First, a bit of quick fact checking of a Vice Presidential debate between two really smart guys. Paul Ryan claimed that President Obama’s own chief actuary said Obamacare would drive “one out of six hospitals and nursing homes out of business.” False. Richard Foster stated that Obamacare would cause roughly 15 percent of Medicare Hospital Insurance providers, including inpatient care in hospitals and nursing homes, to become unprofitable. This could be fixed with legislative intervention.
Vice President Biden snarled that if Republicans cared about security at U.S. Embassies, they wouldn’t have cut 300 million dollars from the foreign service budget. That 300 million is for fiscal 2013 and in no way prevented the State Department from sending the late Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens the 16-member security team he had requested. Libya was Biden’s second weakest moment, throwing the CIA under the bus, saying the Obama administration relied on CIA data for what is now known as false information that any protest of an anti-Islam video occurred in Benghazi.
Testimony and cables now prove the attack was pre-planned. Ryan failed to follow up in a format designed and moderated by a close friend of President Obama’s that would have allowed him to take on Biden’s claim that the White House was not informed of the Ambassador’s request for security. Shockingly, Biden’s claim infers a dangerously dysfunctional lack of communication between the White House and State Department. Why didn’t he pursue that? He also missed the opportunity to ask, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” That could have become a campaign theme. Much more so than Joe channeling Lloyd Bentsen who snidely sneered to his 1988 vice presidential opponent, “You’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Supporters of both candidates had opportunities to cheer their guy on as they debated this $3,600 and that $716 million. Each was compelling and convincing, even if you suspect “the other guy” is wrong. Ryan was strong, calm and shows an amazing capacity for the math of governance. Biden was strong, animated and gave a convincing performance.
It was the smirking that was Biden’s weakest moment… okay, moments… well… okay… hundreds of moments. In the split screen broadcast, Joe’s smirking and mugging was an uncomfortably amusing distraction from Paul Ryan’s professorial policy talks, like a schoolmate making faces at the teacher when he turns his back to the class. I wonder if most people were annoyed or simply bemused by Biden’s schoolboy antics. Pollster Frank Luntz asked interested undecided voters about the performance and they were clearly disturbed by his disrespectful, annoying grimaces and sneers.
At first, I thought he was punch drunk but his behavior continued throughout the debate, mocking, laughing and interrupting both Paul Ryan and the moderator. Still, he completed his mission of nuking Mitt Romney with fat boys marked “47 percent,” “Detroit” and “the wealthy.” It didn’t matter that Paul Ryan effectively deflected each of these bombs. Joe did what Obama’s supporters wanted him to do: take out Romney. And with the help of moderator and Obama BFF Martha Raddatz, who stopped Ryan many times while Joe rambled on, they were also able to keep Ryan from expanding on President Obama’s failed Green Schemes for campaign bundlers.
Today, supporters of both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan can say their candidate “won” the debate. There was no clear winner or loser on immediate merits. Biden’s passionate delivery will encourage Obama supporters. Ryan’s clear articulation of policy and figures will encourage Romney supporters. And then… there’s the sneering, derisive laughing, and bully behavior. Great stuff for political cartoonists, but how voters feel is what is now developing.
© Copyright 2012 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Rick Jensen is Delaware’s Award-Winning Conservative Talk Show Host on 1150AM WDEL and 93.7FM HD3, Streaming live on WDEL.Com from 1pm – 4pm EST. Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @JensenVoiceover.