In the wake of last week's Presidential debate, the Vice Presidential candidates took to the stage for their only debate of this election cycle. Leading up to the debate - questions on Paul Ryan and how well he would perform on his first debate on a national level as well as questions about how Joe Biden would perform / act in the wake of the Barack Obama's huge loss in last week's Presidential debate.
Adding to the pressure was the effects on the race from last week's debate. The Romney / Ryan ticket is surging since the debate, so Ryan would have the pressure to not do or say anything that would slow down the momentum they gained from Romney's strong performance. On the flip side, Joe Biden would need to do all that he could to slow or stop that move in momentum away from the Obama / Biden ticket and create a pause so that Barack Obama to reverse the trend in either the next Presidential debate or the last debate or both.
Did either candidate do achieve their goal?
Just as Paul Ryan remarked early in the debate, the most pressure was on Joe Biden to make 'amends' for the miserable performance of Barack Obama during the first Presidential debate. For the rabid progressive base, 'Clueless' Joe Biden did his job with the 85-100 plus interruptions combined with a combination of smirks, grins, guffaws, and muttering that reminded many as a repeat of Al Gore's 2000 debate. VP Biden also jumped to the attack - and with the VP, and the progressive base, accuracy and honesty in the statements comes a distant second in importance to the appearances of aggressiveness and assertiveness. Led by the reprobates on MSNBC, the progressive base obviously loved the Biden performance and clearly think he won the debate. [ I will note that this was a foregone conclusion as long as Biden didn't stink up the joint like Obama did in the first debate. As long as Biden was remotely participating, they would proclaim him the winner. It's like the rule to not vote against Josef Stalin unless one preferred to spend the rest of their days counting trees.]
With the antics and actions of Joe Biden, one of the key requirements for Paul Ryan was to not lose his cool, not crack under the pressure, and do his best to remain above the worst of the fray - particularly giving the likelihood that moderator Martha Raddatz would make the debate a 2 vs. 1 affair, which she did. Ryan was the adult on the stage - the one who demonstrated leadership mettle as well as a superb command of the facts while making a strong truthful argument for the conservative vision for the country. He refused to be baited by either Biden or Raddatz into making errors or misstatements. While the conservative base did not get the red meat that the progressive base received, Ryan's primary audience was the independents and undecideds in the key battleground states. Just as Joe delivered for his base, Ryan delivered a strong performance to the independents and undecideds that the Romney / Ryan ticket is the one they should support.
One of the more telling observations of the debate likened the discussion to trying to debate the drunk sitting at the corner of the bar just before closing time - or the drunken liberal uncle at the family Thanksgiving table not knowing when to stop. Beyond the rudeness and disrespect demonstrated by Vice President Biden towards Paul Ryan, the other aspect of the debate that will sit in the minds of the voters - particularly independent and undecided voters - will be the utter contempt that the Vice President had towards the truth. In fact, I contend that we could have quite a debate trying to determine to whom was the VP more contemptible towards - his opponent or the truth.
The lies of the Vice President started with the very first question on the Libya 9/11 terror attack and the litany of lies told by the Administration in order to cover itself politically for their failures.
So blatant and obvious was this lie regarding the WH 'not knowing' of the requests from Libya for additional security forces, that even the pro-Obama columnist masquerading as a 'fact-checker', Glenn Kessler, noted as he gave the Veep's claim 4 Pinocchio's...
But this was contradicted by State Department officials just this week, in testimony before a congressional panel and in unclassified cables released by a congressional committee. “All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,” said Eric Nordstrom, the top regional security officer in Libya earlier this year. A Utah national guardsman who led a security team, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, said: “We felt great frustration that those requests were ignored or just never met.”Mr. Biden, in his effort to protect himself and his boss politically, appears to be willing to throw not only the country's intelligence services under the bus, but also Sec. State Hillary Clinton under the same bus.
I wonder just what ramifications that this will have with the voters, our service members and intel community, and in particular with former President Bill Clinton who is expected to campaign vigorously for Barack Obama. This is going to play out in the next week to 10 days - but anyway it goes, it will not reflect well on the leadership of Barack Obama.
The Vice President also failed to do himself any favors in his supposed area of expertise, foreign policy, when the discussion turned to Iran. He failed to adequately address the administration's feckless policy during the Green revolution in Iran - and laughably made the argument that in the last four years, Iran has made no progress towards developing nuclear weapons.
What struck me most vapid about Biden's case was the same intelligence services that utterly failed in Libya and Egypt on 9/11/12 are now presented to the American people as being 110% correct in not only accessing where and what the intentions of Iran are regarding nuclear weapons, but to be equally infallible when it comes to determining when Iran has not only completed the construction of nuclear weapons, but possess a viable delivery system.
This was nearly as dim as the most obvious of the collection of Biden lies [ Breitbart.com has this list of the 10 worst lies by Joe Biden in the debate...] which came at this point in the debate...
“By the way, they talk about this great recession like it fell out of the sky–like, ‘Oh my goodness, where did it come from?’” Biden said. “It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, at the same time, put a prescription drug plan on the credit card, a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.”Scorecard
“I was there, I voted against them,” Biden continued. “I said, no, we can’t afford that.”
Then Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001 which authorized “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”
And on Oct. 11, 2002, Biden voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq, according to the Washington Post.
During the GOP Presidential Primary, I blogged a regular scorecard of the debate performances by each candidate. Here's my grading for the Vice Presidential debate...
Paul Ryan - B+
The challenger remain unflustered despite the rudeness demonstrated by either Joe Biden or Martha Raddatz during the debate. He was set up several times for gotcha questions by Raddatz, and successfully avoided falling into the traps or lock his ticket into having to defend positions that represent only deflections from the real issues they need to pursue. His answers and demeanor clearly demonstrated who the adults are in the race for the White House - and that he is ably qualified for the office of Vice President. His performance will keep the momentum the Romney campaign has moving forward.
Joe Biden - D
The Vice President, as I noted above, provided a needed boost of encouragement for the beleaguered hard left progressive MSNBC base. He also demonstrated his decades of political experience in delivering the usual progressive agenda and policy lines with the needed alacrity and conviction. However, Joe lost considerable points with his contempt towards not only his opponent and the moderator, but with his contempt towards the American people. Not since Al Gore's dreadful performances in 2000 have we had a debate participant interrupt, sigh, and act like a petulant school boy.
Add to these actions the inability of the Vice President, apparently, to tell the truth - as well as tell such obvious lies - and we have a performance that might appeal to the nimrods on MSNBC but few others.
The best line to describe Joe Biden's performance comes from Iowahawk...
Biden did what he had to do last night: Audition for a 5pm slot on MSNBC starting January 2013
Martha Raddatz, Moderator - D
My expectations were pretty low towards how well ABC News' Martha Raddatz would do as the moderator for this debate. Her close connections to Barack Obama as well as Joe Biden should have clearly disqualified her to serve as a moderator - and that was before we even considered her history and bias towards progressives.
Raddatz was working for the Obama team from the very first question - setting up and getting the Libya issue out of the way as quickly as possible. Whenever possible, the questions were framed as supporting the point of view of the Obama Administration and challenging the viewpoint of the GOP candidate(s). More disturbingly, on at least 8 or 9 occasions, she interrupted Paul Ryan to shut down his answers, particularly as he was about to score major points against Joe Biden.
Not once did she interrupt or challenge Joe Biden - even when he delivered one of his huge and obvious lies. Raddatz, who I assume knows who CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan is, seemed to ask questions intended to promote the Democrat positions on the war on terror. This seemed particularly out of place given Logan's commentary on how the war on terror is being lost by the Administration and the rose colored glasses through which they see the Middle East.
Towards the end of the debate, any impression of impartiality was lost as she offered an inane question coached around the candidates shared Catholic faith which was an obvious and insulting ploy to advance the Democrat meme that the GOP is waging a war on women.
Ms. Raddatz, this is what the 'war on women' really looks like:
The real unfortunate effect of Martha Raddatz's 'moderation' of the debate is that a clear message has been sent to Candy Crowley, who is moderating next week's Presidential debate - fight for Barack Obama and the media, your peers, will love you - not hate you like they did Jim Lehrer.
The other big news for the day was the main headline on The Drudge Report - the shift in the electoral votes that is underway because of the miserable performance by Barack Obama in the first Presidential debate. According to Drudge, and getting their data from RealClearPolitics, Barack Obama now only has 10 states that are clearly locked up in his column.
Rasmussen now is showing Florida moving solidly into the Romney column as he has opened a 4 point lead - confirming the viewpoint of Suffolk University's pollsters who have announced that Florida will go Republican on the 6th.
In Virginia, another battleground state that Suffolk University has stopped polling because the state is being placed in the Romney column, a McLaughlin & Associates poll is showing that Mitt Romney has leaped to a 7 point lead and crossed the 50% threshold 51-44.
North Carolina is another battleground state that Suffolk University is placing clearly in the Romney column.
The only polls which are showing any movement towards Barack Obama are polls with laughable D+10 to D+18 samples. RealClearPolitics has now defined Michigan and Pennsylvania in play - with Connecticut and Maine (at least 1 of the electoral votes) also showing a weakening of Barack Obama's support.
All of this means that Barack Obama will be under huge pressure in the next Presidential debate. If he acts like Joe Biden in that debate, then he will be in an even deeper hole - one that he might not be able to climb out of before November 6th.
Today in History
1492 - Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island and believes he has reached East Asia. Rather than Asia, he has 'discovered' the New World - the Americas. He is the first European to reach the Americas and establish a small colony since the Vikings setup colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.
1810 - The Origin of Oktoberfest - Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwiese—"Therese's fields"—in honor of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n." Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.
The decision to repeat the festivities and the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest, which now begins in late September and lasts until the first Sunday in October.
1870 - Robert E. Lee dies peacefully in his home in Lexington, Virginia. The former commander of the Army of Northern Virginia was 63.
1915 - British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by a German firing squad in Brussels for helping Allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium during WW1.
1960 - Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev, during a speech at the United Nations, removes one of his shoes to pound it on the table in front of him to protest comments made against the USSR's actions in Eastern Europe.
2000 - The USS Cole, a destroyer, was rammed by a small boat carrying explosives in an Islamic terror attack on the ship as she was refueling in Aden, Yemen. 17 sailors were killed and 38 were injured in the terror attack.
2002 - Three bombs set by Islamic terrorists in bars / night clubs in Bali, Indonesia explode killing 202 and injuring at least another 200 people.
2007 - Demonstrating clearly that the Nobel Committee is more focused on politics than real accomplishments, the committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize to former US Vice President and global warming activist Al Gore for his efforts to hype global warming in his laughable 'documentary', 'An Inconvenient Truth'. Also named in the award, the United Nations Intergovermental Panel on Climate Control - which would later become famous for accusations of falsifying their data to promote their political agenda around climate control.