Thursday’s debate involved Congressman Paul Ryan recycling previously debunked talking points yet refusing to be specific, while Vice President Biden was referred to as a “human PolitiFact”.
Ryan was said to have ‘Visibly Gulped’ while being ‘Hard put to answer’ last night. The gulping was so evident that Obama for America released a new web video that that pokes fun at Congressman Ryan’s endless thirst and the public’s thirst for answers they never got from Ryan.
Watch “The Romney-Ryan Strategy: Thirsting for an Answer” here:
Chicago explained, “Last night, Paul Ryan doubled down on widely and repeatedly debunked attacks. He hid the truth of his and Mitt Romney’s plans that would devastate the middle class. He offered only a troubling silence when pressed on a woman’s right to choose. And, as the Vice President noted, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan seem to believe that almost half of the American people are moochers, or see themselves as victims. Voters are tired of cheap lines to mask dangerous policies.”
The reviews were unanimous in seeing a lack of substance from Ryan. A roundup:
George Stephanopoulos: “Over the course of the debate, more of the issues fell in Biden’s corner, he was able to take control of more of the debate.”
Chuck Todd: “If you were scoring as a debate coach, you’d say, ‘boy, the guy who controlled that debate was Joe Biden.”
Mark Shields: “I just thought he really kind of hung Ryan out to dry on the no details of the tax plan. I mean, that really was exposed.”
Mike Allen: “This also is a reminder that the promise of the Paul Ryan pick was supposed to be that they were going to tell the American people hard truths, this was a sign that they were getting us ready for an adult conversation. Well, we haven’t had one hard truth said to us since and I don’t remember Paul Ryan giving us a hard truth tonight.”
Governor Martin O’Malley: “People said ‘oh he laughed too much’, but it is laughable that we would be 28 days out from this election and they still haven’t told us how they’re going to do this wonderful plan that all the details are behind door number three. That stuff is laughable. You can’t cut by 20% taxes for millionaires and billionaires, corporations by 30% and not have to pay for it somehow.”
Jim Vandehei: “There was an enormous gap, it seemed, in substance and specificity, the gap between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan when it came to everything from what’s happening in Afghanistan to the Middle East to the defense budget to taxes. On every single one of those, it’s like Biden came ready to brawl, he came ready to brawl with lots of nitty gritty details.”
John Harris: “It seems to me…the consensus back here in our newsroom is that [Ryan] did at best a passable performance…He really didn’t do anything positive to help his own reputation or help the case of his ticket.”
Lois Romano: “You know, I think [Ryan] had a missed opportunity on his own budget. You know, it’s his own budget, his own numbers. I feel like Biden got the best of him on it.”
Sam Youngman: “I tend to agree with Jonathan, I saw a very long pause from Congressman Ryan when the discussion turned to abortion. I don’t think he was probably prepared to discuss that.”
Wolf Blitzer: “Congressman Ryan’s low point happened near the end of the debate around 10:20 eastern when he was asked about abortion.”
Jonathan Chait: “I predicted that Paul Ryan would wipe the floor with Joe Biden. That did not so much happen. Ryan did not perform quite as well as I expected – he seemed greener, younger, and he visibly gulped when challenged. But Biden delivered a revelatory performance that proved me utterly wrong.”
Buzzfeed: “After effectively vanishing from the national stage, Ryan re-emerged Thursday not as the intellectual leader of the right, but as passable debater with a slightly crooked necktie.”
Reuters: “While Ryan tried to depict the Obama administration as projecting weakness, Biden hit back hard with repeated questions on details of Romney’s foreign policy plan, which Ryan was hard put to answer.”
Fox focus group participant: “I found that the Vice President’s position on foreign policy was stronger than Paul Ryan’s. I really thought he scored some pretty good points there.”
National Review’s Robert Costa: “It wasn’t a knockout performance [for Ryan].”
Ryan left the impression that he was a young, green, inexperienced kid talking about things he didn’t really understand. This was probably due to the emphasis on foreign policy, which is a Biden speciality whereas Ryan once claimed he had foreign policy experience because he voted to send us to war. Ryan was unveiled in last night’s debate as less of a policy wonk and more of a talking point with cluelessly extreme ideas about abortion.
Congressman Paul Ryan revealed himself to be what he is – a member of the House, rather than a national figure. He looked like a paper tiger Congressman rather than a future Vice President, and there aren’t enough talking points or smirks to repackage the ideologically naive true believer into a serious politician.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.