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Clash of the VP Candidates


Did Vice President Joe Biden hurt his strong debate performance with his smirking, laughing and sarcastic comments? The Obama administration attempts to move past the president's dismal debate with a fiery Biden.

In the Thursday’s vice presidential debate for the 2012 election, Vice President Joe Biden came off strongly — perhaps too much so — to make up for President Barack Obama’s dismal debate performance from last week.

Throughout the debate, both vice presidential candidates were outspoken, interrupting and talking over each other and getting in a number of zingers.

After Republican candidate Mitt Romney steamrolled over Obama and handily won the first presidential debate, Biden turned feisty in his own debate with Paul Ryan. However, Biden’s laughing and aggressive behavior has caused mixed reactions with some viewing him as confident and others calling him condescending.

Although Biden was often sarcastic, called Ryan’s statements “malarkey” and even outright laughed during his opponent’s arguments, a CBS poll showed Biden the clear winner among undecided voters. Half of respondents said Biden won; while 31% chose Ryan and 19% put them at a tie. And yet, a CNN poll reported that Ryan beat Biden 48% to 44%.

Vice presidential debates rarely have much effect on voters, as proven by the latest on InTrade. During and right after the VP debate, Obama’s stock rallied; however, that gain faded again in just a few hours.

Image taken from Business Insider.

In the aftermath of the debate, Republicans pounced on the vice president’s performance, with Fox News calling him “disrespectful.” Fox reported that although Biden was aggressive in taking on Ryan, “Biden’s smile may have stolen some of his thunder.”

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, a Fox News contributor, said he thought Biden delivered a strong performance overall, but it was “diminished" by the "smirking."

Twitter was full of the media’s response to Biden’s laughing tactic. NBC News’ David Gregory tweeting, “Biden’s smile is out of control.”

And TIME’s Michael Scherer joked: “Not sure debate cameras have been light tested for Biden’s teeth. Best to watch with sunglasses.”

On the topic of Medicare, Biden and Ryan took on the Romney-Ryan plan for the program, which would offer seniors a predefined amount of money to spend in a health insurance exchange. Biden accused the proposed plan of increasing costs for seniors.

Turns out there aren’t actually any current studies, according to fact checking by CBS News. The only studies conducted were on Ryan’s earlier 2012 plan that increased out-of-pocket costs by $6,400, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And the Journal of the American Medical Association reported Ryan’s 2013 plan would cost the average senior $800 a year. But there is nothing as of yet about the Romney-Ryan plan.

For the most part Ryan remained cool and collected in the face of Biden’s outright laughter. In defense of Romney’s 47% comments — something Obama didn’t bring up at all in last week’s debate — Ryan got one in on the vice president.

“I think the VP very well knows the words sometimes don’t come out of your mouth the right way,” Ryan said.

However, one area where Ryan really seemed to falter was taxes, where he wouldn’t give any specifics about Romney’s plan, which Biden called him out on:

“Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it?” the vice president interrupted.

Even if the vice presidential debate doesn’t sway voters, it has, at the very least, set up momentum for the next presidential debate and the final stretch going into the election.

Read more:

Biden Accused of Being Disrespectful in Vice Presidential Debate with Grins, Laughs — Fox News

Biden Comes Out Swinging at Debate, Clashes with Ryan — Reuters

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan Went Head-to-Head in the Vice Presidential DebateBusiness Insider

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