master debaters

What You Missed in the Vice-Presidential Debate

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) participate in the vice presidential debate as moderator Martha Raddatz looks on at Centre College October 11, 2012 in Danville, Kentucky.
Everybody talking at once at the V.P. debate. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Number of Times the Name “Romney” Was Mentioned: 54

Number of Times the Name “Obama” Was Mentioned: 30

Number of Times Joe Biden Said “Malarkey”: Three

Number of Times Biden Referred to Paul Ryan As “My Friend” or Ryan and Romney As “My Friends”: 15

Total Number of Times John McCain Said “My Friend” or “My Friends” in Three 2008 Debates: 29, or 9.67 per debate 

Best Gotcha Moment: Biden recalling the two letters that Paul Ryan wrote requesting stimulus funds for his district. “This was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, ‘The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs.’ His words.”

Nicest Thing Paul Ryan Said to Joe Biden: “Now, when it comes to our veterans, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for what they’ve done for us, including your son Beau.”

Nicest Thing Joe Biden Said to Paul Ryan: Called him my friend a lot, although we don’t think he meant it. 

Most Condescending Laughter: Joe Biden

Five Sassiest Lines:

  • They talk about this Great Recession as if it fell out of the sky, like, ‘Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?’” —Biden on Romney and Ryan.
  • “I may be mistaken. He changes his mind so often, I could be wrong.” —Biden, on whether Romney supports continuing the latest sanctions on Iran.
  • “Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but … ” —Ryan.
  • “I think the vice-president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.” —Ryan, defending Romney’s 47 percent remarks. 
  • “If he did such a great job [as governor], why isn’t he even contesting Massachusetts?” —Biden on Romney.

Sassiest Head Gyrations: Paul Ryan

Worst Explanation for Why the Recession Occurred: “It came from [Paul Ryan] voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.” —Biden.

Best Attempt to Explain Politics to Debate’s 5-year-old Viewers: “They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare.” —Ryan.

Pointiest Widow’s Peak: Paul Ryan

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Two Most Blatantly False Statements:

  • “People making a million dollars or more.” — Biden, on who would have to pay more taxes under Obama’s plan. In reality, Obama wants the Bush tax cuts repealed for individual income above $200,000 and family income above $250,000. 
  • “They see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and he, instead of meeting with him, goes on a — on a daily talk show.” —Ryan, on Obama. In reality, Obama was in the city on Monday and Tuesday, and Netanyahu was there Thursday and Friday. 

Most Dickish Moment: Biden sniping, “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” after Ryan claimed that JFK made the same kind of tax reforms that Romney is proposing.

Most Succinct Criticism of Opponent’s Platform: “Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad.” —Biden.

Most Self-Contradictory Position:
“We agree with the administration on their 2014 transition.” —Ryan, on withdrawing from Afghanistan.
“We don’t want to broadcast to our enemies ‘put a date on your calendar, wait us out, and then come back.’” —Ryan, criticizing Obama’s timeline for withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Most Unnecessary Promise From a Person in a Position As Powerless as the VP: “I’m not going to interfere with that.” —Biden, on abortion rights.

Most Confusing Assertion: “All this talk — we saved a million jobs. Two hundred thousand people are working today.” —Biden, on rescuing the auto industry

Least Lehrer-ian Moderating Moment: “I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we’ve gone over this quite enough.” —Raddatz, cutting off discussion on the stimulus. 

Least Accurate Analysis of the Unemployment Situation: “It’s 10 percent [in Biden’s hometown of Scranton]. You know what it was the day you guys came in — 8.5 percent. That’s how it’s going all around America.” —Ryan. As Biden pointed out, that’s actually not how it’s going all around America. The nationwide unemployment rate has been dropping. 

Most Redundant Phrase: “It was a pre-planned assault.” —Raddatz.

Statement Most Likely to Result in a Scolding From Running Mate: “Oh, gosh, yes.” —Ryan, on whether the United States should apologize for things like the Marines who urinated on Taliban corpses. Mitt Romney’s book is called No Apologies and he has spent the last three years criticizing President Obama for going on a fictional “apology tour.”

Top Three Euphemisms Biden Used for “You’re Lying”:

  • With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.”
  • “This is a bunch of stuff.”
  • “I wish he would just tell — be a little more candid.”

Winner: Martha Raddatz