Friday, October 12, 2012

VP debate: Biden won on substance; Ryan won on style

VP debate: screenshot courtesy of US
After watching last night's vice-presidential debate, I called it a draw. I gave Ryan points for demeanor and style; I thought his bearing was more dignified and presidential than Biden's, whose laughter and other antics were on display throughout the debate. Nonetheless, I gave Biden points on substance; with his many terms in the U.S. Senate and four years as vice-president, one would have questioned his intelligence had he not demonstrated more knowledge of the issues than the youthful Ryan. Accordingly, I think this morning's editorial in the NY Times was a little over the top in its assessment of the debate:

Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate was one of the best and meatiest political conversations in many years, showing that real differences on public policy can be discussed with fervor, anger, laughter and real substance. In contrast to the dismal meeting last week between President Obama and Mitt Romney, this debate gave voters a chance to evaluate the positions of the two tickets, in part because Representative Paul Ryan’s nonanswers were accurate reflections of his campaign.

Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. would not sit still for a parade of misleading and often blatantly untruthful descriptions of the state of the economy and the Republican prescriptions for it. Though his grins and head-shakes were often distracting, he did not hesitate to interrupt and demand an end to “malarkey.” The result, expertly controlled by the moderator, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, was both entertaining and enlightening. 

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