(Note: Bold text generally reflects repostings of others’ comments. Links are included where possible.)
10:58: My legs are cramping from my sitting on the floor and typing atop my coffee table. I definitely am not the night’s winner, although it’s been fun.
I attended a presidential debate 24 years ago — Bush vs. Dukakis in Winston-Salem in 1988 — and I remember the challenge of trying to write and listen at the same time, knowing that my reporting had to be as good as the other more seasoned reporters in the room. It wasn’t easier tonight, even though it struck me that I could pause the DVR anytime I wanted and even run back the video. But I didn’t think that was in the spirit of liveblogging.
I thought it would be easier to track the other blogs, but I didn’t get many chances to do so. But I do think I did a decent job of tracking the important takeaways from the debate. Thanks, Andy, for the assignment!
10:53: CBS Poll says 50 percent saw Biden as winner, 31 percent Ryan, 19 percent tie. Both candidates were seen as more relatable after debate. Biden seen as an acceptable president by 39 percent before debate, 56 percent afterward. Ryan seen as acceptable president by 45 percent before debate and 49 afterward.
10:52: I am waiting for a CBS Insta-Poll of uncommitted voters to see who they thought won. My gut feeling is Biden, but it was a 12-round decision, not a knockout.
10:44: @KarlRove: Yes, we saw your frustration, @JoeBiden, but it was with Ryan taking him to cleaners.
10:42: Replay of Biden saying “Oh, so now you’re Jack Kennedy?” to Ryan. How did I miss that? Liveblogging is difficult!
10:38: Fox News viewers seem to agree that Biden was “rude, rude, rude.”
10:36: CBS News is recapping some of the top comments. The remark that Biden made about his parents and neighbors being in the 47 percent is the first one played. It struck me as the most memorable, too. Ryan’s big line seems to have been Obama talking of hope and change in 2008 and “attack, blame and defame” this year.
10:32: Indecision (Daily Show blog): But… what about Big Bird?
It’s true — no Sesame Street references tonight.
10:32: Families are on stage now. Paul Ryan’s wife looks happy to greet the Bidens. Ann Romney looked like someone was waving a cut onion under her hose after first presidential debate.
10:29: Final statements. Biden: We inherited a mess. Romney says 47 percent won’t take responsibility, he’s talking about my parents, my neighbors in Scranton, people who have never had a shot. Giving these people a shot is what it’s all about. Ryan: What kind of country are we going to be giving our children? Obama had a chance, but he didn’t deliver. We offer real reforms and help to all Americans. Romney is a proven job creator. We will reapply founding principles.
10:28: What could you bring to office that no one else could? Ryan: We need people who do what they said they would. Biden: Look at my record, it’s all been about the middle class.
10:27: Biden: “He voted to put two wars on the credit card.”
10:21: Final question, military member embarrassed by election’s tone. Response? Biden: This military hero is not among “47 percent.” Ask that hero which candidate had “conviction to lift middle class.” Whether President Obama has acted wisely to protect American interests. Ryan: I thank him for service. We wouldn’t make military cuts. Look at string of broken promises. “We can’t keep spending and borrowing.”
10:20: Ryan: “We don’t think unelected officials should make these decisions.” Biden: “The next president will get one or two Supreme Court judges.” Roe v. Wade is dangerously close to being overturned.
10:15: Question about how religious beliefs influence feelings about abortion. Ryan: Can’t separate faith from beliefs. He’s a Roman Catholic. Recounting story about seeing ultrasound of daughter. Life begins at conception. Policy will be to oppose abortion except for in cases of rape, incest or threats to life of mother. Democrats support abortion in any case with public funding. Biden: Also a practicing Catholic and feels must take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. Accept church’s belief that life begins at conception, but he wouldn’t impose his beliefs on others.
10:10 p.m.: Surprise: Only 5 percent of the Forbes.com audience does not favor extending the Bush tax cuts.
10:07: NPR online poll finds 89 percent say debate is “living up to their expectations.” Looking forward to seeing polls on who’s winning. It feels like Biden, but my opinion of a draw in the first presidential debate was out of the mainstream.
10:04: Biden: “The surge will be out by the end of the summer. … That’s what the military said.” It takes months to draw down forces. Ryan: U.S. drew down troops during “fighting season,” when warmer weather allows Taliban fighters to come from Pakistan.
10:04: Viewer, Fox News: The moderator is another democrat. How in the world we can made up our minds and decide. This is very important decision for us. They should put Big Bird as a moderator.
10:01 p.m.: From Reuters:
9:58: Afghanistan is now the topic. Ryan: “What we don’t want to do is lose the gains we’ve gotten.” Need to keep working toward 2014 transition. Need to make sure Afghanistan not allowed to be “launching pad for terrorism.” Biden: Purpose of going into Afghanistan was to hit terrorists and bin Laden, missions done. Also trained Afghans to do own defense. “We are leaving in 2014, period.”
9:55: Viewer, Fox News: Why is Biden, like most Democrats, allowed to be so rude in interrrupting his opponent? The Democrats can only win by not allowing others to speak. Did Democrats mothers never teach them that it isn’t polite to interrupt when someone else is speaking?
9:53: Biden: “Let tax loopholes expire when they’re supposed to for millionaires.”
9:51: Biden: “You think these guys are going to cut the loopholes?” Says Romney benefits from the loopholes. Only way to close would be to cut mortgage deduction. Ryan: “Wrong about that.” Biden: “The Republican Congress working bipartisanly? With a 7 percent approval rating?”
9:49: Moderator: Why no specifics? Ryan: We’ll lower tax rates 20 percent in bipartisan effort, close loopholes. Moderator: “You’ll guarantee the math will add up?” Ryan: “Absolutely.”
9:45: Taxes — Biden: Middle class will pay less, those making over $1M will pay slightly more. Ryan: If everyone paid twice taxes, federal budget still run deficit. Tax reform necessary. We’d close loopholes for primarily highest incomes.
9:44: Frank James, NPR: The back and forth and interruptions are making this feel like an argument over the Thanksgiving dinner table or in the dorm room. It’s the way people debate politics. People are accustomed to that.
9:43: Biden: “These guys haven’t been big on Social Security from the beginning.” Ryan: If you don’t have a record to run on, you try to get voters to run from opponent.
9:42: Ryan: ‘Let younger Americans have a choice of letting their money grow faster in the Social Security system.’
9:41: Why not raise eligibility two years? Biden: Voucher program will not keep up with rising costs of medical care.
9:39: Talking over each other now. Ryan saying his plan was built by bipartisan effort, Biden saying Democrats have disavowed.
9:36: Biden compares Ryan to Sarah Palin. “Every debate I hear about these panels.” Adds, “We will not privatize Social Security.” Imagine where today’s seniors would be if money invested in stock market before 2008 crash.
9:35: Question about Medicare and Social Security. Ryan says his family has benefited from programs. We owe retirees these benefits. Obamacare will take money from seniors. A mysterious panel will make decisions.
9:34: Ryan: “Was it a good idea to spend all that money on electric cars in Finland?”
9:33: Biden: Ryan sent two letters asking for stimulus money in Wisconsin. “It will create growth and jobs, his words!”
9:32: Ryan: We’ll create 12 million jobs in 4 years, 4 percent growth.
9:31: Biden: “These guys are so seized with the debt that they created.”
9:30: Biden says Romney said of GM, “Let it go bankrupt.” “Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something.”
9:28: Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett: Foreign policy! Joe Biden is a lot more comfortable than Paul Ryan. Biden’s answers on Iran have been very, very strong. Tough, steeped in facts. Ryan is trying to keep up and make some points, but he looks a little lost. It’s like Paul Ryan just passed his Spanish language AP exam, and Joe Biden grew up bilingual. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/a-former-obama-speechwriter-liveblogs-the-vp-debate/263505/
9:26: Ryan: Unemployment rate in Scranton 10 percent, was 8.5 percent in 2008. “We’re going in the wrong direction. … This is not what a real recovery looks like.”
9:23: Joblessness has dropped. Is it possible to get under 6 percent? Biden recapping economic problems inherited by Obama. First mention of “47 percent” — “These people are my mom and dad … senior citizens, veterans, people fighting in Afghanistan right now.”
9:21: Ryan: Iran “the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism.” Biden: Iran being “crippled” by sanctions. “Big nations can’t bluff.”
9:20: The moderator is doing a great job of keeping the debaters on topic. Also, those are two blue-eyed men. Wow. Ryan has studied the Romney half-smirk.
9:19: Frank Ryan, NPR: Ryan continues to try to draw the contrast. One thing that’s problematic is that he says: “Let’s look at things from the ayatollah’s perspective.” Americans don’t do well putting themselves in the heads of ayatollahs.
9:18: Ryan: Ayatollahs see Obama trying to water down sanctions, going on daily talk show rather than talking to U.N. officials.
9:13: On Iran: Ryan say Iran “brazen,” moving faster toward nuclear weapon because U.S. has watered down sanctions. Romney administration would have credibility. Biden: “Most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions. … do you want to go to war?” Ryan: “We want to prevent war.” Biden: Iranians “good way away from having a nuclear weapon.”
9:12: Should U.S. apologize for burning Korans and urinating on corpses? Ryan: “Yes, we should apologize for that … we should not apologize for our values.”
9:11: Forbes.com says 63 percent of respondents expect Ryan to win debate. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2012/10/11/vice-presidential-debate-2012-live-blog/
9:09: Biden: Ryan’s statement “a bunch of malarky.” Obama has lived up to “every promise. … These guys bet against America all the time.”
9:06: Ryan says Obama slow to recognize Libyian attack as terrorist act. “What we are witnessing is unraveling of Obama foreign policy.”
9:02 p.m.: First question about Libya. Biden: “The president has led with clear vision.”
9:02 p.m.: Introductions under way — Ryan’s flagpin is at least 30 percent bigger than Biden’s. Or, as I expect Fox News to report, game over.
9:00 p.m.: It’s on like Donkey Kong.
8:59 p.m.: I have five blogs open. Let the experiment begin!
8:45 p.m.: I am trying to decide how I feel about these candidates with the idea that either could become president. Ryan strikes me as dishonest, Biden as screwy. But I haven’t seen either speak in years so I am probably buying into their late-night characterizations.
8:30ish, Oct. 11, 2012: I am going to try to liveblog tonight’s VP debate while also watching live reaction from the right and left. I am going to be interested to see if I can keep track of everything that is going on while also tracking the debate.
One thing I have already learned — Paul Ryan’s team has negotiated with the debate officials so that the moderator will address him as “Mr. Ryan” rather than “Congressman Ryan.” Apparently he does not to be associated with Congress.
Politico‘s report has been updated to say the moderator, Martha Raddatz, is supposed to call Ryan “mister,” not “congressman,” though Biden is apparently free to call him whatever he wants. The larger point — Ryan seems a little embarrassed about where he works — stands, but it’s an important clarification. http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/
Meanwhile, Fox News is suggesting Joe Biden is a loose cannon:
As he hits the stage tonight, Biden will be the beneficiary of very low expectations. His gaffe-filed tenure and over-the-top style have made him something of a political curiosity. Obama has frequently reinforced the notion of his number two being comic relief, famously calling him “Sheriff Joe.” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/11/low-expectations-high-pressure-for-biden-in-debate/#ixzz292a3mh47
Fox News is reporting that moderator ABC News’ Martha Raddatz had Obama at her wedding. Or she was at theirs. One or the other.
By the way, nine vice presidents have become president unexpectedly due to the death of eight presidents and the resignation of one. Five others were elected president after their stints as VP. So the job isn’t just official representative at state funerals.