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Breaking down the vice presidential debate

The vice presidential debate was Thursday at Centre College in Danville, Ky., moderated by ABC's Martha Raddatz.

Joe Biden, 69

Elected vice president after 36 years in U.S. Senate. Married with two sons and a daughter.

Paul Ryan, 42

U.S. representative from Wisconsin since 1999. Married with a daughter and two sons.

Quote I
"These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period. Period. When Gov. Romney's asked about it, he said, 'We gotta keep these sanctions.' When he said, 'Well, you're talking about doing more,' what are you — you're going to go to war? Is that what you want to do?""Look, if we're hit by terrorists we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with arms?"
Quote II
"Just let the taxes expire like they're supposed to on those millionaires. We don't — we can't afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum of $1 million. They do not need it, Martha. Those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. Middle-class people need the help." Channelling former President Bill Clinton on Medicare: "If we don't fix this problem pretty soon then current seniors get cut. Here's the problem: 10,000 people are retiring every single day in America today and they will for 20 years. That's not a political thing, that's a math thing."
Quote III
Jumping on Ryan's attack of the stimulus program: "He sent me two letters saying, 'By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in Wisconsin?' ""A voucher is you go to your mailbox, get a check, and buy something. Nobody's proposing that. Barack Obama four years ago running for president said if you don't have any fresh ideas, use stale tactics to scare voters."
Best moment
He had a lot of strong moments, but we'll go with his early response to Ryan's charge that the administration had snubbed Israel. Asked to translate by the terrific moderator Martha Raddatz, he kept it clean and Irish: "Malarkey."He didn't deliver a singular best moment, but against an aggressive vice president with far more experience, Ryan came off as calm, deliberate and ready for the vice presidency.
Biggest misstep
No question Biden aggravated those who already find him insufferable and long-winded, but Biden had no real missteps.He seemed to drink a couple of gallons of water and gulp quite a bit as Biden spoke, but Ryan has no real gaffe or performance problem he has to explain.
Rating the performance
Yes, maybe the giant grins and verbosity were a little much, but Biden is Biden — a regular guy who loves combat. He dominated the debate and showed more energy in the first five minutes than Barack Obama did over 90 minutes last week. Democrats dispirited by Obama last week got a jolt from Joe.Overall, a perfectly fine showing. But the longer the discussion went on any given topic, the weaker Ryan looked. He is three decades younger than Biden and did not do much to narrow that maturity gap. More importantly, though, he held his own and probably fired up many Republicans.

Breaking down the vice presidential debate 10/11/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:20pm]
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