Mitt Romney’s apprentice salesman stepped on the stage last night and delivered his talking points, but little more. Throughout the night, Joe Biden delivered lesson after lesson to the ambitious young Congressman from Wisconsin.
Biden outpaced the workout obsessed Ryan with facts and substance. Ryan simply could not keep up.
Most importantly for the Democratic ticket, Biden scored points on Medicare, Social Security, women’s issues and protecting the middle class as well as national security.
On taxes, Ryan’s refusal to share the details of how their massive tax cut is not going to raise the deficit looked comical in the face of Biden pressing him. All Ryan had was talking points, no detail. It was far from a presidential level performance.
Biden also connected with middleclass and older voters, relying on his record of leveling the playing field for the middle class when the discussion focused on taxes and on the 47 percent of Americans that pay no federal income tax.
On Medicare and Social Security, Biden lured Ryan into talking about his Congressional record on those issues. Ryan defended his plan to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a couponing scheme. These are issues the Romney campaign has worked to avoid, but Ryan was happy to talk about these massively unpopular ideas.
The other area where daylight was exposed between Romney and Ryan was on choice. And that was all Paul Ryan’s fault. Ryan departed from his running mate quickly by suggesting that legislative action was the best way to roll back Roe v. Wade. Only a few days ago Mitt Romney, who sits at the top of the ticket, clearly stated that he was not interested in legislative action (a complete and total departure from his campaign record).
Denying women their Constitutional rights may be the moment where Ryan spoke with the most passion and depth of substance.
So on the electoral score card, Biden hit the marks he needed to.
When Ryan tried to score political points on the stimulus Biden quickly reminded the Congressman that he had asked for stimulus money for his district.
On foreign policy, Paul Ryan did not look up to the task of being prepared on Day One. Between suggesting that the GOP ticket would send more troops to Afghanistan to suggesting that the United Nations, despite Russia’s ties to Syria, was the best place to deal with their civil war.
This may have been the biggest lessons of the evening delivered by Biden. Ryan looked goofy and ill-informed.
One of Ryan’s favorite lines was trying to turn an Obama quote about painting your opponent as something to run from if you have nothing to say, then delivering talking negative talking points against the administration completely devoid of substance. It was an odd delivery of lines by Ryan.
At the end of the night Paul Ryan held his own on style points. He was able to deliver the rehearsed lines technically. But in the end he looked like he was wearing an ill-fitting suit. Something that looked ok at first glance, but was quickly revealed to be little more than an optical illusion.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.