Good morning folks,
The “Thrill in ‘Ville” came to a close last night, just as the the effects of Smirkin’ Joe Biden’s Red Bull overdose seemed to be winding down. The reviews are mixed. Why? Each prize fighter was speaking to a distinctly different audience. Say what you will about Joe Biden’s behavior, but he certainly was effective in firing up a liberal base that had gone into apoplectic shock since Mitt Romney’s knockout of President Obama last week in Denver. Paul Ryan was speaking to an entirely different audience – undecided moderates and women – and he was tremendously effective in doing so, appearing as anything but the face of the scary GOP ticket that Chicago has tried to paint. In this sense, both men effectively spoke to their targeted audience. Ryan thus wins a split decision, taking the GOP and indpendent vote, while Biden wins the Democratic judge.
When immediate press reports refer to a sitting Vice President as, “rude,” “odd,” “smug,” “off-putting,” “manic,” “condescending” & “over-the-top,” we think it’s hard to claim victory. Americans probably don’t want “Vice President Beavis.”
On substance, there are many pundits on both sides of the aisle calling it a draw. Perhaps… but beyond his behavior, the Vice President made three SIGNIFICANT gaffes that will leave his team with a lot of explaining to do in the coming days:
- Joe Biden completely contradicted the State Department’s version of events in Libya, raising major questions about what the President knew and when he knew it. If the Administration was trying to put to rest the appearance of scandal in Libya, the Vice President utterly failed.
- Joe Biden contradicted Administration policy on tax increases. Biden moved the ball from President Obama’s position of $200-250,000 and above, to a new position of tax increases on $1,000,000 and above. It’s a significant shift, and one that Democrats will have to clarify.
- Joe Biden twice said blamed Ryan for voting to authorize force in Afghanistan and Iraq and putting it on the credit card. Biden, of course, did the exact same thing, even though he denied it.
- 48% of voters think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown, 44% say that Vice President Joe Biden was victorious.
- 28% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and 21% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.
- 55% said that the vice president did better than expected, with 51% saying that the congressman from Wisconsin performed better than expected.
- By a 50%-41% margin, debate watchers say that Ryan rather than Biden better expressed himself.
- Seven in ten said Biden was seen as spending more time attacking his opponent
- Who was more likable? Ryan had a 53%-43% advantage
“Obama’s Major Blunder” – Larry Sabato: After one debate, it’s fair to say that while President Obama didn’t make an obvious verbal gaffe during his first debate with Mitt Romney, Obama’s entire, listless debate performance can be characterized as a “major blunder.” And it’s costing him significantly in the race. This is what a historically bad debate performance looks like: On Tuesday afternoon, Romney took the lead in the RealClearPolitics average of national horserace polls for the first time this calendar year by grabbing a tiny, less than one percentage point lead (Obama was up 3.1 points the day of the debate).
The Catholic Swing Vote – Pew: “…Neither Obama nor his Republican challenger Mitt Romney has established a consistent lead among Catholic voters as a whole. But in aggregated Pew Research Center polling conducted from January through early October 2012, white Catholic conservatives have been firmly in the Romney camp, while white Catholic liberals, Hispanics and other minority Catholics have been firmly behind Obama. Compared with other Catholic subgroups, white Catholic moderates have been more evenly split, though they have expressed more support for Obama than for Romney.”
Interesting Take by NRO’s John Pitney: Biden was too manic and Ryan was too stiff. During the debate, I kept thinking that I’d seen this show before. Then it hit me: Cesar Romero as the Joker and Adam West as Batman. Here’s your visual!
Democrats Confusing Strength With Aggression – Peggy Noonan: “National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn’t work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.”
The Ghost of Al Gore Will Haunt Joe Biden: But Biden’s performance here in Danville, Kentucky was both comical and self-defeating. Just as Al Gore sighed and rolled his eyes in 2000, so Biden smirked and guffawed. He gesticulated wildly and jabbed his finger. He interrupted Ryan and the moderator Martha Raddatz. Many women and swing voters will have hated it. Perhaps the even bigger problem the Obama campaign will have in the coming days is that Biden, again just like Gore in 2000, repeatedly exaggerated and mischaracterised for effect. And worse than Gore – who was caught in a series of small lies in 2000 – Biden was demonstrably untruthful in some big respects.
Obama’s Disappearing $5 Trillion: At last Wednesday’s debate in Denver, Mr. Romney explained that he doesn’t plan to cut taxes by $5 trillion. This is because, while his plan rolls back individual income tax rates by 20% and cuts the corporate rate to 25% from 35%, he also plans to reduce personal and corporate deductions. The idea is that lower rates but fewer loopholes and the faster economic growth that results can generate a similar amount of tax revenue. The Republican also stated once again that his plan does not include a tax increase on the middle class. Mr. Romney has been saying this for months, and over the weekend Obama campaign spokesman Jen Psaki conceded 80% of the argument. En route to California with reporters aboard Air Force One, Ms. Psaki said that the elimination of enough deductions and loopholes could in fact cover $3.8 trillion. That becomes $4 trillion if you include fewer interest payments on less debt, which means the Obama campaign was saying as of Sunday that the Romney “tax cut” was $1 trillion, not $5 trillion. But soon after Air Force One landed, it became clear that either Mr. Obama hadn’t gotten the memo—or didn’t like what it said. At a Los Angeles fundraiser, Mr. Obama repeated the bogus claim that his own campaign had just repudiated.
HOUSE RACE BUZZ
Sabato’s Crystal Ball: While no signs of a national House wave have emerged — Democrats hold tiny leads in national generic ballot averages — we are starting to see signs of what can best be described as state waves for Democrats in places where President Obama will roll to victory: California, Illinois and New York… .Maxing out in these three Blue states would probably push the Democrats into a double-digit seat gain nationally, even counting their likely losses in Redder territory. Our current projection is a Democratic gain of seven seats, up from six seats last week and four seats three weeks ago. Still — and we’ve been a broken record on this — Republicans are heavy favorites to keep control of the House.
Crossroads Blitz: The juggernaut GOP-affiliated group Crossroads GPS will soon announce a massive $8.1 million television and radio effort for House Republicans slated to begin Saturday and run for three weeks. The group will target races in 11 districts from the West Coast to the central plains to just north of New York City. The targeted seats are: CA-21, IL-12, IL-17, IN-2, IA-3, IA-4, MI-1, NV-4, NY-1, NY-18, NY-25.
Pelosi Caught Lying About Reading Health Care Bill…. AGAIN: Problem is, while Pelosi told the Chronicle that there was no bill yet on March 9, 2010, that’s not quite accurate. Congress had not enacted a final measure, although later that month it would do so and Obama would sign the bill. But the House and Senate passed versions of Obamacare in 2009. This is a great example of Pelosi’s insider-speak and her insistence of arguing a dubious technicality — yes, there was no final bill – making her both unintelligible and open to parody. At the board meeting, Pelosi also quoted Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s inaccurate statement and story about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying “on the first” day of session that his top goal was to defeat President Obama. As I wrote here, day wrong, year wrong, venue wrong, context completly missing. Pelosi may hate to use the word lie, but whether she knows it or not, she also seems to hate relating accurate versions of events.
MA-6: Salem News’ Nelson Benton Endorses Tisei: “….U.S. Rep. John Tierney’s efforts to link opponent Richard Tisei with the more extreme elements of the Republican Party shows the desperation the incumbent is feeling as he seeks to hold onto the seat on which he has had a stranglehold for most of the past 16 years… …We suspect House Speaker John Boehner would welcome more moderate voices in the Republican caucus — voices like that of Tisei who, despite the best efforts of the Tierney campaign to paint him otherwise, is a pragmatist who during a long legislative career proved himself willing and able to work with the Democratic majority on Beacon Hill. That may be why Boehner was in town this week to help raise money for Tisei’s campaign committee.
- Scandal Plagued John Tierney caught distorting Judge’s words in new ad.
IL-12: Young Gun Jason Plummer Defends Scott Air Base from Obama Cuts: Jason Plummer, the Republican 12th U.S. House District nominee, announced Thursday that if sent to congress he will seek to protect Scott Air Force Base from the impact of nearly $1 trillion in cuts to the federal budget if the White House and congress can’t be made to cut the deficit. Plummer held a news conference outside the Shiloh gate to the air base to underscore his support for the base. Plummer was joined by U.S. House members John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno.
- New Poll Shows GOP Young Gun Plummer Leading Democrat Bill Enyart, 44-41%.
NC-07: Mike McIntyre Tries to Hide His Obama Support: In the end, however, it could be the presidential race that most influences whether McIntyre returns to Washington. Asked if he plans to vote to re-elect Obama, who polls say is unpopular in his district, the Democratic congressman refused to answer. “I’m not making any comments on that,” McIntyre said. “I’m running my own race.”
GA-12: Cantor Stumps For Lee Anderson, Blasts Two-Faced John Barrow: House Republican Leader Eric Cantor campaigned Thursday with 12th District challenger Lee Anderson at a private fundraiser in an Atlanta suburb, saying incumbent John Barrow is out of touch with the district…. … The leader of the House majority came to Georgia because Barrow is considered by most observers as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House, especially after redistricting left him with a district that leans Republican.“This is an extremely important race for the House of Representatives and the Republicans there, and we’ve got a candidate who is in touch with the people of that district and reflects the common-sense, conservative vein that runs throughout this state,” Cantor said of Anderson. “Lee is a farmer. He’s someone who’s been in that community throughout his career, and he represents a stark contrast, really, to Mr. Barrow.” Cantor, R-Va., blasted Barrow for supporting President Obama’s stimulus bill and for refusing to join Republicans in their 30 votes to repeal federal health reform.
THIS & THAT
Top 10 Beer Guzzling States: (Hint: Congrats Laena Fallon and John Sununu)
Seize the day, enjoy the weekend….