Veep debate winner? Moderator Martha Raddatz!
None of the headlines (from Newseum) in the image above (from Daily Kos) says so, but the one clear winner of last night’s vice presidential debate was moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News.
Howard Kurtz puts it THIS WAY:
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Raddatz’s moderation in Kentucky on Thursday night was the way she used her knowledge as a veteran foreign affairs correspondent and onetime White House reporter to pin down the candidates. When Biden dismissed Ryan’s indictment of the Obama foreign policy as “a bunch of malarkey,” Raddatz pressed him to “be specific”—an admonition she repeated several times. And she could be a stern schoolmarm: “I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we’ve gone over this quite enough.” You could imagine her ready to rap knuckles with a ruler.
As for the candidates themselves, a pair of quickie polls were divided on which of them outdid the other. A CNN survey gave the nod to Republican Paul Ryan by four percentage points, while a sampling of uncommited voters by CBS gave it to Democrat Joe Biden by a much wider margin — 50 percent to 31 percent.
Verdicts among political partisans were predictably divided: Democrats generally were pleased with Biden’s performance; Republicans thought Ryan acquitted himself well.
My own view, strictly from a standpoint of optics, is that Biden did himself no favors with all the smirking and mugging while Ryan spoke. On the other hand, the incumbent vice president effectively rebutted some of Ryan’s “malarkey, as Biden called it.
(Incidentally, I was surprised to hear this morning that lots of debate viewers were unfamiliar with the term “malarkey,” which is an Irish synonym for “nonsense.” I grew up in an environment where that word was commonplace. Then, too, a family named Mullarkey lived across the street from us when I was a kid. Hence, it took me a while to distinguish these homophones from each other. These neighbors were lovely people and decidedly not nonsensical.)
Anyway, the potential political ramifications of the Biden-Ryan debate will be grist for our mill here at Applesauce as the day goes on. So stop back from time to time, OK?
UPDATE: This image deftly portrays one of the highlights of the debate: