important boon to both the GOP and Democrats in terms of keeping their base excited (which perhaps is an edge to the Dems since they needed a pick me up).

On the other hand just as last week, the incumbent came in with gravitas and the challenger needed to prove he had it too, and Ryan did that tonight.

Trying to look at this from as unbiased a view as possible I really think that on points this was pretty much a draw.

Both men articulated their views, both men seemed reasonable, neither one made any big blunders but neither one got in a big triumph.

Your view is likely to be shaped by who you agree with, and that’s how most debates go.

I doubt this will have much impact on the campaign, VP debates seldom do unless there is a big blunder and with MLB and NFL on tonight I don’t know a lot of viewers out there.

I’d guess the media reaction will be to give it an edge to the Obama campaign since this was better than the Obama/Romney debate.

MSNBC of course calling it a win for Biden

Fox calling it a win for Ryan.

CNN seems to be going with the idea of a draw.
Closing statements now

Biden comes back to the idea that they inherited bad mess and tried hard fix things, says that he and Ryan disagree on fundamental issues. Admits to his frustrations but says it is Ryan’s fault for things he says and does and his not wanting to help the average guy, we need a level playing field.

A pretty good closing and a good effort at addressing his smirking.

Ryan thanks everyone including “Joe” and agrees that there is a fundamental disagreement and that he feels that his agenda is better, that Obama tried but things just haven’t worked and it is time for a change. This is not a recovery, we want to earn your support with a real recovery for all. Comes back to Romney as the man to do the job

Last question on personal character, what could you bring that nobody could

Ryan pretty clever in saying that he doesn’t think there is anything he could bring that nobody else could because so many good people are out there.

Then he talks about working together across party lines

Biden says he does what he says and helps the average guy

An interesting question but not too informative

Final question is on a soldier who says he was very disappointed in tone of campaign

Biden responds by saying he is sorry about the feeling but understands it, then goes on to attack Romney campaign, not sure that’s the best way to do it.

I think Ryan does a bit better here by trying to paint a positive image but he still falls into the trap of attacking the other side

Neither man wins this question, they should have avoided trying to do a closing statement during this question.


Moderator points out both are Catholic and asks how that shapes their views on abortions.

Ryan says he doesn’t see how you can separate public life from private life and faith because faith shapes who you are and how his religion teaches him to do good for the poor.

But he goes on to say that his view on abortion is not just because of his faith but because of science and points to ultrasounds at 7 weeks showing heartbeat and movement and how this shows to him that there is a life to protect there.

He then says he respects those who disagree but that he feels their view would be to restrict abortion except for life of mother, rape or incest. He then is critical of now the Obama administration has dealt with abortion and other social issues, cites things like insurance with churches for example.

Biden says he supports Catholic position on abortion in his personal life but will not impose on others.

He then says the administration has not forced churches to pay for conception.

They then go back and forth on Supreme Court appointments and how it could impact Roe vs Wade.

I don’t see how this question is going to change any views, those who vote on abortion made up their minds a long time ago

Moderator asks Ryan what his criteria is for intervention, he says that there must be a national security interest at place to put troops on the ground but that other items like sanctions are proper in terms of humanitarian or other non national security interest situations.

Now moving on to Syria but not too much unexpected from either side with Biden saying Obama did the right thing and Romney would do the wrong thing and vice versa.

This is I think a tough one for anyone to answer since it is such a quagmire, you cannot say what was the best choice and both sides have valid points.

Ryan continues to keep pace with Biden so that is good for him but Biden is not letting him gain any advantage either so it goes to show how both men are good and the give and take of the debates
New question: Should we leave Afghanistan now or later ?

Ryan says we need to protect our gains but that they agree with Obama on 2014 withdrawal, talks about how much sacrifice has been made and how we need to protect the gains.

Says we need to make sure the transition is successful and not a cut and run.

Biden largely agrees with him, but implies Romney would not leave if “conditions were wrong”.

Ryan is asked about what conditions would warrant staying, Ryan says we will leave in 2014.

Biden keeps saying Romney/Ryan would not leave, Ryan says they would.

Moderator keeps pushing on “why not leave now” but neither candidate bites.

But pretty much agreement here on the basic issue.
A bit of a shift to defense as moderator questions Ryan on increasing defense spending

Ryan says they do not support increasing spending just opposing cuts.

So far I think the moderator may come off the best, both Ryan and Biden have done well but she has really been impressive in keeping them both in line and challenging both of them on key issues

Now on to taxes, who will pay more, who will pay less ?

Biden says middle class pays less, rich pay more because they want to raise taxes for the rich and keep the tax cuts for the rich. Says the wealthy do not want tax cuts, only Romney/Ryan/Republicans. Says they want to permanently extend the cuts on the middle class.

Says GOP won’t allow vote on tax cut for middle class.

Again Biden quite passionate here, as he often is when dealing with middle class/rich issues.

Ryan comes back and says that it is wrong to see these as tax cuts for the rich since many people who would be helped by the over 250k tax cut are small businesses, points out many other countries have lower business tax rates than the US. Cutting those taxes would help make jobs.

Ryan also says they support cutting loopholes and deductions for the rich which would end up raising their taxes but would give relief to the small businessman.

Moderator challenges Ryan to release the details on his tax plans.

Ryan says that he wants to work with both sides, GOP and Dems so they are offering framework but the details would be worked out in a bipartisan manner. Not sure how well this will sell.

Biden says Ryan needs to give details and that most small businesses make under 250k so the tax rates would not increase for them. Hits Romney for not paying enough in taxes says that Romney thinks it is right for the poor to pay more than the rich.

They have a nice back and forth, Ryan saying that Kennedy and Reagan cut taxes and increased revenue, Biden saying that Ryan needs more details and that his plan doesn’t work.

So far both men coming off as reasonable, again your view likely shaped by your partisan viewpoints, no knockout blows or big successes yet.
Now on to Medicare, what changes needed to keep Medicare alive ?

Ryan says these are important programs, cites the way it helped his grandmother and mother, helped him and his mom go to college. Makes it very personal and clear that we will honor promise to those 55 and older.

But he says they need to change things for younger people, otherwise it will go broke. Points to the 716 billion from Medicare to ACA. Biden likely to call this a lie. (This is one of those claims you can read either way as there is money going from medicare to ACA programs but both do sort of the same thing.)

Also talks about Social Security reform and the need to give people more choices.

Biden doesn’t quite call it a lie but says the money is really savings. Talks about how they have made Medicare and Social Security more secure.

Then hits on the vouchers and the idea that it costs seniors too much money.

Says he is more trustworthy than Ryan or Romney. Says he and AMA are good, Ryan not trustworthy.

Ryan hits right back on Medicare-ACA (Obamacare) and points out the actuary for the program agrees with them.

They both go back and forth, Biden tries to cut in but Ryan stops him says “I know you are under pressure to make up for lost ground but we do better if we don’t interrupt each other”. Biden laughs.

Moderator challenges Ryan on the issue of his voucher program.

Ryan says program is bipartisan, done with Democrats and Republicans and follows the Clinton commission plan, Biden says it does not.

Again, both strong with their views, and as is often the case in politics they can both be seen as right depending on how you read the facts.

Moderator asks Biden why not raise Medicare age gradually ?

Biden ignores question and goes back to vouchers. In many ways a clever move, he’s pretty much using this question to campaign to Florida.

Ryan comes back with quote from Obama in 2008 when he (Obama) said McCain was attacking them because they had no new ideas, implies that the situation is reversed now with Obama campaign doing it.

Pretty much another draw.

I am increasingly thinking that this will be a wash of a debate, which likely will be seen as a win for Biden since he did better than Obama vs Romney.

They go back and forth a bit on stimulus, Biden saying Ryan was for the stimulus but now is against it, Ryan contends too much waste and fraud.

Moderator grabs back control

Next question on economy and unemployment. Will either of you be able to get unemployment down

Pretty much standard responses. Biden blames it all on Bush, says Obama saved the economy and the auto industry, Romney and Ryan didn’t want to solve the problems (and brings up the 47%). Says we should raise taxes and help out the middle class.

Biden very passionate here, this is his wheelhouse, the blue collar average guy mantra.

Ryan comes back with the response that he is just as much an average guy as Biden and sort of suggests he resents Biden implying otherwise. Admits that the economy was bad but that they aren’t doing enough to fix it.

Biden says things getting worse for middle class. This could be one of those unnoticed lines that end up being a blunder later since it could be seen as Biden saying Obama has hurt the middle class.

Ryan then goes into the 5 point plan and talks about job growth. Contends that Biden and Obama lying about Romney’s views on auto industry.

Tells a story about Romney helping out family whose kids were hurt in car accident (this could give Biden an opening given his own sad background) and goes on to talk about how Romney gives more to charity that Ryan and Biden combined.

Cites the 47% quote and says to Biden “I think you know that words don’t always come out as you meant them”, even Biden laughs at that one.

Biden responds with story of his own personal tragedy and talks about how he knows Romney is a nice guy personally but his programs are bad.

Again basically both sides with talking points. Dems will love Biden, GOP will love Ryan, undecided still probably not sure (though most undecided likely watching MLB or NFL)

So far it does not seem likely either side will be a knockout.
Next question on Iran: What should we do on Iran and nuclear bomb ? Can we do anything to stop them ? Would a military strike work ?

Ryan first this time.

He talks about how Iran has made a great deal of progress over the last four years, he’s clearly showing that unlike Palin four years ago he does have the knowledge. He says he doesn’t think Obama has done enough to stop Iran, points to the assassination attempt on Saudi ambassador in DC as an example of how Iran doesn’t respect or fear US

Biden again with the smile/smirk, I think if he’s not careful that could backfire as looking arrogant

Biden responds again with “nothing he says is true” and I do think that this could end up being too much compensation for the Obama not responding last time.

Biden then says the current policy is what Obama already supports, cites the “national security” excuse for not telling all the details. Says that he does not think Iran is close to having weapon.

The interesting thing on both questions so far is that for all the back and forth rhetoric they both seem to basically be on the same page. This could tip the questions to Obama because it means Romney can’t claim to change policies on the other hand it prevents Obama from saying Romney would be a risk.

Moderator asks about Israel and Obama not meeting with PM, as expected Biden defends and Ryan condemns

A bit of humor about Irish heritage, cute moment

Moderator challenges Biden “you seem to think Iran doesn’t want a weapon” but Biden says he think they do just that they are not that close.

Overall this segment seems a wash. Ryan is doing well at presenting self as equal with Biden but Biden is showing why he always does well in debates. Biden’s facial expressions still could be an issue.

Both agree sanctions first and war last resort, but no weapon for Iran.

First question on Libya: Was this a major intelligence failure ?

Biden responds by agreeing it was a tragedy but (as one would expect) he tapdances around the issue of whether it was an intelligence failure by saying that it will be looked in to, then he shifts into a broader discussion of Iraq, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, saying that Romney wouldn’t have taken Bin Laden out (a tired line IMHO).

Ryan responds by pointing out it took some time for administration to admit that this was a terror attack and says it was an intelligence failure and that they did not have enough security. He then responds that Romney agreed with Obama on Iraq and Afghanistan withdrawal but that they wanted it to be more flexible.

Biden smiling/smirking a bit, I think he’s trying to give the “aww isn’t he cute but doesn’t know what he’s talking about” theme.

Ryan goes on to talk about need to stand up for democracy around the world.

Biden calls Ryan a liar (clearly a response to the perception Obama didn’t do so with Romney)

Biden and moderator now going back and forth, clearly she is trying to show she is not like Lehrer.

Now she challenges Ryan on what things we should apologize for and what things we should not apologize for.

Ryan responds that we should respond for real misconduct but not for standing up for freedom.

At first this seemed like it was going Biden’s way, then Ryan seemed to pick it up but I think this round really goes to the moderator for showing that she is going to control the debate this time.

The candidates have come out on stage to the usual applause, handshakes and smiles. They are now sitting down with the moderator and preparing to duke it out. I always find it bemusing how much they glad-hand even as they hope for the other to fail utterly.

As we did last week TMV is pleased to live blog the Vice Presidential debate. We are about 10 minutes out and they are doing the usual pre-show prep. The moderator tonight is Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News since 2008 and the candidates won’t be at podiums but instead will be seated at a table with the moderator.

Once things get going I’ll give my own mini commentary

Please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.