After a Biden dissertation on the economy, Ryan said: “Let’s not forget, they came with one-party control” before noting that the Obama plan has not fulfilled any of its promises. As Ryan discussed over 100 criminal investigations ongoing in the Energy Department, Biden interrupted him. Ryan was about one minute into his two-minute answer, and the loveliness on CNN’s scaled dipped sharply. Interruptions for their own sake do not seem to warm the undecided voter’s heart.
At about 32 minutes past the hour, Ryan pushed the CNN loveline meter up near its limit by noting that he favors Social Security and Medicare as programs that have helped his family but are now going bankrupt. ObamaCare, Ryan noted, has accelerated that bankruptcy and will create an unelected bureaucracy that will have as its mission the denial of care for the sick. Ryan tied the threat of ObamaCare both to current retirees and to the coming generation and the CNN meter went back up strong again. Biden responded that the $716 cut to Medicare forced by ObamaCare really is not a cut. The CNN meter flatlined. At about 37 past, Biden accused Ryan of “taking the full four minutes” for his answers. Ryan had spoken two full minutes less than Biden had by that point.
Biden consistently interrupted, shortening Ryan’s answers. Raddatz the alleged moderator let him. But allowing Biden may have been best for the Romney/Ryan goal: The more Biden talked, the worst he did on the CNN meter. Biden’s flashes of anger helped him but not much. Between the chuckling and the teeth flashes, Biden’s demeanor tended to be that of a brawler, not a leader.
Biden did his best when describing the tax cuts that should be made permanent. But as soon as he got partisan and accused Republicans of holding a “middle class tax cut hostage,” he dove on the CNN meter, especially with men. He then tossed out the proven untruth that Romney is proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. Obama campaign deputy manager Stephanie Cutter admitted on CNN this week that that number is not accurate. Yet the vice president used it anyway. When Ryan pointed out that the number is incorrect, Biden cackled in the background.
Raddatz asked Ryan about the specifics of the Romney tax plan, then interrupted him when he started to answer. Ryan eventually was allowed to say that they have a plan in principle but they want to work with Congress to craft and pass it. Raddatz snapped at Ryan, Biden begged to respond, Raddatz cut Ryan’s answer off to let Biden respond. Thus far Raddatz has been an awful and very one-sided “moderator.” At this point a tweet rolled by: “Biden is about as charming as psoriasis.” The debate became a two-on-one game according to another, with Raddatz the long-time Obama chum siding openly with Biden. Ryan, said one tweet, came off as calm and sure despite the barrage of chuckles and interruptions coming at him from two angles.