Vice President Joe Biden gave the debate performance last night that a lot of Democrats were looking for out of President Obama. He was aggressive and pointed, let nothing go unquestioned, and used all of the attack lines and avenues that Obama left on the table. That Republicans are trying to use this aggression against him shows you that they have nothing much to say about their own candidate and need to search for excuses outside the debate. Blaming Martha Raddatz is another tell.
Biden’s revealing of two letters written by Paul Ryan requesting stimulus funds, after he not only voted against but constantly ran down the stimulus from the day it passed, was a good, clean hit that has already yielded follow-on support about Ryan’s budget hypocrisy.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a fiscal conservative and critic of federal handouts, has sought for his constituents in Wisconsin an expansion of food stamps, stimulus money, federally guaranteed business loans, grants to invest in green technology and money under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.
Such requests are at odds with Ryan’s public persona as a small-government advocate and tea party favorite who has pledged to tighten Washington’s belt.
Politically, that was a good way to defuse criticism of the “green pork” in the stimulus, since Ryan tried to help get the pork to his constituents’ tables.
Another point that stuck out was during the conversation on Medicare and Social Security, where Ryan had to defend his prior policies of turning the guaranteed Medicare benefit into a voucher program. Biden, after the usual recitation of facts and figures, decided to appeal to Americans’ shared history about social insurance programs to make the sale:
BIDEN: These — look, these guys haven’t been big on Medicare from