The Fix Live

Oct 12, 2012

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news.

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Hi everyone. Sorry for slight lateness..long debate night. let's do it!

Both Dems and Repubs claim that the election will hinge on the decision of women (specifically unmarried women). In the VP debate, this came through loud and clear: Biden *epitomized* the rude and dismissive male superiors that women deal with in the workplace. Huge turn-off to women, from an emotional standpoint. Our stomachs just turn when we see a man smirk and laugh and point fingers and mock us. And this man is "a heartbeat away"? It'll be interesting to see how women reacted to this debate in polling.

There's no question Biden's performance was divisive -- and the dominant story of the debate. Here's one take...

You need to stop with the body language analysis and Bidenisms. Do you honestly think voters are unable to observe and think about issues? I understand that you do horserace, but you've morphed into one level above Buzzfeed. It's not just extremists who think political journalists fail the electorate. Have a nice day!

And another perspective.

Ryan smirked too. Thanks for mentioning that.

I did!

When I first saw the photo of you in front of the electoral vote map, I thought Apple had brought back their Mac versus PC ads. Is there a Blackstone list of best dressed journalists?


The video in question:

We report, you decide.

Wouldn't it be awesome to watch a tag team debate? Biden/Obama tagging in and out to face questions against Romney/Ryan. You'd obviously have to put some rules in place so that each has to answer a certain number of questions, but there is some potential there. Could be better than a DX v. NWO match... if you could get a viable third party candidacy going and we are in TLC territory...

TOTALLY agree. It's like best ball in golf.

Also, I am a big fan of the "phone a friend" debate option.

Like, if it's a random question on the Fed, Paul Ryan could say "Martha, I'd like to call Ron Paul...."

I'm curious how Biden's smirks, smiles (somebody should tell him it's very obvious that he whitens his dentures), and laughs when Ryan was speaking played not with the bases (I already know that the Dems loved it and the Repubs thought it was manic and disrespectful), but with independents and undecided voters. I'm getting all kinds of mixed messages, and I'm hoping that you can cut through the noise. Thanks.

So hard to know.  CBS insta-poll had Biden winning. CNN insta poll had Ryan winning (narrowly).

I am not sure undecided voters even watched the VP debate with so much other stuff on TV (NFL, MLB etc.)

I am writing a piece now on how I think Biden would have been a clear winner if not for all of the laughing etc.

Why do reporters willingly go into a place called "the spin room" and report on what comes out of there as if it's news, without challenging it? The same people who are saying that Biden was a bully or not serious enough are the same people who called Romney's rudeness and interrupting last week things like "forceful". If you actually watched the debate, it was clear that Biden was laughing at Ryan's hypocrisy in things like criticizing the stimulus after submitting requests for stimulus money, or his complete inability to identify any middle class tax breaks that are off limits.

I would disagree.

While Romney was aggressive, he was also gentlemanly. He didn't come acrosd as dismissive or disdainful of Obama.

I thought Biden was also aggressive but veeered awfully close into straight condescension.

All aggression is not equal.

You seemed to hedge your bets in your winners and losers article - who do you actually think won? By being rude did Biden lose or did he so dominate the debate that he won?

I hedged my bets because I honestly didn't (and don't) know the answer.

As I sad above, I think if Biden had been slightly less aggressive, he would probably have emered as the winner. Since he didn't, my guess is it was a draw.

What was your favorite moment from the debate? Will there be any event that will be remembered years in the future from this debate?

What will be remembered is the many faces of Joey B.  I loved this mashup from Now This News:

Also, Chamillionaire.

Did Biden help or hurt his chances in 2016 with his performance last night? Additionally, what are Biden's chances in 2016?

Probably helped them since the Dem base LOVED what he did.

Biden adjusted his performance because of last week's debate. Will Obama adjust his performance because of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of Biden last night? If so, what will he adjust?


Obama won't be as hot as Biden (not possible) but also won't be nearly as cool as he was in the first debate.

Two questions for you: 1. Is Paul Ryan truthful in his assertion that he will not be adding 2 Trillion to Millitary spending and that their proposal is just to keep the current military spending? 2. Is Paul Ryan's assertion that if we were to double the taxes paid last year, we would still run a few hundred billion dollars in deficit every year. Thanks!! AAS

Check out our great Fact Checker on last night's debate for answers:

I thought Biden's reactions were properly placed and generally good but too strong. If he could have turned it down a couple notches and be a bit more subtle, it would have been better. It's like if you are in a play, with a live audience you want to be over the top, buton screen closeups you need to be subtle. But, maybe Biden isn't capable of subtle ?

This is very well put.

That debate performance by Biden was more to fire up the base than to reach out to independent voters

Probably true -- particularly after Obama's dismal showing last week

And if that was the sole goal, Biden accomplished it.

Chris- You're a father and a Husband and I assume your family doesn't share your intense love of politics. What's the best way to tell them that the Disney Channel's Halloween special is not as important as the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates and so they need to high-tail it out of the only HD television room? Or should I just be satisfied watching the debate on a measly 28" screen in non-HD format on the edge of a bed with no back support.

You're lucky you even have a 28" TV.

Was he a winner or loser last night...or just non-existent?

I think non existent. Biden was such a big figure -- for good and bad -- Ryan was kind of an afterthought.

I said as much in my winners and losers piece:

"Biden *epitomized* the rude and dismissive male superiors that women deal with in the workplace. Huge turn-off to women, from an emotional standpoint. Our stomachs just turn when we see a man smirk and laugh and point fingers and mock us. And this man is "a heartbeat away"? " Officially the stupidest thing I've read all day. Come on.

And who says we can't disagree without being disagreeable!

Is it possible that Biden's aggressiveness was part of a plan to lay out a line of attack for his boss to follow in a somewhat more civil manner on Tuesday? Seems Biden was being over-the-top on purpose, maybe to compensate for Obama's flatness. But it seems we may hear some of the lines he used again, no?

That's the argument Dana Milbank makes in his column today:

Or was it just partisans and political junkies?

Let's wait for the ratings. But my guess is political junkies and partisans were a big chunk of the audience.

Any woman who saw her employer in Joe Biden and was turned off by his debate performance because of it, has not been in the workforce too long or has led a sheltered life. I saw a forceful performance by Biden and was thrilled with his command of the facts and of the passion he always brings to his speeches/debates. The Obama ticket gets my vote, and Biden helped to cement it. Women, or at least the women I know, ar much too sophisticated to be cowed by a spirited debate.

The other side of Joey B's performance...

"Politics ain't beanbag." Applicable? Or no?

Sure. But I think there is a difference between being tough/aggressive and bordering on outright disdain/condescension.

(and as such, clearly I speak for all women). Biden delivered a smackdown to Ryan, who, as far as I can tell, is a dude. So no, I didn't interpret that as a "rude and dismissive male superior" or a "huge turn-off." Or maybe I just have good bosses, not all of whom are male.

Can confirm: Ryan is a dude.

Has there been any comment from Biden about his demeanor? I loved what he had to say and just ignored the semi-creepy smile

Not yet...

Just want to say your video yesterday outlining the path to 270 electoral votes was excellent. It illustrates just how steep the road is for Romney to reach 270 (and I don't mean the interstate).

THANKS. Was fun to make -- even if I don't look good in brown.

And, yes. The biggest key to understanding the race in the final 3 weeks is that Romney has a very narrow path to 270 electoral votes.

Biden looked like he was fed up with another recitation of the GOP talking points. The smiling subtly told the audience not to take Ryan too seriously. The GOP focus has been more on how Biden said it, than what he said. I didn't hear them compain about Clint's empty chair at the convention, or Mitt's hypnotic stare in the last debate.

Chances you are a Democrat: 150%.

Don't mind me -- I'll be over here laughing inappropriately while you talk, making sure I shake my head a lot to show off my big fake teeth and awesome hair plugs. Don't forget, I'm a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Chances you are a Republican: 150%

Hey, Homeless Guy's Bill Simmons- In honor of your connection to the Sports Guy, I'd like to nominate Crazy Joe Biden as a new resident of the Tyson Zone. I wouldn't be surprised if the story will turn into "Biden totally ripped Ryan's lungs out", and people would say "Yeah, that's not surprising". It's gotten that bad.

When Biden started to go after Martha Raddatz -- "facts matter" -- I started talking like a wrestling announcer in my head.

"Biden is going into the crowd! He's yelling at a fan!"

Chris, you always tout your impartiality, you ever consider moderating?

I must have missed the call where they invited me to moderate....

Do you have shoes that cost more than Tony Schiavone's house?

Yes. And I keep them in my big house on the big side of town.

It appears that The Line feature on The Fix, ranking the seats or offices most likely to switch parties in the next election cycle, has given way to your broader Battle for the Majority feature counting the number of toss-up, likely, leaning, and solid races at any given moment. While I like the latter, I'm really bummed about losing The Line--it was one of my favorite features on your site. Why did you feel the (apparent) need to drop it?

We aren't dropping it! Deputy Fix Sean Sullivan is putting together our latest Senate Line for later today. Stay tuned!

The Donald was on the Today Show this morning and said he thought Biden and Ryan both did fine. Not one snarky comment. Is he back on his meds?

Oh god. I agree with Donald Trump that the debate was a draw?

Don't these guys have little jolts of electricity they are wired to get during the debate from campaign staffers, so as to correct their on-camera tics? It's the 21st century.

I could not agree more.  

Would it be fair to say that the only bad outcome in this debate for Obama would have been if Biden was judged to be clearly the loser (which is not the case) and the only bad outcome for Romney would have been if Ryan somehow managed to raise Palin-esque questions about his qualifications (which was also not the case), and that therefore the whole thing is a wash?

Absolutely.  This is the most spot on thing I have read this morning -- including all the stuff I have written ;)

Is there any evidence that the VP debates matter at all? Seems like if they did, Dukakis would have been elected President in 1988 on the strength of Bentsen's performance.

There's plenty of evidence they don't matter.

See the 3rd chart here:

Can you declare a moratorium on partisans who come into your chats and say things like in your first post, representing undecided voters hoping to represent some shift out there? "Well, before the debate, I was an undecided voter, but I thought Paul Ryan drank too much water, he clearly can't handle the pressure! I am all in for Obama now!!!" Undecided voters don't come to The Fix Live political chat.

Truer words have never been spoken.

I missed the abortion bit, but as I returned my wife mentioned that Biden's answer by way of Catholicism was "pitch perfect" while Ryan's came off as "predictably sanctimonious." She was ambivalent about the rudeness and smirking that is getting a lot of the oxygen from the - um - media and bloggers. Not singling anyone out or anything, but there were some issues covered last night.

I thought Biden was very good obn the abortion question and Ryan was not.  Of course, that came up at 10:20 pm. How many people who are not already decided voters were watching?

Count me on the side of those who found the whole "male superiors" thing by first poster a bit sexist and offputting. Loved Biden and so did my young daughters.


No way that happens. He turns 70 in November and even if he went for the nomination...and won...he's too old school. Plus if Obama wins, 2016 would be a reasonably good year for a GOP candidate (much like 2008 for the Dems). Biden's job (and Ryan's too) was to fire up partisans. Biden was successful....was Ryan? If the GOP response was that Biden showed poor manners, I'm not sure that will move any needles...

I tend to think he doesn't run...but his people are working to keep the door open.

I'm a woman attorney in my late 50s, and I COMPLETELY agree with this comment: "Biden *epitomized* the rude and dismissive male superiors that women deal with in the workplace." I vividly remember sitting in meetings with lawyers of his generation who made no attempt to conceal their disdain for the "lady attorney" and who openly laughed at my comments and interrupted me. BIden was a complete turn-off for me, and I thought that he completely lacked the professionalism and gravitas that I expect from a Vice President.

As I said above, opinions varied wildly about Biden's tone.

Why do I keep getting mentioned at VICE-Presidential Debates?


Its a shame that there can't be a "you lie" type crawl on the TV screens during the debates. Just saying

Would kind of rule.  Remember the days when politicians stayed away from calling each other liars? 

Jim Lehrer, call your office.

Not sure that's totally fair...but I did think Martha Raddatz did a damn fine job under incredibly adverse circumstances.

So how was Danville, KY?

I never left DC. Fix III is less than 3 months old and we are in the thick of Mrs. Fix's season. Too much going on here for me to be on site in Danville.

We've all had spirited yet civil debates where we couldn't believe what the other person was saying. That's how most people likely saw the smiling...not as dismissive about serious issues. GOP is overplaying it here suggesting that Biden was laughing about a nuclear Iran.


Ryan wants to do away with any coverage for birth control, and wants to do away with abortion entirely. He also wants to cut into funding for single mothers, so don't tell me that it's Biden who will alienate women.

I am not telling you anything!

Could you one of these weeks address the issue of Latinos and Republican conservatives without just telling us you HAVE A NEW BOOK ON AMAZON?

The Gospel According to the Fix is out!

Don't bring up Jack Kennedy in debates. Just don't.

Kind of agree.

So where would Buddy Garrity and Coach Taylor come down on Romney's usurping the Dillon Lions battle cry?

WWTTD? (What Would Tami Taylor Do?)

It's pretty much how I live my life.

Where are you seeing the game tonight?

On a TV in Fix HQ. I am no high roller with seats to game 5.

I must admit some glee (I am horrible) when I saw this story, because I knew you were going to do the "call your office" tweet. And you did not disappoint. Let me know if you get t-shirts made. I will buy one.

I am seriously thinking of getting some "call your office" shirts made.

And Steve DesJarlais you had better call you office:

That first poster who apparently turned into a quivering bowl of jello because Biden was a forceful debater, was probably brought up during the time when every child was a winner on the playground or on a sports team. Well, welcome to the real world where there are winner and losers. Debating isn't a tea party. So, take off your pearls and little white gloves and get used to life as it's really lived in the workforce and in politics.

Ah, civil debate. It's a beautiful thing to witness.

Where are you chatting from? What's the Soundtrack? And what are you drinking?


New Bon Iver remix album


Maybe, but that Dude does not abide.

Tremendous Lebowski reference.

This aggression will not stand, man.

Ok folks. Have to run...enjoy the day...and GO NATS!


Continue the conversation with Bob Kaiser's live chat on who "won" the debate at Noon ET.

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Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and sons.
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