Joe Biden spanked Paul Ryan – on Medicare and Social Security, taxes and budget cuts, the direction of the economy, abortion and the Supreme Court. On foreign policy, Biden stood as the anti-war candidate and Ryan looked like a chicken hawk.
Biden’s smirky smile didn’t do him any good. But looking straight into the camera and talking to seniors about their Medicare costs was powerful – especially when he held Ryan to account for his own budget plans and its devastating impact on recipients.
Most important for the Democrats, all of those liberals who were dispirited and freaked out about President Obama’s miserable performance in his debate with Mitt Romney came away from the veep debate with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.
Republicans mostly breathed a sigh of relief that Ryan did no overt damage to Romney. But on some of the issues Ryan handled – especially abortion, where he flatly argued that human life begins at conception – Romney will face more trouble with women.
CBS’s poll of uncommitted voters scored it 50-32% for Biden. CNN’s survey of debate watchers (however they randomized them, we have no idea*) scored it 48-44% for Ryan. But the professional analysts agreed that on the issues that voters care about most, Biden, with his passion and hard facts, was the clear winner.
Best word in the debate: malarkey.
* Thanks to our old friend Cragg Hines for calling our attention to this, from CNN’s bullshit survey — SPECIAL NOTE OF CAUTION #2: The sample of debate-watchers in this poll were 31% Democratic and 33% Republican. That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is about eight points more Republican than an average CNN poll of all Americans, so the respondents were more Republican than the general public.