After last week's first 2012 presidential debate that basically freaked the hell out of liberals and shook up polls, last night's vice presidential debate was a 180. Both Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan were energetic and aggressive—and Biden got to use one of his favorites words to smack down Ryan's claims about Libya, "With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey." Even though the NY Post thought that Biden gave a "powerful performance," was Biden's charisma TOO MUCH?
Politico found Biden's confidence—evinced by a shit-eating grin—problematic (P.S., Politico had issues with Ryan too):
It is clear that Biden’s substantive high points — and there were several places where he took clear command of the debate on issues ranging from entitlements to taxes — will be partly shadowed by his nonstop succession of incredulous smiles, sneers, taunts and guffaws that were apparently intended to show self-confidence and fighting spirit but struck many viewers as undignified and rude.
Paul Ryan, for his part, gave Republicans the minimum they needed. He turned in a passable performance with no big errors and with very occasional — and very faint — flashes of the energetic young domestic policy activist that first won him the national spotlight.
The NY Times noted one exchange:
Within a single minute, Mr. Biden worked in three attacks on his rivals, referring to Mr. Romney’s opposition to the auto industry bailout, his statement that the foreclosure crisis would have to “run its course” and his comment about “47 percent” of Americans who he said were overreliant on government benefits.
“These guys bet against America all the time,” said Mr. Biden, whose temperature was running close to boil for most of the evening.
Mr. Ryan, who kept his composure for most of the night, suggested that Mr. Romney misspoke when talking about the 47 percent. He added pointedly, “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
But Mr. Biden retorted sharply: “But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney.”
The pair did have a revealing discussion about abortion: When moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News (who was praised for her skill last night) asked the men about their how their Catholic faiths shaped their feelings about abortion, Ryan said, "I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life," and said that offering free contraception through Catholic hospitals and teaching institutions' health insurance plans was infringing on our rights.
However, Biden pointed out that "no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.” While Biden accepts the Catholic church's position, "The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who -- who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help," but, "I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.”
The next debate is on October 16 at Hofstra University. It'll be town hall style. In the meantime, Buzzfeed compiled a montage of Biden's grins:
And here's the WHOLE debate: