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All-Catholic VP debate livestream / viewing party / open thread.

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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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TANGENT: Can anybody refer me to some information on the net about making Adobe Flash work on an Apple machine? It seems that it doesn't work on Macs, and I miss out on a lot of cool stuff.

With a dumbell in his hand and a backwards baseball cap on, Ryan looks a bit like Gomer Pyle.

At least it wasn't a Shake Weight.

Ryan's flag is bigger.

Opening question: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

"Amazing biceps, Paul."

He only has one. That's why he's always photographed from the right.

Joe Biden is looking like a question-dodger.

So far they both seem to be tripping over their memorized sound bites in the process of making them fit the point they actually need to make.

I feel in slightly better hands with this moderator than that other one. So far.

Those are some giant water glasses from the future.

"Malarkey" and "my friend" in one answer. That's what good about Joe.

Ann, I have a mac too and the debate video is working for me here ...

This was a totally predictable line of questioning, and Biden seems underprepared.

Ryan says embassy left unprotected.Biden zings back: Ryan's budget cut $300 from support budget.

Biden zings: Unlike usual bipartisan support in time of crisis, Romney faulted Obama.

I think the way to regain America's confidence in your ticket's brain power (or foreign policy) is not to say "With all due respect, that's a bunch of mullarkey."

I like how Paul Ryan got so confused in his response that he forced the moderator to change the subject.

Also Ryan says "nuclear" correctly, so that's a bad sign.

Yes - Martha Raddatz hasn't said all that much, but I think it must be a testament to her moderating that they're both getting thrown off the script by her questions.

Ryan is flat out lying about Iran.

Biden: "Incredible. Huh-hah."

Faster, centrifuges, faster.

"Martha, let's look at this from the point of view of the ayatollahs."

Why is Ryan disrespecting our ally Netanyahu and his very convincing cartoon bomb?!

Ryan: Ayatollahs watching the debate in Congress over sanctions for two years. Really??? Is that what Ayatollahs spend their time doing.

Ryan: The Iranian's nuclear threat is very great now. They now have enough nucler material for 5 bombs.Biden: But they don't have a weapon to put it in.

She's had enough already

Bibiblabla: also known as mullarky.

"Get ayatollahs to change their minds" is really reminiscent of GW Bush language.

Ryan: "It's Irish,"Biden: We call it Mullarkey.

Biden: Iran is totally isolated..... Russia? China? India? and Southeast Asia, etc.

"Bunch of stuff". I like it.

"They're four years closer to a nuclear weapon..." and... Obama has been president for four years... WAIT IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW. If only we didn't measure nuclear readiness in "years."

Ryan is looking pretty incredible. If you know what I mean.

Raddatz repeats Gates: Bombing Iran could haunt us for ages!! So guys, what is this debate over iran about?

Ryan: Iran is the biggest sponsor of terror in the world! Really?

Raddatz: Let's change the subjects, guys! Jobs!!!!

Biden looks like a smirking teenager. With dentures.

Aaaaaand cue the 47% speech! Biden's all het up now.

Great point, Kathy.

Finally, the 47 percent shoe drops.

"Joe and I are from similar towns. This is how I start my speech."

These are retirees, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan...

Hey Paul, Scranton and Janesville are not the same places.... Really have you ever been to Scranton?

Scranton mention! Drink!

Did Ryan *really* just say that unemployment is going UP???? Or did I mis=hear?

"Mitt Romney is a car guy."And a lake guy.And a tree guy. And a coal guy.And a Jim Lehrer guy.

Romney makes a Christmas visit--with gifts. Thanks Paul....


I know Ryan doesn't have much of a choice, but it's true - trying to pass off the 47% thing as an accident of phrasing is really, really weak.

Romney is personally going to go house to house and hand out cash.

More should be made of obstruction of jobs bill.

Is this how Biden handles difficult situations?

I think he heard you Dominic.

Still no details on the plan.

Ryan says unemployment is growing by l.3 percent. The kid is bonkers.

I hate the stimulus except when I love it.

Ryan: top-notch high school debater....

Someone got caught with some pork in his mouth.

Who's going to tell Ryan his guy invests in Chinese companies?

Ryan: Social Security going bankrupt...not!

Not the Medicare lie again! And the mysterious evil board!

Can Ryan tell the difference between Medicare and Social Security?? Here come death panels!

We're not saying "vouchers" - we're saying "emergency room."

I can't believe they are still using this $716 Medicare cut thing. And then Ryan says, re: Biden, "He'll tell you about vouchers - he'll say all these things to try and scare people" -- that's what we Irish call first-class chutzpah.

OH you just got compared to Sarah Palin (on pretty solid ideological ground at that) and you can't even act offended!

all the guys in Congress and all the women in the Republican party

Biden: Been here before: Didn't Sarah Palin talk about death panels.

You found the weakness in his argument, Kathy.

"Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress after a lost round."

Sister Mary Ryan: Don't Interrupt!!!

Can we get some specifics from R&R on ANYthing?

Ryan is lying about Medicare

Ryan is just going all in with the misrepresentations and discredited figures and all-out lies, huh? ...If I did that and then I said, re: my opponent's claims, "That's a misleading figure..." I'd be afraid I might disappear into some sort of dishonesty black hole.

Biden is killing it right now. Ryan looks dramatically overmatched.

Neither candidate seems to know to look into the camera as he's talking. That's a big pr point.

Seems like Ryan and Romney are convinced that reassuring people over 55 that they're all right, Jack, over and over again, is the path to victory. Seems a bit risky to me, but then I'm under 55.

And Biden is killing himself looking threatened.

Biden: These guys haven't been big on Medicare from the beginning. Ditto Social Security. Your changing it from a guaranteed program....

My family was poorer than yours was...

Biden wins the Soc. Sec. and Medicare segment -- the REpublicans have never really been or either, and the people know it.

I love privatization. It smells like victory.

On to the tax/deficit problem -----

This is the part where the Republican equates "small-business owners" with very rich people.

I would vote for Biden for President.

Wait, did Ryan just admit he's Canadian?

Ryan: the Canadians have a 15 percent tax rate. But they have socialized health insurance.How do they do it?

Good question: Do you have the specifics? (And repeated... and still not being answered.)

Frameworks, with no ID of loopholes to close or deductions to eliminate.

"Can I translate?"

Ryan; (moderator asked for specifics re taxes) will raise 1.5 trillion through taxes [whose taxes??],

Ronald Reagan was specific says Biden! Was he?

The fact that "six studies have guaranteed that the math adds up" is a lie makes this some kind of crazy math super-lie.

Bill Maher wins tweet of the night. "Hello, 911? There's an old man beating a child on my TV."

How how how?

Biden zings: Romney just said that it's "fair" for a guy earning $50K to pay proportionately more taxes than Romeny himself does !!!


Ryan: Romney did a great job in Democratic Mass.Biden zings: Then why isn't Mass. supporting him now?

Mitt's $30 million worth of "charitable" contributions went mostly to the Mormon Church, so that it could buy more real estate. That's not what the Sermon on the Mount was about.

Hmm. Biden is en fuego.

Ryan: Movie Star, Hedge Fund Guy..... For President.

Specific: close loopholes and deductions for highest income people.

Grant GallichoRe: "Biden is killing it right now. Ryan looks dramatically overmatched." During the Obama debate you wrote that Obama was doing allright. Now you must be wearing a blindfold and earmuffs. Except for one well delivered, impassioned statement Biden is blustering and by interrupting hie is making a fool of himself. Biden is overmatched, period.

Navy smaller than it was before WW 1? Really?

When MSNBC cuts to Chris Matthews tonight, this is what I imagine viewers will see:

U: And they only had row boats.

Here's your Politifact debunker on the smallest-navy story.

Ryan playing hard for the WI vote.

Did Ryan just call Afghanistan a failure?

Ryan: 2014: Let's lie to our allies and fool our enemies.

Is it too early to declare Raddatz the winner of this debate?

Biden: Martha, you be straight with me!

Thanks Paul: enlighten us.

Biden takes over military discussion. Ryan seems not to know much abou t he facts.

Agreed: the calendar works the same every year.

Agreement! The calendar works the same every year.

Agreement! Peggy and Grant! Would you believe it?

Yes. Speak up and explain, with specifics, on any topic/proposal.

FACT CHECK: Calendar does NOT work the same every year. Every four years we have a leap year.

It's fun to watch their blink rates.

Is he linking alleged failure of "Russia re-set" to a rise in Al Qaeda?

Biden explains the difference between our action in Libya and inaction in Syria. Sounds knowledgeable.Ryan says we should get rid of ASsad. Gives no specific plan as to how.

Paul, What should we do about Syria?Biden, What would you do?Martha, What would you do?

Ok, now Ryan is smirking.

Obama said that Assad had to go a year ago, yet he is still there. QED

Calendars: Is there a leap year in the Middle East? I'd be surprised.

Strategic security interest, humanitarian, credibility -- what are the criteria?

Self-declared historic: RELIGION!!! ABORTION! EMOTIONAL! BE PErSONAL... really Martha...cute

Will he say "subsidiarity"?

I was told there would be no abortion politics.


Beans are good for you.

The Cuomo maneuver.

Now I agree with Margaret. "We're talking about abortion, so if it's not Oprah it's inappropriate."

Does Martha know that Paul Ryan's abortion policy does not reflect Catholic teaching?

OMG: Another Catholic on the Supreme Court. Like Scalia!!

Yes, once you're drawing a line between "principle" and "policy" the "how does your faith inform your politics" framing is not so useful.

Embarrassed??? Who me?

Oh that is a TERRIBLE last question. It's not the "tone" that should embarrass candidates. It's dishonesty.

It's true de fidei. But not true for everybody.

Kind of a pointless question, but to the extent that it allows a closing statement, OK.

When Ryan said, "Assad has killed tens of thousands of his own people!" I had a flashback to the run-up to the Iraq war, when we kept hearing that Saddam Hussein was evil because he had killed his own people. Of course he was evil, but he was a Sunni Arab, and other Sunni Arabs were his own people. Most of the Iraqis he killed were Kurds and Shiites. I strongly suspect that Assad is going out of his way to AVOID killing his own people. What Americans, especially the neocons, never have understood is that in that part of the world, tribal loyalties outweigh national boundaries. You can't create an artificial country, as the European and American colonial powers did for centuries, and expect that everyone within those borders will start getting along even if their tribes have been warring with each other for centuries.

Both Martha and Biden seem a little sleepy right now.

Final question: What is it going to take to make you cry?

Ryan is lying about insurance again.

Speeches. Leadership. Proven record. No settling.

Speeches vs. leadership. He's got a point there.

Not really.

Wait? Another last question? And must I answer as a human being?

"Honesty. Wait, *no one else*?" Oh.

And if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Answer: AS A MAN! she said.

OK, this is really the final last statement, kiss my foot, no erasies.


On the heartbeat-away metric, I think Ryan fails.

Martha, Thank you, thank you, thank you.... And you Joe.

Wow, she was great.

I think Ryan's flag was spinning there for a moment.

Yep. Winner is Martha, nosing out Biden.

Mrs. Ryan doesn't kiss and hug Mister R; the Bidens clutch.....

This vice-presidential debate made women look flaky. Thanks a lot, Martha.

Smirking kid in chair. Who he? A Biden probably.

A couple of really dumb questions in the home stretch, but overall, super job Raddatz. Moderator for life.

One of the many Ryan kiddos I think. Now I'm off to pitch a HuffPo essay about how it's so interesting that Ryan's young family has not been a topic of discussion unlike certain other VP candidates with small children in years past.

I think you should pitch that to Get Religion.

CNN is fact-checking. Then will give results of instant poll about who won.

Like an umpire, if the moderator makes a significant impression on you, she probably did not do a good job. She was too interested in calling attention to herself. Didn't have the confidence the job requires, which would have enabled her to be comfortable to let the candidates have the max time to present their views.

Yeah no. (You forgot to mention her plunging neckline, btw.)

Yeah? No? Plunging neckline?

He's calling you a sexist, Mark. Obviously, if you thought a woman didn't do something well, you're a sexist.

Ohhhhhh, thanks for the translation, Kathy! Grant, next time, if you are going to respond to something I said, why not actually, well, respond to what I said.

As a woman, I'm allowed to ask whether Raddatz might possibly be a Democrat.

The crazy thing is, both Biden and Ryan did reasonably well (though Biden was too reminiscent of Gore) so that the loser is, by comparison to the other 3 debaters, once more,...President Obama.

CNN's poll says Ryan won 48% to Biden 44%.

A wash. Blustery boss and earnest young manager. Was there a moderator?

I would have liked more extensive debate on the growing drumbeat for military action against Iran. We are already in two very unpopular wars; one war was launched when a President wrongly told the American people that Iraq had WMD. We get there- oops, no WMD- but we stay for years fighting anyway. We waged war in Afghanistan ostensibly to catch bin laden, we''re still there even though bin Laden left years ago and when we did catch him it was in another country.I think those who want military action against Iran need to carefully explain to us, among other things, why it wouldn't be another phantom WMD debacle.

I didn't try to read and watch; I'm too old for that (though kudos to my friend Ann Olivier who is older than me and can do with aplomb!).Joe Biden is every dad in the neighborhood where I grew up (even though the guy's only 10 years older than me), so I love the guy, especially when he says "mallarkey," which is code for the more earthy verbiage I heard as a kid. I think Ryan dodged specifics when pressed (especially on Iranian bomb), and expects voters to trust in Romney's track record in Massachusetts (where he is losing) to work with a deeply divided and partisan Congress. His parsing the difference about leaving Afghanistant in 2014 was unintelligible.The question about both men's religion was unforgivable. Ask them about abortion if you want, but making Catholicism an issue made me want to jump through the TV and smack Martha. Why not ask Mitt if any of his policies will be driven by his expectation of inheriting a planet when he dies?In a more academic vein, pundits on PBS noted that Biden's passionate (blustery?) TV style fits an older generation better, while Ryan appeals to a digital audience with his cooler (reptilian?) style?I dunno. I'm not sure I can trust a guy who can't control his kids. It was his brat who was sitting in the VP chair smirking as if to say, "This chair belongs to MY Daddy."

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