For those of you who watched the 90-minute vice presidential debate on Thursday night, it's hard to come away with a good analysis of the policy issues facing America. Why? Were they omitted? No. Both foreign and domestic topics were covered, but the two things that stood out from this debate were the Joe Biden interruptions and the headache I had from watching it.
I always find it difficult to provide a wrap-up of one of these debates. So much gets said, and it's usually just a few themes or sound bites that stick out. That was the case with this one as well.
At the very beginning, the moderator Martha Raddatz asked about the murders and ensuing controversy in Benghazi, Libya. At this point, I was glued to the television set, because I knew this is an issue that is resonating with the American people. Not only does it show the complete misunderstanding that Barack Obama has for the threat of terrorism against Americans, but it also shows the extremes Obama will go to in order to cover it up.
If any political sound bite stood out from Thursday night, it's when Joe Biden said this regarding requests for additional security at the Benghazi consulate: "Well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again."
This one clip not only contains the sound bite of the night, but it also DIRECTLY contradicts everything that actually went on in the days and weeks following the murders of the four Americans in Libya.
Biden states that as more intelligence was gathered, they updated their story. Wrong. For close to two weeks, the Obama administration put out the SAME story. According to them, the uprising was spontaneous, and it was due to an anti-muslim Internet video.
However, if you think this was a win for Ryan and the Republicans, it wasn't. The issue of Benghazi quickly faded as Iran, Syria, and other topics both foreign and domestic were discussed. On the issue of taxes, Biden was given a free pass (as all Democrats are given) when talking about cutting and raising taxes.
Biden tried the class warfare tact by stating that Romney and Ryan want more tax cuts for the wealthy. This is where -- for some reason unknown to me -- Ryan and everyone else falls into the trap of not saying what's really going on. NO ONE is talking about more tax cuts for the so-called "wealthy." The Bush tax cuts have existed for a decade. They are the norm. The rates that exist now have existed for years. No one is talking about lowering the rate on the wealthy. Yet no Republican says that. We just want to keep the rates the same. (I actually want them lower, but that's a different story.)
Unfortunately, ideas of tax cuts, saving Social Security, or highlighting the Obama administration's complete failure in Libya all took a back seat to Biden and his smirks, laughs, and interruptions. Seriously... that was the highlight of the debate.
Charles Krauthammer had a great analysis of the debate and Biden's antics:
So that's the debate in a nutshell. It was hard to write a serious analysis, because it was not a serious debate. It was a clown show. Biden interrupted 82 times in the course of a 90-minute debate. It was unreal.
I doubt this one changed anyone's mind like the first Romney/Obama debate did, but that's the nature of vice presidential debates. Candidates want to emerge gaffe-free and turn things back over to their bosses. Biden, however, produced the biggest Libya gaffe to date, yet it will be overshadowed by his unprofessional and rude behavior. Such is politics in 2012.
What did you think?