Thursday, October 11, 2012

Live-Blog 2.0: This Debate Is Veeptastic!

The last debate was just so awesomely good that we decided to live-blog again.

The one and only VP debate.

Follow us below the fold to the live action, starting in...

...ten, nine...!

Rules and info:

  • 90 minutes, no commercial breaks. 
  • ABC News’ Martha Raddatz will be the moderator, and she developed the questions – without input from either campaign.  I hope she does well.  Both because she's a lady and because last week was painful.

  • The candidates will be seated.  This is a throwback to 2000 and 2004, and a departure from the 2008 Biden-Palin debate, which included podiums and standing.  And winking.  And calling a senator "Joe" because Palin couldn't get his name right.
  • The topics will be split between foreign and domestic topics. 
  • 9 10-minute segments (as opposed to the 6 15-minute ones last week).  My attention span thanks you, debate commission.  

  • The Romney-Ryan campaign has asked that Rep. Ryan be referred to as “Mr. Ryan” throughout the debate - presumably because we don't want to remind anybody that Ryan is a lowly MC while Biden is all VP-ish.

  • Raddatz will ask the same question to both men. Each will have two minutes to respond, uninterrupted, with lights giving time signals to both men.
  • Raddatz will then use the balance of the time in each segment to facilitate a discussion between Biden and Ryan. 

  • No opening statements. 
  • 1:30 for each man to give closing statements.  
  • As determined in a coin flip, Biden will answer the first question first, and Ryan will answer the second question first, with the order to follow in that pattern thereafter. Biden will deliver the first closing statement, and Ryan will get the final word.

Emily commentary:  The expectations are higher for Ryan than Biden.  Ryan has that wonky reputation, Biden has a reputation for gaffes.  Ryan would be wise to not underestimate the Vice President.  Biden is very smart, he knows a whole heck of a lot, he's been in the Senate since he was 30 - and he actually cared about legislating that whole time.  Biden is especially well-versed in foreign policy.  Ryan is not.  Also, unlike last time, Biden is allowed to make fun of Ryan.  He was decidedly NOT allowed to make fun of Palin.  There's that older male/younger female dynamic he had to walk very carefully around.  Then again, Ryan is a sneaky, smart dude.  He doesn't shy from being aggressive.  So we'll see...

*Note: please feel free to comment below during the debate, this is an open conversation :-)

Mandi:  Less than 15 minutes now.  I can't wait for this debate!  Who will win?  Will it be Joe "Rabid Fox" Biden or Paul "Crazy Eyes" Ryan?  Will the debate end in a 'rassilin match?  Who knows?  I think Biden is a pretty good debator, as long as he sticks to the script.  It's when he goes off book that things get scary.  Ryan, on the other hand, I haven't seen too much of yet, so I guess he'll try the same technique Romney tried last week-Deny, Deny, Deny.  I hope Biden is properly prepared for that.

Emily: We're on ABC tonight, CNN gave me twitches last week.  If the kids will just stay asleep, the live-blogging should go more smoothly...

Haha George Stephanapolous.  Biden is old.

Ooh, Martha is fiesty "that's what a VP would have to do."  I hope she keeps that.

The VP candidates, trying to out-grasp each other.  Stereotypical blue and red ties.  And Ryan is already taking notes.  Geek.

9:04 Mandi: 
Wow, moderator starts out hard hitting.  Biden is holding steady thus far.  I’m glad he is really laying out the differences between the two candidates.

9:07 Emily:
Biden blinks too much.  Good, concise summary by Biden.  Stop smirking Ryan.

Ryan looks too young next to Biden.

I don't get why they (Ryan/Romney) think the admission of a terrorist attack is such a good point.

Is that purple on his tie?

Including your son Beau?  That was weird.

Ryan doesn't sound like he knows what he's talking about.  

YAY Malarkey!

9:09 Mandi:

Biden is openly grinning when Ryan said that they agreed with 2014 withdrawal. 

Wow, she talks about the Romney Libya gaffe, and Ryan smoothly eludes the question. 

Biden is really taking it to Ryan, and Romney.  I’m liking the feistiness. 

9:11 Emily:

The Ryan smirk is just like the Romney one, it bugs me.

Really like how Biden is doing.  He sounds like the grown-up.  I agree, feisty.

Martha is a better moderator.

Stop pointing, Biden.

Ryan looks like a kid.  He needs like some fake gray in his hair or something.

Nice question about apologies, Martha!

"Oh gosh, yes"  Wow.

Malarkey from Biden, gosh from Ryan.  That's some Andy Griffith language.

Really nice topic change by Martha.  Good, firm hand here.

9:14 Mandi:

I agree, Ryan does look like a kid.  It's strange. 

Biden actually sounds steady and articulate.  I'm relieved...thus far.   (cue doom music)

Now, he's daring Ryn to declare war on Iran, which Ryan ignores.

9:16 Emily:

Wow, Biden laughed at Ryan.

Ha, are you gonna go to war now?  Awesome, Joe!

"My friend" - really nice - Joe's underscoring how he's supposed to call him Mr. Ryan instead of Congressman.

Oh, good.  The blinking thing calmed down.  He was in Pelosi territory there for a minute.

Is it the hair that makes Ryan look like a kid?  The hair-gel and young Republican hair cut?

Nice, Martha.  You saw the picture of the bomb.

I really think Biden is laughing at Ryan.

Biden is the Alpha.

I know Bibi.  Bibi is a friend of mine.  For 39 years.  I poop older policy than you.

What is "stuff" Martha?  Do you want him to swear?

Stop laughing, Joe.

Really nice, facts matter, you're a foreign policy expert, Martha.  Respectful, got the point across.

9:24 Mandi:

Biden’s expressions crack me up.  However, with that aside, Biden is holding it down pretty well. 

And Biden with a zinger.  “He changes his mind so often…”
And Joe gets the 47% remark in, and he's really hammering it home.

9:26 Emily:

And THERE it is.  47%, my friend said 30%.  Go Joe, go!  People fighting in Afghanistan are in that 47%.  Nice!  Take it to Grover Norquist!  YES!!

Stop laughing Joe.

Mitt Romney's a car guy.  Yep.  Car elevators for every car.

Right, so Romney will pay for a couple of kids' college, Democrats want to help pay for all kids' colleges.

There you go, no commitment to the automobile industry.

9:31 Mandi:

Ryan gets in a zinger of his own, harkening back to Biden’s tendency to gaffe.

A really nice, vulnerable moment from Biden talking about his first wife and daughter in the car accident.

A nice reminder back to the Bush years, and how they drove up the debt.
Wow, Biden is really hammering Ryan begging to get the stimulus money.  I'm loving this!

9:32 Emily: 

And now Medicare.  I cannot BELIEVE Ryan had the "brass ones" to quote Bubba to bring that same $716 billion back up.

Guaranteed coverage options?  Do you seriously think ANYBODY believes that, Ryan?  Come ON.

Nice name dropping of AMA and AARP, Joe.  Nice use of the direct talk to seniors about the donut hole.  Seniors know their benefits, that's for sure.

Excellent prep job, Joe.

9:38  Mandi:

I think that Biden just compared Ryan to Palin.
This is getting really testy!  " I know Mr. VP that you are under a lot of duress to make up lost ground.."   I think that made him look mean.
I like that Biden attempted to talk directly to the audience.
But overall I'm not liking the tone of this debate.  Too Jerry Springer-ish for me.

9:40 Emily:

"Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad."  Perfect encapsulation by Joe.

WHAT?  Hand in the cookie jar?  Ryan, that's just wrong.

Nice, Martha, what is your plan for seniors who can't afford to make up the difference?

I like it every time Joe asks seniors directly.

"Barack Obama"?  He's the president to you, buddy.

I agree on the tone.  Neither is coming off as very likable.  I continue to think Joe is doing a better job on the facts and the policy points, though.

9:46  Mandi:

I wish Biden would stop rolling his eyes at Ryan.  We get it, we know he's a douche, but you don't need to highlight it.

Ryan is making a impassioned defense of rich people.  Biden is waiting, and letting him go on.

Martha slowly turning the screws on Ryan.  "Do yo have any specifics?"  "Well Martha, basically no, I don't."

9:47 Emily:  

I'm now sick of the word "premise."  Every answer Ryan says "the entire premise of our plan is to X."  That's a really weak way of formulating a point.  Poor language choice.

He keeps saying small businesses, he means people who own small businesses.

So Ryan is presupposing that he will be able to work with Democrats on these tax changes?


I do like that "If he did such a great job in Massachusetts why isn't he even contesting Massachusetts?"

"Can you declare anything off the table?"


Martha is doing a great job, Joe needs to get out of her way sometimes.

9:55 Mandi:

I agree that Joe needs to get out of her way, and stop arguing with her.

I wish that Joe would stop laughing, but the subject of Afghanistan seems to have slowed his rampage a bit.  Oops, spoke too soon, Joe's laughing again.

Ryan has a stirring defense of staying in Afghanistan forever.

Damn, right Joe.  We killed Bin Ladin!  America F*** Yeah!

9:57 Emily:

Martha is kicking ass and taking names.

Afghanistan is the best Ryan as done.  And finally Joe is not laughing.

Excellent, Joe.  He's doing such a good job on the facts and on policy all night.  Really so much better than the President or Romney.  Certainly better than Ryan.

Ryan looks like he's going to cry.

Ah, he's crying about his friend.  That's actually sweet.

Better Joe, better when he doesn't smile at the things Ryan says.

We agree with everything Obama does, we just think Obama is failing...?

49 allies said out in 2014?  I didn't even know that.

10:05 Mandi:

"The calendar works the same every year".  Ryan sounds a little too smug himself here.

Biden did a good job emphasizing that Afghans should dealing with their own war, not Americans, rather boxing Ryan in an uncomfortable position.

Biden is really staking out an anti-war position, but he does a good job highlighting that Romney doesn't want to do anything different.

10:07 Emily:

Ryan: I talk to generals!  I know their names!  I know what constitutes fighting season.  Let me break it down for you.  There's snow, see?

Biden: you don't know from fighting season.

Wow I totally agree, Ryan seemed like an ass with "the calendar works the same every year"??  Super petulant facial and body language.

Really nice, Joe.  You want to send Americans in there?  Afghans to do the job.  Perfect.

Joe is psyched to be in foreign policy.  He'd only be happier if it were the Supreme Court.

Um, actually, Ryan, John McCain is proposing to send troops to Syria.  And Iran.

Don't you even mention Hillary Clinton's name, little Ryan.

Have you noticed they never say what they'd do differently?  PERFECT, JOE.

10:13  Mandi:

Foreign Policy is definitely Biden's wheelhouse.  He's happier than a pig covered in crap.

Ryan, on the other hand, is definitely looking very uncomfortable.

ABORTION!!!  Can't believe we are finally getting to a question about this.  Ryan has a good story about this, he almost seems personable when he says it.

But now Ryan pivots to Obamacare, and so much for seeming personable.

10:15 Emily:

Bwa-ha.  Ryan "my faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable."  Tell the nuns, buddy.

Yes, Bean, that's cute.  We did almost the same.  Because 7 weeks = conception.  Not.

The freedom of religion is about the individual, not the church.

Perfect, Joe.  And heartfelt.

Hee, my friend the congressman.

Ryan hasn't ever referred to Joe, has he?  Other than "you"?

So yes, no exceptions to abortion.

And judiciary.  Biden is a happy man.

Perfection, Joe.  Roe v. Wade is at stake, Robert Bork Robert Bork Robert Bork.

10:21  Mandi:

Joe is really using the time to sum up all the campaign talking points.  "Middle-class, 47%, Supreme Court, Iraq,...."

I like the fact that he has calmed down a little bit, which does help him.

"Attack, blame, and defame"  Way to double-down there Ryan.  You want to at least try to say in a nice tone, so you don't seem so angry.

10:24 Emily:

Dude.  Ryan sucks.  He says Obama has a bad record, than he claims to prove that through questionable "projections."  Projections are not a record.  A record, my friend, is killing Bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq.  Passing health care.  And trying to work with incredibly right wing reps in the House and Senate.

Good job, Martha.

Personal character.  Interesting question.

HA.  Honesty?  Ryan?  Really?  What's your marathon time again?

Ryan is completely avoiding her question.

Perfect, Joe.  Look at my record.

Good to talk about "you probably noticed my frustration" that helps with the laughing thing.

Ah, Ryan called him Joe.

Dude, you have no ideas.  I don't know how you can get away with that.  Does that even work with people?  WOW an economy that promotes dependency?  Way to double-down on 47%.  I just want Romney or Ryan to explain one way they will actually create jobs, specifically.

George Stephanopolous thinks Joe won.


Mandi: I think this was a clear win for Biden.  I wasn't in love with his smiling, but Biden definitely schooled Ryan on the facts.  Ryan was more comfortable on the entitlements issues, but he looked a little at ease throughout most of the debate.  The debate got pretty heated at times, to the point of uncomfortability.  But I think that Biden got all the points that he needed to get out.  The moderator was excellent, and asked actual follow-through questions.  All in all, a good debate.

Emily:  I largely agree.  Biden won because he was so much better on the issues and making good points than Ryan.  He made Ryan look like an idiot on foreign policy.  But Biden smiled/laughed too much, which will annoy some people.  Just hopefully not too many.  Ryan just seemed young to me.  He is not helped by having a higher voice, and that Young Republican hairdo, and that one very petulant response on foreign policy about the calendar.  Real winner?  Martha Raddatz.  She was firm, gave latitude where needed, and moved on when she wanted to.


  1. Technology is pretty cool. I'm glad to join you for this debate.

  2. We're glad to have the company :-) Let's hope this doesn't suck.

  3. Definitely better moderation than the presidential debate.

  4. I keep wondering who will call the other "old/young man" first.

  5. I think they both are trying hard to avoid that. However my money is on Biden. He'll break out with a "young whuppersnapper" sooner or later.

  6. I think Biden's "oh god" counts as a whippersnapper

  7. I love the stuff line. But he's GOT to stop laughing. It's a Gore-sigh-worthy thing if he keeps it up.

  8. Yeah, with Biden, you never know if he's going to break out with some curse words randomly. It was pretty funny.

  9. There is an inappropriate amount of scoffing from both sides.

  10. Biden is the winner of the scoff-a-thon, by a mile.

  11. Republicans creating jobs, how many of these will be government jobs that were cut by Republican led states like TX during the past 4 years? The growth in private sector jobs in the same 4 years is huge.

  12. One of my friends just texted me that she is really hating the Biden smile, she says it reads as petty.

  13. I think Joe is doing a great job on the facts, I'm just worried he is coming off as pompous.

  14. Who is interrupting whom? They both seem more interested in "winning" the debate than getting their points across. I think it's going to get ugly quick.

  15. I agree with you Scooter about the ugliness.

  16. Why are they talking about higher or lower income seniors? Do they mean their income before they retired? Or are we beyond the illusion of retirement? I know my dad is still working, would he have to pay more because he is still making money?

  17. And did Ryan just glorify Canadians, and their socialized medicine? And yes, Joe should have gotten all his laughing out before the debate. "you guarantee this math will add up?" Awesome.

  18. It's been done before, by Reagan? Voo doo economics?

  19. They want to make it a means tested program, which the Democrats oppose.

  20. Biden's answers are good, but he's got to stop laughing while Ryan answers. For every step forward he takes when he answers, he takes two steps back with the laughing. It's on the wrong side of the respect line. (This is Marli.)

  21. Hey Marli! I totally agree. If he'd just stop laughing, he'd be wiping up the floor with Ryan.

  22. Did Ryan just say they would create 7 million jobs? But hasn't Romney been saying 12 million jobs?

  23. Friend on FB: Joe Biden is this close to yelling "I drink your milkshake" at Paul Ryan.

  24. They're saying 7 million through tax cuts, which is preposterous and they have no basis for it.

  25. "we are leaving in 2014, period" sounds like we are being set up for another "mission accomplished." Of course the Reps won't say that. Nobody wants to be in Afghanistan, but the timeline should be contingent on some very clearly set goals.

  26. We are quite tickled by Biden referring to Ryan as "My Friend"

  27. I think maybe Joe has calmed down now. It's the foreign policy, he's in his element.

  28. It's like in the Senate, you call the people you like the least "my very esteemed friend from the great state of Wisconsin."

  29. Martha asks great questions. I wish our friends would actually answer them.

  30. I think Biden finished stronger than he began. I don't know if anyone won, but Biden did the better job of actually answering the questions asked. Thanks for blogging.

  31. Thanks for keeping us company guys! It was great hearing all of your perspectives on the debate.

  32. Yeah, and it was great to have commenters this time! Come back next debate :-)