VP Debate Analysis: Facts Matter!

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to DNC2012 (Photo: John Christian Hansen)

From where I sit Vice President Joe Biden won the debate last night. I’m sure my Republican friends will disagree. To that all I can say is, FACTS MATTER!

It was a bit painful to watch Ryan try to match Joe Biden’s facts with outright lies. As Biden told Ryan a couple of times last night, his statements were “MALARKEY.”


BIDEN: Let me tell you what the ayatollah sees.

RYAN: You have to have credibility.

BIDEN: The ayatollah sees his economy being crippled. The ayatollah sees that there are 50 percent fewer exports of oil. He sees the currency going into the tank. He sees the economy going into freefall. And he sees the world for the first time totally united in opposition to him getting a nuclear weapon.

Now, with regard to Bibi, who’s been my friend 39 years, the president has met with Bibi a dozen times. He’s spoken to Bibi Netanyahu as much as he’s spoken to anybody. The idea that we’re not — I was in a, just before he went to the U.N., I was in a conference call with the — with the president, with him talking to Bibi for well over an hour, in — in — in stark relief and detail of what was going on.

This is a bunch of stuff. Look, here’s the deal.

RADDATZ: What does that mean, a bunch of stuff?

BIDEN: Well, it means it’s simply inaccurate.

RYAN: It’s Irish.

BIDEN: It — it is.


We Irish call it malarkey.


Regarding Iran and it’s nuclear weapons program…

BIDEN: Oh, I didn’t say — no, I’m not saying that. But facts matter, Martha. You’re a foreign policy expert. Facts matter. All this loose talk about them, “All they have to do is get to enrich uranium in a certain amount and they have a weapon,” not true. Not true.


BIDEN: All this talk, we saved a million jobs.  200,000 people are working today, and I’ve never met two guys who are more down on America across the board.  We’re told everything’s going bad. There are 5.2 million new jobs, private sector jobs.  We need more but 5.2 million, but if they would get out of the way, if they’d get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent.  If they’d get out of the way and pass the jobs bill.  If they’d get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside down but they never missed a mortgage payment, just get out of the way.  Stop talking about how you care about people.  Show me something.  Show me a policy.  Show me a policy where you take responsibility.

When asked about struggling Americans, Ryan brought up an anecdote about a couple he and Governor Romney met in Massachusetts.

The couple were in a car crash that left two of their sons paralyzed and Romney told the couple don’t worry about college for those boys, he’ll pay for it.

There was some criticism on Twitter following that anecdote because in 1972, Vice President Biden lost his wife and baby daughter in a car accident. His sons were also in the car, but were spared.

BIDEN:  I don’t doubt [Governor Romney’s] personal generosity, and I know what its like. When I was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident. [It] killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived. The one thing you can give people is solace to know that if you’ve been through it, they can make it.


BIDEN: These — look, these guys haven’t been big on Medicare from the beginning. Their party’s not been big on Medicare from the beginning. And they’ve always been about Social Security as little as you can do.

Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this — a man who introduced a bill that would raise it 40 — $6,400 a year; knowing it and passing it, and Romney saying he’d sign it, or me and the president?


Here are just some of the dozens of Fact Check Moments from the debate.

Health Care:

  • FACT CHECK: President Obama Is Expanding Access To Contraception, Protecting Religious Liberty: Contrary to what Congressman Ryan said tonight, President Obama was able to expand women’s access to contraception while protecting religious liberty by exempting churches and religiously-affiliated organizations from paying for contraceptive coverage. Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan, on the other hand, would put women’s health care decisions in the hands of their employers. And Congressman Ryan has repeatedly stood with Todd Akin and extreme Republicans in Congress to restrict women’s access to contraception. http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-president-obama-is-expanding-access-to-contraception-protecting
  • FACT CHECK: Romney-Ryan Too Extreme on Women’s Health : As Congressman Ryan highlighted tonight, he and Mitt Romney are too extreme on the critical issue of women’s health. In the House, Ryan worked with Todd Akin to narrow the definition of rape and outlaw abortion for rape and incest victims. And Romney-Ryan believe women’s health care decisions should be put into the hands of their employers, would defund Planned Parenthood, and endorsed the Republican Party platform that includes a constitutional amendment to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
  • FACT CHECK: Obamacare Allows People To Keep Their Insurance Plans: Congressman Ryan just claimed that 20 million people will lose their employer-based coverage under Obamacare. That’s just not true, and independent fact checkers have said so. The truth is that Obamacare allows people to keep the coverage they have if they like it and incentivizes employer-based coverage. Romney and Ryan aren’t telling the truth about Obamacare because they don’t want the American people to know the devastating impact of what they’d do if elected – they’d allow insurance companies to discriminate against 89 million Americans who have had gaps in coverage if they have a pre-existing condition. http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-obamacare-allows-people-to-keep-their-insurance-plans

Foreign Policy:

  • FACT CHECK: Romney-Ryan Have No Plan – Only Bluster – When It Comes To Syria: Questioned on Syria, Congressman Ryan proved again that he simply cannot articulate what Mitt Romney would do as president. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have failed to articulate anything they would do differently than the Obama administration. If Romney and Ryan want to arm the Syrian opposition directly, they should say that and be clear with the American people.  Romney and Ryan’s bluster aside, President Obama has been clear that Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy and must go. The Obama Administration is working with our partners in the region to end the violence, strengthen the opposition, and support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-romney-ryan-have-no-plan-only-bluster-when-it-comes-to-syria
  • FACT CHECK: Ryan Didn’t Tell The Truth About Romney’s Military Spending Increases: Struggling to cope with detailed questions about Mitt Romney’s policies, Congressman Ryan just denied that the Romney-Ryan ticket is proposing an increase in defense spending. He’s not telling the truth – Mitt Romney has repeatedly proposed increasing our defense spending by $2 trillion. But what Romney or Ryan aren’t saying is that we can’t afford the $2 trillion more they’re committing to spend and that the Pentagon’s not even asking for.
  • FACT CHECK: President Obama Put in Place Crippling Sanctions on Iran: Tonight, Congressman Ryan misrepresented the Obama administration’s Iran policy. It was President Obama who put in place “crippling sanctions” on Iran that are working to bring its economy to its knees and just this week, Mitt Romney admitted they are working. Romney and Ryan have struggled to articulate what they’d do differently regarding Iran – except blustering about recklessly taking us to war. http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-president-obama-put-in-place-crippling-sanctions-on-iran
  • FACT CHECK: The Romney-Ryan Plan Could Slash Funding for Diplomatic Security: While Paul Ryan has been perfectly willing to politicize the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, he has failed to note that the Romney-Ryan budget would require deep cuts to the State Department budget – and could slash funding for diplomatic security, construction and maintenance by $300 million at U.S. embassies around the world. In fact, Congressman Ryan and House Republicans have pushed for deep cuts affecting diplomatic security for years. http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-the-romney-ryan-plan-could-slash-funding-for-diplomatic-security


  • FACT CHECK: Romney Would Raise Taxes On Middle Class Families To Pay For Tax Cuts For The Wealthy: Congressman Ryan tonight said Mitt Romney wouldn’t raise taxes on middle class families, but we know that’s not true. As independent, non-partisan analysts have highlighted, to pay for his plan, Mitt Romney would have to cut popular tax deductions that middle class families rely on, like the mortgage interest and charitable deductions, to pay for $250,000 tax cuts to multi-millionaires and billionaires. Paying for Romney’s tax cuts means the average middle class family with kids would see their taxes go up by $2,000 a year.
  • FACT CHECK: Romney’s 5 Point Plan Would Not Create Jobs: In tonight’s debate, Congressman Ryan cited Mitt Romney’s 5-point economic plan and said that it would help create jobs.  He wasn’t telling the truth. Independent economists have said that Romney’s plans could slow the economic recovery and eliminate jobs, and that his tax plan doesn’t add up.  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan:  to return to the policies that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class.
  • FACT CHECK: Ryan Requested Stimulus Funds for His District While Congressman Ryan attacked the Recovery Act tonight, he apparently forgot to check his own record. As Congressman, he understood that the Recovery Act was helping to create jobs and sent letters to federal agencies asking for Recovery Act dollars to help create jobs in his district.

Social Security:

  • FACT CHECK: President Obama Will Protect Social Security, Romney-Ryan Have Supported Privatization: Congressman Ryan and Mitt Romney have zero credibility when it comes to Social Security. The truth is that President Obama has called for both sides to come to the table to strengthen Social Security as part of a balanced plan, while Romney has supported privatization. And as Martha Raddatz pointed out,  Congressman Ryan has supported privatization of the program in the past and was the architect of a plan that even the Bush administration called “irresponsible.” http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-president-obama-will-protect-social-security-romney-ryan-have-su


  • FACT CHECK: President Obama’s Medicare Savings Were Included In The Ryan Budget That Romney Promised To Sign Congressman Ryan just attacked President Obama for “cutting” $716 billion from Medicare, which independent fact checkers have confirmed repeatedly is just not true. And Ryan should know – while assuming the complete repeal of Obamacare in his own budget, there was one thing he did leave in – the very same savings from rooting out waste, fraud, and excessive insurance company subsidies he’s now attacking.

Romney is no “car guy”

  • FACT CHECK: Mitt Romney’s No “Car Guy” Mitt Romney’s no “car guy” – when the American auto industry and the million jobs it supports were on the brink, he would have just “let Detroit go bankrupt.” And he didn’t just write it in an op-ed, he repeated it personally many times. President Obama bet on the American worker, saving over a million jobs and helping make all three Detroit automakers profitable for the first time in seven years. http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/fact-check-mitt-romneys-no-car-guy

Time and time again, Vice President Biden showed that experience trumps youthful confidence every time.

Below are some of the reviews of last nights debate performances.

George Stephanopoulos: “Over the course of the debate, more of the issues fell in Biden’s corner, he was able to take control of more of the debate.”

Chuck Todd: “If you were scoring as a debate coach, you’d say, ‘boy, the guy who controlled that debate was Joe Biden.”

Mark Shields: “I just thought he really kind of hung Ryan out to dry on the no details of the tax plan. I mean, that really was exposed.”

Mike Allen: “This also is a reminder that the promise of the Paul Ryan pick was supposed to be that they were going to tell the American people hard truths, this was a sign that they were getting us ready for an adult conversation. Well, we haven’t had one hard truth said to us since and I don’t remember Paul Ryan giving us a hard truth tonight.”

Governor Martin O’Malley: “People said ‘oh he laughed too much’, but it is laughable that we would be 28 days out from this election and they still haven’t told us how they’re going to do this wonderful plan that all the details are behind door number three. That stuff is laughable. You can’t cut by 20% taxes for millionaires and billionaires, corporations by 30% and not have to pay for it somehow.”

Jim Vandehei: “There was an enormous gap, it seemed, in substance and specificity, the gap between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan when it came to everything from what’s happening in Afghanistan to the Middle East to the defense budget to taxes. On every single one of those, it’s like Biden came ready to brawl, he came ready to brawl with lots of nitty gritty details.”

John Harris: “It seems to me…the consensus back here in our newsroom is that [Ryan] did at best a passable performance…He really didn’t do anything positive to help his own reputation or help the case of his ticket.”

Lois Romano: “You know, I think [Ryan] had a missed opportunity on his own budget. You know, it’s his own budget, his own numbers. I feel like Biden got the best of him on it.”

Sam Youngman:  “I tend to agree with Jonathan, I saw a very long pause from Congressman Ryan when the discussion turned to abortion. I don’t think he was probably prepared to discuss that.”

Wolf Blitzer: “Congressman Ryan’s low point happened near the end of the debate around 10:20 eastern when he was asked about abortion.”

Jonathan Chait: “I predicted that Paul Ryan would wipe the floor with Joe Biden. That did not so much happen. Ryan did not perform quite as well as I expected – he seemed greener, younger, and he visibly gulped when challenged. But Biden delivered a revelatory performance that proved me utterly wrong.”

Buzzfeed: “After effectively vanishing from the national stage, Ryan re-emerged Thursday not as the intellectual leader of the right, but as passable debater with a slightly crooked necktie.”

Reuters:  “While Ryan tried to depict the Obama administration as projecting weakness, Biden hit back hard with repeated questions on details of Romney’s foreign policy plan, which Ryan was hard put to answer.”

Fox focus group participant: “I found that the Vice President’s position on foreign policy was stronger than Paul Ryan’s. I really thought  he scored some pretty good points there.”

National Review’s Robert Costa: “It wasn’t a knockout performance [for Ryan].”

  5 comments for “VP Debate Analysis: Facts Matter!

  1. October 12, 2012 at 10:47 am

    On The Economy:

    5,200,000 new jobs created over the last 2 ½ years = an average of 173,333 new jobs per month.

    173,333 jobs created per month:
    403,000 jobs need to be created per month:

    “For August 2012, those not counted in the labor force but report they actually want and need a job increased by 403,000 in a month. That, folks, should have you horrified. Literally we have desperate and destitute people falling through the statistical crevasse, into the abyss where they can only shout out from the numerical darkness, yes I want a job!”


    • October 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

      This reminder to our commenters; keep your comments germaine to the post or they will be deleted.

  2. junior
    October 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

    “A snap CNN-ORC International poll showed voters who watched Thursday’s debate narrowly favored Ryan over Biden by 48%-44%”


  3. October 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm


  4. cook
    October 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Facts don’t matter in these debates. It is just another dose of really TV.

Comments are closed.