Let’s start with the obvious — Joe Biden killed it six ways to Sunday in last night’s debate. The media’s reporting on polls showing a draw, but seriously. No.
Showing that one shouldn’t underestimate Joltin’ Joe, he came armed with a “You’ve got to be kidding me” laugh, a lifetime of experience and facts. #FactsMatter was actually one of the popular hashtags of the night, and with good reason. Biden has been in the White House for the past four years, witnessing all that the Obama administration has accomplished. He has more than 30 years in Congress. And he wasn’t afraid to talk it up and call a spade a spade.
On foreign policy and military matters, he spoke plainly and with authority. Explaining the policy in Syria versus the one in Libya, he started by stating simply, “They are two completely different countries.” In other words, I understand the nuance of the dynamics across that region. It’s not a monolith. Ryan was clearly overwhelmed by the topic. On healthcare, Biden discussed the dollars and cents of what people will spend and save. On women’s issues, he made it clear that despite his religion, he believes in a woman’s right to determine what’s best for her own body.
And without letting too much time pass, he jumped all over Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment. On MSNBC, a commentator made the point that VP Biden speaks the language of populism well, a good point. Much of the criticism of Biden comes from those who thought his laughing was over the top or downright rude. It was noticeable and maybe even a touch too much, but it didn’t overshadow his words.
So a big topic, of course, was the economy. On the issue of small business, Ryan said that letting tax cuts expire on high earners (they would remain for the middle class) would mean big trouble for job creators and VP Biden said it would only impact a small portion of small businesses (defining small businesses and those earning less than $250,000 per year, which is the vast majority). The Washington Post‘s analysis shows that both of them have a point. Ryan continued to be vague about the loopholes and tax breaks for the super-wealthy that they would cut.
Moving on, Ryan criticized the rate of economic growth the country is experiencing now and even went so far as to say joblessness is increasing, a claim that is in stark opposition to the unemployment numbers we’ve gotten over the past two weeks. And then both candidates fiercely debated about Medicare and other entitlements, going back and forth about whether the GOP side is advocating for vouchers. Here’s a good breakdown of the economic issues that were discussed. And here’s full video along with issue-by-issue clips.
Two final notes: ABC’s Martha Raddatz did a bang up job last night, gained thousands more Twitter followers as a result of her work, and launched the #MoreMartha hashtag, with people requesting that she moderate the remaining two presidential debates.
And Joe Biden may single-handedly bring back one of my favorite words: “malarkey.” The word was erased from proper parlance last year when the AP Style Guide removed it. They should rethink that.