The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 12, 2012

Analysis: VP debate feisty, unlike Obama-Romney

READ ABOUT POLLS AND FACT-CHECKING UNDER THE ELECTION 2012 TAB AT WWW.DAILYITEM.COM

By Ben Feller

The Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Fierce and focused, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan gave voters the kind of substantive showdown that was everything the presidential debate was not. Abandoning his boss’ caution, Biden uncorked a combative repair job.

“Not a single thing he said is accurate,” Biden shot back when Ryan leveled a charge that President Barack Obama was projecting U.S. weakness.

So it went from Biden all night, from taxes to Iran, where he suggested Republicans wanted a war. He looked directly at the camera to implore seniors like him not to trust Ryan on his Medicare plan: “Folks, follow your instincts on this one.”

By going all in, Biden aggressively tried to score on two critical fronts: relating Obama’s message in more heartfelt terms and blistering Ryan on multiple fronts so that the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, would lose his recent surge.

Yet Biden also opened himself to interpretation, coming across to some as strong and to others as cocky and condescending. In the split-screen view, Biden was often rolling his eyes and smiling or laughing, as if Ryan’s response were beyond belief.

The youthful-looking Republican clearly held his own on the grand stage, more at ease on his familiar domestic turf and a little more rehearsed on foreign policy. Staying calm where Biden was incredulous, Ryan still poked.

“I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground,” Ryan chided his opponent at one point, “but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other.”

That was a reference to Obama’s listless showing in last week’s debate, which gave a lift to Romney’s campaign and set the context for this sole vice presidential debate. Ryan essentially played the role that Obama had tried, making his case without getting too tangled up with his partner.

History shows debates between the running mates have little influence on voters, but this one stood out because it now drives the narrative for at least five days, when Romney and Obama take the stage again.

The debate also signals for voters what’s ahead, particularly from Obama, who has will try to make up for his bad day with his own aggression.

Sharply run by ABC News moderator Martha Raddatz, the debate gave people what they wanted to see. Even with all the practice by both candidates, there was spirit and spontaneity. And legitimate differences on matters of life and death.

Biden set the tone by taking a question on the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and turning into a defense of Obama’s entire national security agenda. He reminded viewers that Obama was willing to chase the Sept. 11 terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to the end of the earth while quoting Romney as saying he wouldn’t have done the same.

And it was up to Biden to take the shot Obama did not.

In one of those most memorable moments of the night, he brought up that Romney was videotaped saying that 47 percent of the American people see themselves as government-needy victims.

“These people are my mom and dad,” Biden said.

Ryan did more than repeat the line from Romney that he actually cares about 100 percent of Americans. He turned Biden on Biden by telling the gaffe-prone vice president: “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”

Obama had failed at his central mission of drawing distinctions with Romney in a crisp way that connected with people. The merits of competing tax plans or health care visions do not matter much if a debater meanders into the policy weeds or, even worse, fails to deliver a passionate fight. The president ended up doing both.

His aides look back at the first debate and see missed opportunities. Biden went the other direction, seizing any chance to jump on a Ryan inconsistency.

The danger for the aggressor is that both campaign knows the remaining undecided voters at home want answers for them, not partisan bickering.

Nationally, Romney got a clear national bump from his debate performance. But in the election-deciding battleground states that matter, most polls suggest the first presidential debate has not had a significant impact. Obama still holds an edge in Ohio, considered by both sides to be the keystone to the whole election.

Just as the Obama-Romney debate in Denver a week ago influenced what happened Thursday at Centre College in Danville, Ky., now the cycle spins ahead.

Romney and Obama will meet in New York on Tuesday in the midst of an election that is remarkably tight and, more than ever, a fight.

1
Text Only
News
  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Selinsgrove man dies when tractor flips in Chapman Township

    PORT TREVORTON — A 57-year-old Selinsgrove man died Tuesday evening when the farm tractor he was driving overturned and pinned him beneath it, according to Snyder County Coroner Bruce Hummel.

    July 29, 2014

  • VanKirk 'Real hero' of World War II dies

    ATLANTA, Ga. — Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Monday of natural causes in the retirement home where he lived in Georgia. He was 93.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mayor: Rental ban for drug dealers a success

    SUNBURY — A controversial landlord-tenant ordinance passed by the City Council in 2012 has become one of Sunbury’s “better success stories,” Mayor David Persing said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mom cited for allegedly leaving baby in car for 12 minutes

    LEWISBURG — A summary citation carrying a maximum fine of $127.50 was filed Tuesday against a Lewisburg woman accused of leaving her 10-month-old baby unattended for 12 minutes in a car in Union County on July 21.

    July 29, 2014

  • Line Mountain district, teachers $1.2M apart in contract talks

    MANDATA — Separate proposals from the Line Mountain School District and its teachers union are $1.2 million apart and not getting any closer, according to Benjamin L. Pratt, the district’s labor counsel at the CGA Law Firm.

    July 29, 2014

  • Road work: Expect traffic delays on Route 54 near Danville

    RIVERSIDE — Motorists in the Danville-Riverside area are advised that a 2.2-mile micro-surfacing project on Route 54 from Riverside borough to Boyd Station in Northumberland County will begin this afternoon.

    July 29, 2014

  • Blood trail leads to stabbing suspect in Montour County

    DANVILLE — Borough police followed a trail of blood along a sidewalk, up a staircase and down a hallway that led to a moaning woman who they say knifed another woman Sunday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Spencer_Maria1.jpg Maria Spencer charged with murdering her ex-husband

    SELINSGROVE — On Monday, a little more than two years after Frank Spencer was executed outside his Columbia County home, his former wife and her father were charged in his murder and the attempted homicide of Spencer’s girlfriend.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opponents, supporters to discuss clean air rules

    DENVER — Hundreds of people are expected to attend public hearings this week in a handful of cities across the U.S. to tell federal regulators what they think of proposed rules to cut pollution from power plants.

    July 29, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.