Compilation of analysis and reaction to last night’s Vice Presidential debate

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I tend to agree with Taegan Goddard here, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was one of the best debates in memory. It truly was a great service to all Americans.

Other reactions:

Allahpundit takes issue with Biden’s tone and tactics but thinks he did what he came there to do:

I expected “table-pounding atmospherics” from Biden but I didn’t expect him to act like a total jackhole for fully 90 minutes. Give him credit for knowing his target audience, though: His task tonight was to get the left excited again after Obama fell into a semi-coma in Denver, and evincing utter disdain for Ryan — grimacing, shouting, laughing inappropriately, constantly interrupting, the total jackhole experience — is just what the doctor ordered.

Matthew Dickinson is unsure whether Biden’s aggressiveness worked or not:

I have to think Joe’s over-the-top performance tonight is a conscious effort to compensate for the President’s comparatively more sedate performance.  And it is the role of the VP to play attack dog.  But is this too much?

John Fund: “Joe Biden’s biggest fault is that he doesn’t know when to stop talking. Tonight, he added to that another problem — he doesn’t know when to stop smirking.”

Elias Isquith thinks Biden was effective:

Biden does a good job of interjecting himself into Ryan’s time, usually to say a quick dart like “Not true” or “Nope” and the like. Ryan isn’t doing the same — I don’t know if it’s been decided that he’ll come off as presumptuous or disrespectful. The end-result: He’s been defending himself the entire night, both his arguments and the veracity of the factual statements that are cited to support them. Joe attacks, talks, chuckles, often goes a little too far. Ryan tries to respond and turn the attack into a reckless, cynical, and desperate gambit by a flailing Administration. It works sometimes, but — perhaps I’m a blinded partisan — I can’t help but avoid concluding that Biden has come right up to the precipice of calling Ryan a “liar” without paying the price. It’s a hard thing to do, but if you can do it to your opponent, it’s devastating.

Ed Kilgore prefers not to declare a winner:

Ryan will, as I predicted, get props for “holding his own” re foreign policy. He was also fluid and stuck to the Romney plan of making the ticket seem reasonable. Biden was up and down, but scored pretty well on Afghanistan, on defense spending, on abortion, and perhaps on Medicare. Kind of mixed on overall budget and economy; depends on what you know about the facts.

Ezra Klein fact-checks Ryan:

Paul Ryan began his comments on the economy by asking Biden if he knows where unemployment is today in Scranton, PA. Ten percent, Ryan said. When Obama and Biden came in to office, Ryan continued, it was 8.5 percent. “That’s how it’s going all around America,” Ryan said.That’s not actually true, The national unemployment rate is now 7.8 percent. In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, unemployment was 7.8 percent. In February 2009, Obama’s first full month in office, unemployment was over eight percent. So it’s simply not the case that a 1.5 percentage point increase in unemployment is “how it’s going all around America.”

Josh Marshall gives Biden high marks:

Biden made the whole Democratic argument — on policy and values and he hit Romney really everywhere Democrats wanted him to. He left nothing unsaid. You can agree with those points or not. But this was exceedingly important for recovering the damage from last week’s debate when many Obama supporters simply felt that Obama wasn’t willing or able or something to make the case Democrats around the country are hyped up to make. Why didn’t you say this? Why’d you let him get away with that? Biden said it all. And for Democrats around the country that was extremely important.

Peggy Noonan: “In terms of content–the seriousness and strength of one’s positions and the ability to argue for them–the debate was probably a draw, with both candidates having strong moments. But in terms of style, Mr. Biden was so childishly manipulative that it will be surprising if independents and undecideds liked what they saw.”

Ben Smith: “The Vice Presidential debate appears unlikely to have the effect on the presidential campaign that Barack Obama’s stumbles last week did, and the performances were far more even. Ryan held his own where Obama failed. But Biden’s performance gave Democrats hungry for energy, punch, and emotional connection what they needed to end a week that had veered at times near panic.”

Andrew Sprung fears that Biden overdid it:

While not looking at commentary, I was afraid that Biden would be laughed off the national stage. He shouted nonstop until his voice gave out; he grimaced far too much and failed to look at Ryan when confronting him (though I may have been misled in that by the C-Span split screen; when I switched to PBS he seemed more natural in this regard), he interrupted incessantly, and I thought he was often incoherent on domestic policy (though generally effective on foreign), failing to answer Ryan’s allegations systematically and jumbling a bunch of not-fully-articulated assertions together. Ryan, on the other hand, struck me as methodical, systematic, unruffled and precise — never mind that his characterizations of Obama administration policies — and Romney’s — were wildly misleading.

Dave Weigel likewise suspects that liberals will be fired up:

Reading this transcript is going to be like scanning a David Mamet play. Biden never gave up the momentum he won in the first five minutes — he seems physically unable to let Ryan finish an answer, interrupting him as if he’s livetweeting to correct every factoid he dislikes. Whether or not this Biden performance helps Obama, you could sell bootleg DVDs of it to Dems for $20.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.