2012 vice presidential debate

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was widely deemed the winner of the first debate against President Obama. So what sort of pressure does that put on their running mates? Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan take the stage in Kentucky for the first vice presidential debate. We’ll discuss the candidates’ differences on domestic and foreign policy, and we’ll discuss their performances. Could the vice presidential debate affect the election in November?

Useful and Unexpected Debate Resources

Chris LeHane, Democratic consultant and a partner at Fabiani and LeHane, and Vice President Al Gore's press secretary throughout the 2000 campaign
Bruce Cain, professor of political science at Stanford University and director designate of the Bill Lane Center for the American West
Duf Sundheim, Former Chair of California Republican Party, 2003-2007

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Watched via C-SPAN and PBS online and liked the split screen because its shows how the person not speaking is acting. I was utterly shocked at Biden. Was he on some hyper drugs that Obama lacked last time? Biden was so odd in how he laughed, then interrupted, up, down then quiet and then louder.

    Meanwhile Ryan was calm and seemed more focus and didn’t laugh or sappy grin, and as some young neighbors watching with me online, came off as an adult. Winced at how Biden like Obama seems to be throwing the intelligence community under the bus as far as the horrid mess on 9/11 in Lybia, with an ever changing story.

    Very very odd debate.

    • Ramona

      Shocked? You took your histrionics pill before hand then?

  • Chemist150

    I would like to point out that the Democrats forget many things when considering lowering the tax rate. They seem to fail to include the concept of increased employment bringing in more money and the money increase in closing loopholes. Closing loopholes will lift people into higher tax rates. It can easily lift someone 5-15% in the tax code. Remove the tax deductions and lower the rate by 20%, then a person may only see a 5% reduction in income tax for their income but they are paying more because they have a higher taxable income. The Democrats already admitted to 5% being possible under their half-baked limit imposed conditions.

    First, taxes only occur when money is exchanged so that when taxes are increased, it does in fact remove money from circulation in the free market. By raising taxes and removing this money to pay construction workers, it does not create jobs. It more often than not only employs people that already have work. To get a contract, you can’t say that I have to hire and train people to do the job, the employees already have to be there. I’m not saying all public programs are bad, but raising taxes does always kill jobs no matter how you use it because it’s less efficient.

    • Chemist150

      Basically, the democrats seem to be walking into this point with their eyes wide shut.
      I have a feeling that they’re being dragged into attacking this issue and when they walk into it with their eyes averted…………

  • Ramona

    Pardon me…..but what was Mitt doing the whole time during the debate? Looking like the sociopath that he is….a phoney evil smile.

    • Stating the obvious

      Mitt did not participate in this debate…did you mean Biden?

  • Jon Gold

    So, Biden vs. Ryan was an interesting match. I do believe Biden said what needed to be said. Ryan was impressive in his calm and energized demeanor. But, still, gentlemen please allow the moderator to moderate and answer the questions given. They always seem to say what they want to say and disregard the question posed!

    Am I the only one that believes neither Romney nor Obama ‘won’ the first debate! Romney was overbearing and slick, disrespecting the moderator. Questions seemed to rarely be answered directly or ever…they said what they wanted to say when they wanted to…Romney was hyped as if on a caffeine high, and Obama is, after all, the president so he knows so much more of what is going on.

  • Bill

    Seems like Joe Biden worked very hard to make Paul Ryan retreat from making specific proposals, making this very clear to listeners and viewers.

  • Alex

    I skilled the silly VP debate. But the NPR third party debate was very interesting. You can find it here:

  • James Ivey

    I am so offended by the Republicans’ repeated calls to help “job creators” and “small businesses.” I own and operate a small business. I am one of the 90% that isn’t helped by the 2003 tax subsidy for the wealthy. Accordingly, I’m not one of the handful of small business owners that generate 70% of all small business income.

    Giving me money won’t induce me to hire anyone. Not that I don’t want to give people jobs, but rather that income is not relevant to hiring. Supply side economics is a huge lie. What makes me hire people is demand that exceeds my current capacity.

    Who still believes that, given extra cash, a business owner would increase production without ready demand, thereby flooding the market with their goods and services and driving prices down? What’s amazing to me is that wealthy people have been telling the rest of us that this is exactly how they think, yet, given extra cash (as in 2003), there was no boost to hiring. Instead, the wealthy just kept the money.

    Who would’ve thought?

    • Chemist150

      If you were in the solar enery sector or money pit of alternative oil you would could have gotton a lot of money.

  • Morgan

    How come when the Republicans say the President hasn’t accomplished anything, neither he nor VP Biden brought up the split congress as a cause?

    • guest

      Because the Congress was NOT split during Obama’s first two years. The split occurred at the mid term election once the voters realized how disinterested the Democrats were at accomplishing anything other than a health care overhaul that many voters were dead set against. Remember…??

      • burro

        Remember this?

        “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
        -Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, quoted in National Journal, November 4, 2010

        And here’s a nice chart tracking the use, (abuse), of the filibuster to throw endless wrenches into the works and create gridlock to do their utmost to achieve Mitch McConnell’s overall goal of making President Obama a one term president.


        President Obama has accomplished an amazing amount of good things, especially considering that there has been a blatant and premeditated plan from the beginning to obstruct goals and gum up the works.

        Lot’s to remember. The less people forget, the better off we’d be.
        And why not… one more:

        • guest

          …and Pelosi stated that her primary job was to insure that Democrats get elected when she was House majority leader. That’s just politics. I’m more interested in results. Please provide a few specific examples of the “amazing amount of good things” you claim Obama has accomplished. QE1? QE2? QE3? Obamacare? Solyndra? Unemployment? NASA? Benghazi? …

          • burro

            Here’s 200 things.
            Here’s a nice chart showing the debacle of the Bush years and the improving jobs situation since Obama took office.
            I think Obamacare is great and will be very helpful to many people who don’t have the ability to get healthcare. Obviously you don’t, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be beneficial.
            And there’s a difference between a desire to get people elected as the wonderful Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to do, and working from within to stymie and thwart everything that is attempted because of ideological differences, such as Mitch McConnell has made his life’s work. Getting people elected takes the cooperation of the voters. Obstruction from within just takes the mucking up of procedure by using the mechanics of power to jam things up.
            If that’s just politics, that’s fine, but there’s then no point in blaming President Obama for not getting stuff done. In that case it’s just politics for him not to capitulate to implacable demands that he do things the Republican way or it’s the highway.
            And it doesn’t matter what he does, Republicans aren’t going to work with him on anything anyway. So if you want to boil total obstruction down to just politics, so be it. The voters will speak in November. I’m looking forward to the outcome. I think it will be an excellent one with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moving things forward to get stuff done.

          • guest

            What a joke! Unprecedented trillion dollar deficits year after year and your link spins this as “He Returned The Executive Branch To Fiscal Responsibility…”. I have access to Google. I can search the liberal blogs on my own. I was hoping for the kinds of accomplishments that Obama/Biden might be willing to brag about during a debate. Instead, they have remained silent on their record (as well as their 2008 campaign promises).

            Do you honestly believe that Obama’s performance in these areas represent significant achievements?

            “He Returned The Executive Branch To Fiscal Responsibility”
            “He Improved the Economy”
            “He Fostered Greater Transparency and Better Government”
            “He Made Major Improvements in Foreign Relations and American Status Around the World”
            “He Took Steps to Strengthen the Middle Class and Families, and to Fight Poverty”

            Obama/Biden remain silent on their record during the debates because they know they would be torn to shreds if they attempted to claim any of these as major accomplishments.

            Hint: Bin Laden – I’ll give you that one. A major achievement that happened on Obama’s watch.

          • burro

            “Do you honestly believe that Obama’s performance in these areas represent significant achievements?”
            Yes. Absolutely. Unequivically. Without a doubt. Looking forward to four more years of Obama/Biden with great optimism and anticipation.
            Sorry you won’t be enjoying it as much.

          • guest

            Quite frankly, I’m frightened by your complete satisfaction with and support for the status quo. As for the election, you may be in for a surprise. We’ll see. Either way, I’ll be fine, and I hope you will, too. Best regards.

  • lucas

    Poor Paul. He was handled last night. Biden was confident and provided a great truth meter when we couldn’t see Paul’s pants on fire directly.

    The media may make Biden’s confidence an issue but will miss the bigger story that we should be terrified at the idea of the boy wonder being a heartbeat away from president. You think Putin will politely defer to Paul in a negotiation?

  • Bruce Kaplan

    the moderator of today’s program, Dave Iverson, has a very annoying habit of changing or adding to the caller’s question. This is dismissive of the questioner and insulting. It’s not about YOU, Dave! Mr. Iverson seems to have been trained to think that only HE can really make a caller’s question interesting. Many interviewers do this, even Krasny, but not all the time and not so annoyingly. A good interviewer will let the question stand, and if followup or clarification is needed he will provide.

  • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    The guests were dismissive of fact-check sites, claiming they are biased themselves and that people don’t really care about the facts. Well, the pundits might care most about spin (that certainly seemed to be the main objective of at least one of today’s guests), but judging from my FB feed, voters want facts. They say, “Can’t we have a fact-checker there who hits a buzzer when anyone lies?” The answer is no because fact-checking takes time and the question of truth and falsehood is not always that simple, but if you go to Politifact (my personal preference) or Factcheck (not my preference, as it’s more concerned with dissing all candidates and is thus quite cynical in tone), you’ll find a nonpartisan look at the various claims over the couple of days following each debate. They also analyze the various statements made in ads and on the stump. Very, very useful for voters who actually care, not “who won,” but who has the policies they want to support.

    • Chemist150

      Then the fact checker would have to have a debate with the candidate. They’d need whiteboards. It would comsume a lot of time.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor