- Ryan said Obama’s proposal to let tax rates rise for high-income individuals would “tax about 53 percent of small-business income.” Wrong. Ryan is counting giant hedge funds and thousands of other multimillion-dollar enterprises as “small” businesses.
- Biden exaggerated when he said House Republicans cut funding for embassy security by $300 million. The amount approved for fiscal year 2012 was $264 million less than requested, and covers construction and maintenance, not just security.
- Ryan was wrong when he said a rise in the jobless rate in Biden’s hometown was “how it’s going all around America.” The rate nationally has sunk back to where it was when Obama took office. And in Ryan’s hometown, it’s more than 4 percentage points lower that it was at the start of Obama’s term.
- Biden seemed to question Ryan’s assertion that administration officials called Syrian President Bashar Assad “a reformer” even when he was killing his own civilian countrymen. Ryan was right. Early in the bloody Syrian uprising Hillary Clinton called Assad a “different leader” who many in Congress believe is “a reformer.”
- Ryan claimed the Obama administration spent stimulus money on “electric cars in Finland.” Not true. Although the cars have been assembled in Finland, the money went for work in the United States.
- Biden quoted Romney as saying that he would not “move heaven and earth” to get Osama bin Laden. What Romney said was that he’d go after other terrorists as well.
- Ryan misquoted a Medicare official as saying “one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business” as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Not quite. The official said that many could become “unprofitable,” and the the situation could be monitored to head off bad outcomes.
- Ryan claimed that the ACA contains “taxpayer funding” of abortion. In fact the law provides no direct funding of abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life. And it’s a matter of interpretation whether subsidized private insurance would amount to indirect federal support for abortion.
- Ryan was off base when he said of a cost-saving panel created by the Affordable Care Act, “not one of them even has to have medical training.” Actually, the board must include physicians and other health care professionals among its members.
I was much more satisfied with this debate than the first Presidential debate. The conversation was lively, there were more facts thrown into the discussion and neither Biden nor Ryan came out as a decisive winner. A CNN Poll reported a win for Ryan with 48% with Biden trailing right behind at 44%. Nearly a draw, a strong argument could be made for either side. Now, victor aside, allow me to delve deeper into this debate to share my opinions about the things that stuck out most.
Firstly, Joe Biden. He surprised me in good ways and bad ways during that hour and 30 minutes. To put things into perspective, I haven’t seen Joe Biden debate before. I wasn’t even remotely interested in politics 4 years ago and up until this point I have only seen Vice President Biden on the mainstream news because of some unfortunate gaffes. In the most recent of which (to my knowledge) we can see him telling a crowd of supporters (many of whom are African American) that Romney is going to “Put y’all back in chains.” To say the least, I did not expect such a great performance so I was surprised when I saw one. He was constantly referring to the numbers and articulating all of his points with clarity. There were topics which I believe went to Paul Ryan because of a better structured argument, but Biden was still very impressive. He even fact checked Paul Ryan mid-debate! More accurately, mid-sentence. Which touches on another aspect of Biden’s debating… The more unprofessional aspect of it. Because although he may have been saying accurate information (mostly)… He still interrupted him multiple times.
No matter who your opponent is or what he/she says, constantly laughing is not professional. And keep in mind, this is the Vice Presidential debate. The position of Vice President is not something to be taken lightly. I would’ve liked to have seen Biden act a little more serious at times, even when he laughed at Paul Ryan’s more obvious exaggerations. You just don’t act that way when you’re held to such a high standard. Now, with that said, I think it is important to note that the quality of the argument is more important than the quality of the candidate’s professionalism… For the most part. So even though Biden was rude at times, you cannot dismiss his arguments and great debate performance. If we decide to vote for the guy that looks the most professional then what would we do if he didn’t have logical plans/policies? You don’t vote for appearance, you vote because you believe that person can do the job right. Yes, he could have been more professional. Does that discount the information that he put forth? Not in the slightest. A lot of Republicans overplayed Biden’s mocking laughter in such a way that ignored this important distinction.
I had no expectations for Paul Ryan prior to this debate so he didn’t really surprise me. I thought he also articulated his arguments very well, but at the same time I think he was more vague than Vice President Biden. I also think he exaggerated or mislead people with his points more often. I was particularly annoyed when he couldn’t go into detail about his and Romney’s tax plan… Obviously I am equally (if not, more) annoyed by Romney’s inability to do so as well. But, like I said, he had a lot of good points too and he certainly beat out Biden on more than one occasion.
The second aspect of this debate that stuck out for me was the moderator Martha Raddatz. Jon Stewart sums it all up much better than I can. If you’re hesitant to watch because it is Jon Stewart, do it anyway. Even though he’s a comedian he hits the nail on the head with his part about Martha Raddatz.
That’s all I’ve got for you guys tonight. I’ll write a post about the second Presidential debate tomorrow! Like all of my debate coverage thus far, there will be fact checking.