WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Both sides should be energized from Veep debate

I have a confession to make.

I absolutely enjoyed Thursday night's Vice Presidential debate. (Not that these debates are SUPPOSED to be enjoyable; after all, potentially we're talking about life-and-death issues.)

Joe Biden was on his A game - albeit with the jocularity, sneers, and guffaws - and Paul Ryan showed his chops in a way that some past Vice Presidential candidates have not.

The flash polls following the debate are all over the map; let's wait for the dust to settle. Never has a Veep debate really influenced a Presidential race, but many observers believed the Vice President had to come out swinging to reverse the hemorrhaging from his boss' anemic performance. And Delaware's former U.S. senator did.


For what it's worth, here's what a CBS News flash poll of "uncommitted" voters found:

50% of uncommitted voters who watched the Veep debate thought Joe Biden won the debate.

31% think Paul Ryan won.

19% think the debate was a draw.

Among those uncommitted voters - voters who are either undecided or who side with a candidate, but insist they could STILL change their minds: 55% say Mr. Biden is someone they could relate to (up from 34% before the debate).

48% think Paul Ryan is relatable, up from 31% before the debate.

BOTH candidates gained ground on knowledge:

85% think Vice President Biden is knowledgeable about the issues.

But 75% also say that about Representative Ryan.

56% think Mr. Biden has the ability to be an effective President if that were to become necessary, up from 39% who said that before the debate.

49% say Congressman Ryan has the ability to be an effective President, up four points from before the debate.

These uncommitted voters are less likely than voters overall to identify with EITHER of the two major political parties:

58% call themselves independents; 17% identify as Republicans; while 25% are Democrats.

The poll's margin of error is 5 percentage points.

Interestingly, normally when you seat the candidates at a table, they're LESS likely to clash. Not so this time. This debate was one heated brawl. And so it should have been. America is seemingly more polarized.

My favorite zingers: Joe Biden to Paul Ryan: "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy" (Referencing Ryan's allusion to JFK's tax cuts)

Paul Ryan to Joe Biden: "As the Vice President knows... words don't always come out the right way." (A very predictable allusion to Mr. Biden's reputation for gaffes) Although the Vice President's quick comeback was good: "But I always say what I mean!"

Despite the generational difference, no Dan Quayle-like, deer-in-the-headlights moment for Representative Ryan.

But let's get to substance: Of course, you had factual stretches -- or worse.

The Vice President rightly said the Administration rescued General Motors. But then Mr. Biden quoted ex-Governor Romney as saying, "No, let Detroit go bankrupt". As POLITICO notes, that was the HEADLINE for a Romney Op-Ed in The NEW YORK TIMES. Mr. Romney himself never used those words.

The Vice President's repeated assertions about the United States leaving Afghanistan "by 2014, period". Not quite. A smaller contingent of U.S. troops would remain.

A similar thing with regard to U.S. troops leaving Iraq: The Vice President declared Mitt Romney wanted to keep 30-thousand U.S. troops in Iraq. But the Obama Administration ALSO wanted to keep troops there. But then negotiations with the Iraqi Government over granting U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts fell through.

(I appreciated that the moderator, Martha Raddatz, weaved in so many foreign policy questions.)

On balance, I think both sides had reason to cheer.

Note on the Catholic/abortion question: I've seen Joe Biden answer this sort of question before. He did so at a Senate debate I moderated. Last time, though, he got more into how disparate faith traditions vary in their interpretations of the beginning of full human life. At a Delaware debate, I recall Mr. Biden noting many Jews see the "quickening" as the start of a human life, not necessarily conception.

By the way, this question illustrated in stark relief how the spectrum of Catholic values does not align neatly with EITHER major political party, nor with any minor party. In a sense, Raddatz' question ignored the other life-and-death issues which can pose a quandary for Catholic politicians: Capital punishment, just war, economic and social justice.

Revealing: The Rupert Murdoch-owned, NEW YORK POST - a newspaper which editorially opposes the current Administration - nonetheless features a front page with this bold headline accompanying a photo of a smiling Joe Biden: "VOTE FOR JOE!" Sub-headline: "Smooth Biden shows Bam how to debate". Of course, that's a less than subtle slap at the President!

In that same NEW YORK POST, columnist Michael Goodwin delivered a scathing critique of Vice President Biden:

"Told ya so. President Obama should have pulled a Joe Girardi and benched Joe Biden long ago. Hillary Rodham Clinton would have knocked last night's debate out of the park and probably won the election for the Democrats.

Instead, Biden took the stage and made a fool of himself. The experience that supposedly qualifies him to be a heartbeat away is more than offset by the manic behavior he exhibited.

Following his mood swings was like riding a roller coaster. He was over-amped in the beginning and somber and melancholy toward the end. Did the medication kick in, or was it wearing off?..."

(To some extent, I agree the Vice President's facial expressions seemed overdone, almost cartoonish. Yet, I feel they served the purpose of potentially throwing Congressman Ryan off balance, and energizing the Democratic base. And on reflection, those "Biden-isms" weren't that different from the Joe we knew here in Delaware! That said, I was surprised by how often we saw the split-screen in this debate. It was almost as though the director of the TV broadcast knew ahead of time that Mr. Biden would be so animated. I completely disagree with Goodwin on another point: No way would Hillary Rodham Clinton have delivered a more effective attack than Joe Biden. I just don't believe it. Further, I think the Benghazi scandal is more likely to tarnish her 2016 ambitions. Back to Biden: To his critics who see him as smarmy and condescending, doubtless the Veep's performance will resurrect memories of his treatment of Supreme Court nominees Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork. I actually have an earlier memory of then-Senator Biden going over the top: In 1986, when he skewered then Secretary of State George Schultz over economic sanctions against South Africa.)

By someone who counted the times: Mr. Biden interrupted Mr. Ryan 82 times!

Read this analysis of the debate from POLITICO----


I thought Ronald Brownstein at NATIONAL JOURNAL offers some excellent insights about the debate...


Posted at 7:19am on October 12, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 8:18am
I was very offended by Ryan's smirk. He was the worse of the two. I can see Biden's frustration, as he put it, Ryan is insulting people like his mom, and dad, when he puts down in Ryan's case, the "30% of takers"...

In defense of Biden, if I was debating a Bozo the clown, I too would smile (I simply could not help it) when he said something absolutely untrue.

I absolutely cannot see Ryan on the world stage. He comes across as others have said, as someone who never grew up after High School..

I think the most damning thing he said, was that his own mom was on Medicare, and put herself through school on Federal Funded programs..... and we all know what Paul Ryan's original (before being a Presidential Candidate) Budget so hailed by Republicans, does to those very programs....

His "How can I cut a program that was so important to my family" will fall flat as the facts come out... that he did exactly that.."

Which brings up the question. Who can vote for a man who would throw his own mom off of Medicare? Or more importantly, who can vote for the man who would choose such a person as his replacement?

Facts matter, and the full extent of this debate will come out over the next few days, just like the full extent of Ryan's convention speech, too a week to hit the American Public.

That is how I see it panning out...

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Oct 12, 2012 9:04am
I listened to the debate both on Radio (WDEL) and TV KYW. On radio, Biden clearly won, on TV some of the facial expressions got old after a while, even though I understand what and why he was doing it.

I believe both men did well. I doubt this entertaining debate will change many voters' positions, but probably did energize each side. At least Biden didn't embarrass Delaware with any gaffes or goofy statements. He was on his A game last night. Now can President Obama deliver as strong a performance Tuesday against Mitt Romney?

For some reason at the end of the debate, WDEL cut away from CBS radio coverage and actually cut off the last couple sentences of Ryan's closing comments and aired about 7 minutes of spots when I finally turned off the radio (I then was going back and forth between the radio and TV and ended up going back to the TV in the living room to hear post-debate coverage from CBS on channel 3). Almost makes me think this was set up on the automated computer system and the debate ran longer than what was set up to run on the computer and kicked in all the spots that had been waiting to air during that 90 minutes.

Allan Loudell
Fri, Oct 12, 2012 9:28am
Mike from Delaware---

This is clearly tangential to the main subject of this post, but we checked the logger of our air & internet audio stream: WDEL did not cut away early; our overnight producer Jim Edwards came in with a brief mention after CBS Radio's cut-away; and we went straight to a football game in progress (Steelers vs. Titans) WITHOUT a spot break!

Allan Loudell

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 10:56am
Mike, from your statement I'm wondering if you were watching on one media, and listening on the other. Perhaps a time delay on the televised signal caused you to think the debate was cut away, simply because the visual still showed their jaws moving?

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Oct 12, 2012 11:03am
Maybe something went wrong with my server and thus cut off.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 12:52pm
"Facts matter, and the full extent of this debate will come out over the next few days..."

I sure hope that's true. VP Joe lied about quite a few things...like the Benghazi terror attack, Netanyahu & Obama's close relationship, our ability to know when Iran is nuke-ready. Sure, this administration was caught offguard by the Arab Spring, rise of the Muslim Brotherhood/alQueda in Northern Africa, and the attack on Benghazi (even after previous attacks on the compound and warnings from the ambassador which Joe denied ever happened)...but we are supposed to trust that these same people will know exactly when a secretive country like Iran is nuke-armed...yeah facts matter.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 2:01pm
Earl Grey> You are saying the Mossad is an ill-kempt force of Maxwell Smarts, who with only luck can fight themselves out of a paper bag? Of course we will know exactly when a weapon is being made... Are you silly? And Bibi and Biden have been good friends since the late 80's.... so what they know, we know.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 3:00pm
I will agree with you that the Mossad are amazing at what they do but don't think they will know exactly when Iran has "the bomb"...even if they do know and tell our leaders, what is this administration really going to do? Go back to the UN again? Actions speak louder than words and we have seen how this president treats Israel and Bibi.

Maxwell Smart was one of my favorite spies of all time...maybe he and Agent99 are in Iran right now fighting KAOS.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 3:09pm
Facts do indeed matter, on both sides.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 3:21pm
...and here are a few more untruths from VP Joe:


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 4:37pm
See, right there! Why do you have to do that? I provide a link to a non-partisan, fact-checking website that points out half-truths and lies from BOTH candidates. You immediately give a link to a conservative publication that only points out Biden's faults. If you like, I'm sure I could get you a link from Huffington or some other liberal publication that'll nit-pick every little thing Ryan said, too.

Why are you so focused on only what Biden said wrong? Aren't you at all interested in and concerned by Ryan's inaccuracies? Are you fact-checking Ryan as eagerly as you're fact-checking Joe? Or do you like Ryan, so you just brush-off his lies with "Well, they're not as bad as Biden's!"???


Mike from Delaware
Fri, Oct 12, 2012 5:13pm
Shawn: Thanks for the link. I just read that post. Very interesting info. Maybe what they should do is have these guys hooked-up to lie detectors with people there reading the data and when one of them lies, the person hits a bell to tell all that this person just told a whopper aka lie. There are some whoppers like saying 300 million vs. 260 million that isn't a big deal, sure they rounded it up (sounds worse), but then there are others that are flat-out lies. Thanks for the added info.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 10:29pm
Hey Shawn...chill out. I read your linked story and added one that I read earlier, but you're right in saying that neither candidate is perfect. Now breathe, and relax.

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 2:53am
Well actually I was pleased to have both put up so I could compare. We all know that Fact Checkers tries to be non partisan, and that Brietbart TRIES to slant the truth. So I was curious which items were on Brietbart, but not on Fact Checkers.

"that’s a bunch of malarkey....not a single thing he said is accurate." (Apparently three out of 20 were accurate.)

"Just let the taxes expire like they’re supposed to on those millionaires." (Biden was speaking of the top level, but Brietbart notes that the level begins at $250,000, which is $750,000 shy of a million.)

There were opposing views. Breitbart gave Biden a False when he said not one, not one Democrat supported Ryan's plan, as he boasted it was a bipartisan deal. Fact check says Biden was right. At one point, one Senator, Wyden from Oregon, tried working with Ryan, but that process fell thorough. Wyden has disassociated himself from Ryan. So where Biden says: not any more, that is true.

One thing this exercise did, was allow one to see that some truth is on both sides. Life is rarely cut and dried and rarely fits in very designated boundaries. Mostly it is a series of random events that only when looking back, can get classified into one book or another.

To cater to Allan's proclivity many things start as one thing, and end up another. And what we get are aficionados of either side, trying to determine if what is in a chrysalis, is either a caterpillar, or a butterfly. (It's really neither, but since we only have two parties, it has to be officially determined to be one or the other.

But upon reading the details, you can see how what comes out of both sides, was true at one point. Take Benghazi. Rick Jensen has been going ad nauseum two days and totally misses the obvious. The requests for additional security went halfway up the ladder, and were nixed there. Blaming Biden or Obama is a stretch, like blaming Allan Loudell for something I slipped and mispelled on his blog. Yes it is his blog, yes, Obama/Biden are head of the executive branch. So they are accountable; but they are not responsible.

As a business person, I sympathize with those middle managers who made the security-is-enough decision; all facts on the ground at that time, said it was. The Republican idea is this: that because there was a systemic failure giving a certain result, it had to be the top's fault. Rick's rants are hypocritical. Issa's should have had his bluff called like this: Ok, Issa, from where in my stretched budget, should I do without security, to move a detachment I do not have, to Benghazi, which already had more security than do most other consulates? Valid question. From which compound do you take away soldiers, to put them in Benghazi? The consulates in France, brought up by Ryan in the debate, are protected by Half of one person. (there are 6 protectors to guard 11 consulates. Do you take one from there, diminishing them further, just to put one in Benghazi? What if you do, and there is no attack, but in Nice, North Africans storm their embassey, say for the same movie. After seeing Cairo, I would not have expected Benghazi to need more. I would have boosted Tripoli.

When you run a company, you never have enough resources. Units call you, saying I can't run this short, we need more people. But you have no one to give. What Jensen and these people fail to see, is that the real problem was not lack of security, it was lack of imagination. With hindsight it is easy so say, the unit would get attacked on 9/11, But there are over 500 consulates and embassies across the globe, and 50% are probably in Muslim territory. Why was that the only one attacked?

Because it was a surprise. Why weren't fighters flying over Manhattan the morning before 9/11? Why wasn't the security tighter in Logan and Newark airports? Why did we not pick up that Arabs were interested in flying airplanes but not taking off and landing them? Because we had a failure of imagination. Someone out thought us, that is all, I happens every Sunday, 30 times a week, on the football field. Someone surprises someone.

So Republicans saying we did know security was light because men on the ground asked for it, and Democrats at the top saying, we did not know, that information, it never reached us, well, both could be right. It was the common sense decision made my Ms Lamb that solves the issue.

I elaborated this point because someone else just picked put the story 36 hours too late, calling Biden a liar, without reading the testimony, which clearly corroborates Biden's statement. Both are right, and the only way to ever get to the bottom of this, is to have a debate, and then fact check both sides.

Democracy is intact and thriving.

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 8:30am
Forgive my anger, Earl... I just get very tired of that sort of one-sidedness. I see it all over the internet, facebook, and on the radio with folks like Jensen, constanstly accusing the other side of things their own side is guilty of. Hypocrisy is my #1 pet peeve, and a good chunk of the reason I've never been registered to any political party. So when you posted an article from a conservative paper showing only Biden's gaffes, I took it as more of that.

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 10:14am
Shawn & Kavips: Only the Republicans are telling anything that even RESEMBLES the truth!

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Oct 13, 2012 10:26am
Mrpizza: Neither side is telling the whole truth. Both are saying and doing what they believe will rally their base and hopefully pull in the undecideds.

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 2:22pm
Mr Pizza. I could put my hands on my ears, close my eyes, and yell at the top of my lungs: Polar Bears eat M & M's too!... but my screaming it, doesn't make it so. No matter how much I yell, they will still eat meat.

I think all can see from the facts I and others have posted, that both sides can be picked apart to find mistruths.

But, some of those are innocents slips, and some are done on purpose. If one looks at the broad differences between the two parties, the overriding Democratic principal is to tell the truth. After all, they represent the people. What the people wish, they are responsible to make into law. They feel that if people (pure Jeffersonian) have all the facts, that they will make all the right decisions.

On the contrary, Republican principals hold that the elite must be protected. Their alliances stem back to the Royalists and they are the ones who try to protect the wealth of the status quo. When everyone is doing rather well, they tend to do rather well, because the status quo is worth protecting. They, however, can only succeed when they keep the truth away from the people.

Their biggest lie, is that all of you will get rich, if you just help us make a lot more money. They have to cover that up, because the truth is... if we vote for them, and money flows out of our pocket into theirs, we are going to become poorer.

That policy does not work. Therefore they have to sell that the same way a used car salesman has to sell a clunker to get the darn thing off his lot....

So when you put the pretext that both side's candidates will try to accent their positives and spin their negatives, then put those into two party structures, one which has to tell the economic truth to get elected and one which has to tell an economic lie to get elected, ... we see that your statement blaming the wrong party for telling the truth, is false.

The truth is, that electing Republicans who spend like no one will ever have to pay back their USA credit card, and who will never raise taxes to someday pay down the debt they create and we owe, can only make America weaker.

The real truth is, that since this recession there is a party out there that has out-Republicaned the Republican philosophy, and created successful programs to make America's businesses strong, the strongest it has ever been, and now, must raise the taxes upon those businesses, to build a stronger, long lasting America.

That truth, is undeniable, no matter what either candidate in the heat of the moment, lets slip past his lips......

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 9:38pm
"The real truth is, that since this recession there is a party out there that has out-Republicaned the Republican philosophy, and created successful programs to make America's businesses strong, the strongest it has ever been, and now, must raise the taxes upon those businesses, to build a stronger, long lasting America."

Sorry kavips...but if you truly believe that the "real truth" is that America's businesses are stronger than they have ever been, then you are in some serious denial. Maybe your business is doing well, but that is not the case for most businesses right now in our country.

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 9:42pm
...and everyone knows that Polar bears don't eat M&Ms, they're too busy drinking Coca-Cola ;)

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 10:38pm
EarlGrey: And they use Charmin bathroom tissue!

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 11:04am
Kavips: You want to talk about lies? Okay, I'll talk to you about lies. How about the Obama administration has been caught red-handed lying about the attack on our embassy in Libya? For weeks, they tried to blame it on some Youtube video about the prophet Mohammed when they knew all along it was because they didn't provide adequate security to our diplomats on the September 11th anniversary. Then when they got caught, they tried to blame the Republicans in Congress for allegedly cutting off funding. If this had happened on Bush's watch, the entire land mass of Syria would be nothing but bomb-craters full of rotting corpses. In fact, you can lay the entire blame for the first September 11th at the doorstep of Bill Clinton because he did nothing about the attacks on our embassies that took place on his watch. Fortunately, when 9-11-01 happened, Bush showed them who's in charge, which is why things remained relatively peaceful for the rest of his time in office.

Obama and his band of thugs have been exposed for the cowards they really are, and the American people are going to express their displeasure loud and clear on November 6th.

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