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This debate actually felt like a debate. Vice President Joe Biden did not disappoint: he was energetic, passionate and to the point. He flashed his grin and chuckled through Rep. Paul Ryan’s lack of five points for his five-point economic plan. Then, he called him on it.
This was Joe Biden at his best and he brought it.
He brought the facts and the rebuttals. He referenced his long record in the Senate and openly aired his requests for more speaking time. As an obvious dig at Ryan’s age, Biden even name-checked President Ronald Reagan by referencing his past participation in budget negotiations.
Where the presidential debate was about President Barack Obama’s aloofness and Mitt Romney’s firing of Big Bird, this debate made referencing “malarkey” as a term to discredit an adversary somewhat cool.
In a grandfatherly way, of course.
Ryan was certainly bringing the malarkey or “stuff” as Biden would say. Ryan gave no specific details about how he would decrease the deficit with a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut for all Americans or how the Obama administration’s foreign policy has made the nation “weaker” or why he voted (twice!) to increase defense spending for two wars that directly contributed to the nation’s debt.
Biden, in one of my favorite debate moments, asked: “Where do they think this debt came from -- the sky?”
Biden and Ryan were asked pointed questions from Martha Raddatz on a range of topics that included foreign policy, job creation, decreasing the nation’s debt, funding Medicare and Social Security, tax cuts and where the candidates stood on abortion. Biden, unlike Obama, mentioned Romney’s disregard for 47 percent of the population and also included Ryan’s comment that 30 percent of Americans are nothing more than “takers.”
In a truly cringe-worthy exchange, Ryan -- in order to show Romney’s charitable nature -- referenced how the candidate paid for the college tuition of two students who were horribly injured in a car accident. Biden noted that while he didn’t doubt Romney’s personal charity, his first wife and daughter were tragically killed in a car accident that his two sons survived.
If Ryan was trying to offset Biden by bringing up Romney’s secretly taped 47 percent comments, choosing a car accident to highlight a charitable giving was not only in bad taste, it was also cruel.
As a Democrat, I was thrilled to see Paul Ryan, for the first time, confronted about his lack of policy details, anti-abortion stance and “loose” Medicare math. Joe Biden did not disappoint. He kept it simple, he kept it straight, and he kept us in the race.
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