Reaction to the Vice Presidential Debate

The vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was one of the best debates I can remember. It was a great service to all Americans.

Biden had the primary goal of firing up Democrats after President Obama’s lackluster performance last week. He did that and more. He literally responded to every single assertion of Ryan’s and didn’t let a single thing go unchallenged. Democrats have to be very happy.

Biden was especially strong on foreign policy but one of his best moments was taking Ryan to task for criticizing the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package while at the same time asking for stimulus funds for his own congressional district.

Ryan’s goal was to build on Romney’s strong performance last week and continue to reassure undecided voters. In the end, however, he found his toughest opponent wasn’t Biden, it was his own record and the Romney campaign platform. He had trouble playing defense under Biden’s withering attacks. Ryan was exceptionally weak on the proposed Romney tax plan — “not mathematically possible”, according to Biden — while once again refusing to give specifics.

In terms of style, Ryan didn’t take kindly to being interrupted. It was almost as if Biden was coached to interrupt him.

Biden was more prepared, more experienced and the clear winner.

Finally, Martha Raddatz was a wonderfully effective moderator. She continuously pushed for specifics and forced followups to nonsense. She should be commended by both campaigns.

Brown-Warren Pact Unravels

Independent political groups are finding ways around the pledge by Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) to keep outside money out of their hard-fought U.S. Senate campaign, Bloomberg reports.

“The League of Conservation Voters, Americans for Tax Reform and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies have spent more than $1 million on robo-calls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing in the last three weeks trying to influence what political strategists say is a pivotal race in the fight for control of the chamber.”

Latest Swing State Polls

Here are the latest polls from the battleground states:

Colorado: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac)

Florida: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)

Florida: Romney 51%, Obama 44% (Mason-Dixon)

Michigan: Obama 49%, Romney 42% (Detroit News)

Michigan: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Gravis)

Nevada: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Suffolk)

Nevada: Obama 51%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)

North Carolina: Romney 51%, Obama 47% (Rasmussen)

Ohio: Obama 51%, Romney 45% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)

Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 47% (Rasmussen)

Ohio: Romney 46%, Obama 45% (Gravis)

Pennsylvania: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Virginia: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)

Virginia: Obama 51%, Romney 46% (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac)

Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac)

Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (Pulse Opinion Research)

King Violated Debate Rules

When Rep. Steve King (R) debated Christie Vilsack (D) earlier this week video footage shows he brought notes with him, Politico reports.

“In footage of the debate (at about 9:30) King opens his hand and there are handwritten notes on it. The debate rules said neither candidate was allowed to bring notes.”

Ryan Wants to be Called “Mister” Not “Congressman”

When Paul Ryan and Joe Biden face off at their debate tonight, “the form of address the vice president is supposed to use with his opponent is “mister” instead of “congressman,”Politico reports.

“The form of address is part of the detailed memorandum of understanding between the two camps, according to the sources familiar with the document. Such MOUs detail specifics ranging from how footage of the debates can be used to podium placement, and so forth.”

Tester Trails in Montana

A new Montana State University poll shows Denny Rehberg (R) just ahead of Sen. Jon Tester (D) by three points, 43% to 40%, with Libertarian Dan Cox way back at 6%.

Why is Obama Over Performing in Ohio?

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin tells Greg Sargent that his polling shows that views of Mitt Romney are more fixed in the battleground states than nationally.

Said Garin: “In the swing states, voters are much more apt and able to quote back the main case against Romney… All the swing state advertising has had a measurable and lasting impact.”

Romney Says Nobody Dies for Lack of Health Insurance

Mitt Romney, who has pledged to repeal Obamacare, told the Columbus Dispatch that people without health insurance don’t have to worry about dying as a result.

Said Romney: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”

However, Reuters reported earlier this year that more than 26,000 working-age adults die prematurely in the United States each year because they lack health insurance.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“You ever see me rope-a-dope?”

— Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by Huffington Post, on tonight’s vice presidential debate.

Are You a Dual Screener?

A new Pew Research survey finds that 11% of those who watched last week’s presidential debate – including 22% of those younger than 40 – were “dual screeners,” following coverage on a computer or mobile device at the same time as following television coverage.

How Romney Can Win Without Ohio

Mark Halperin: “Here’s the most likely path for Romney, sans Ohio: He wins the McCain states, plus Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa — losing New Hampshire and Wisconsin, along with Ohio.”

“Obviously, that means winning six of the nine battleground states, many of which still show significant deficits for the challenger, who also does not boast the same long-built ground game machinery as the incumbent. This map makes two things clear: Romney’s debate performance hasn’t solved his Electoral College problem, and/but his route to 270 is so, so much harder if he can’t win Ohio.”

Are National or State Polls More Reliable?

Nate Silver looks at the fact that Mitt Romney is about tied — or perhaps even has a small lead — in the average of national polls right now while President Obama leads in the key swing states.

“There are some reasons to prefer national polls to state polls. First, they probably come from slightly stronger polling firms on average and they often have larger sample sizes, although there are exceptions on either side. Second, they’re more straightforward to interpret — especially if you want to derive an estimate of how the national popular vote will break down.”

“Our research suggests, however, that when the state polls and the national polls seem to tell a different story about the state of the campaign, the state polls sometimes (not always, by any means) get it right… One is just that there are more of them… So even if the typical state poll is slightly less accurate the typical national poll, the collective sum of state polls may be more worthwhile than the collective sum of national polls. Also, the state polls come from a more diverse set of polling firms, and may provide for a greater degree of independence.”

Romney Expects to Surprise with Ground Game

Mitt Romney’s campaign “is relying on ground-game and social-media strategies that aides believe have been underestimated,” Roll Call reports.

“Romney aides and GOP strategists familiar with the campaign’s social media outreach and voter turnout operation said they expect President Barack Obama’s effort on each front to be every bit as technologically advanced and effective as it was in 2008. The difference, Republicans contend, is the Romney campaign has built competitive get-out-the-vote and social media programs, eliminating 2008’s strategic deficit the GOP faced against Obama.”

Voters Most Battered by the Economy Still Favor Obama

In Reuters/Ipsos surveys conducted over nine months, “a startling 35% of households have suffered a major economic setback in the past four years. They have either lost a house to foreclosure or are in the middle of losing one. Or they have lost a job or taken a pay cut. Almost 96,000 adults were polled.”

“Strikingly, many don’t seem to blame the president. They divide about evenly on which candidate has the better plan for the economy: Forty percent pick Obama and 42 percent choose Romney.”

Getting Off the Mountaintop

Joe Klein: “When I asked several close Obama associates about the President’s reluctance to sell his policies, they admitted their frustration. They said he hates doing things that he considers transparently political. He hates the idea of inviting a bunch of pols over to the White House for a drink or a movie, because they’d see it as an obvious bribe…. He hates the notion of launching precooked zingers in debates. He hates debates, period, with their false air of portent and stage-managed aggression. These are in­convenient prejudices if you want to be re-elected…. Now that Mitt Romney has established himself as something other than an automaton, Barack Obama is going to have to come clean, descend from the mountaintop and make his best case for keeping the job.”

Voters Like Moderate Mitt Better

New York Times: “Inside Mitt Romney’s campaign headquarters over the past few days, the data pouring in was unmistakable. Aides scouring the results of focus groups and national polls found that undecided voters watching the presidential debate in Denver seemed startled when the Republican candidate portrayed all year by Democrats — the ultraconservative, unfeeling capitalist — did not materialize.”

“The voters, they discovered, consistently reserved their highest marks for moments when Mr. Romney sounded bipartisan and moderate, two themes he has long played down on the campaign trail but seemed to take pains to showcase this week with centrist-sounding statements on taxes, abortion and immigration.”

Washington Post: “What remains to be seen is which Romney will be judged as the real one by voters. Will they consider his flexibility disturbing evidence that he lacks principles or a reassuring signal that he would not govern as an ideologue?”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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