Republican reaction to VP debate: Biden is rude
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10/12/12 Janelle Irwin
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Tampa Bay area Republicans watched the Vice Presidential debate at Quaker Steak and Lube in Pinellas Park.


photo by Janelle Irwin

Vice Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan squared off in a verbal sparring match last night in Kentucky. Reports, even though pundits are all over the board with who the winner was, viewers at a Republican watch party in Pinellas Park declared it a victory.

When Paul Ryan said something they liked – which was a lot, the crowded erupted into applause.

When Biden said something kooky, they booed and hissed.

So it’s not surprising that the collective opinion among the 100 or so Republicans was that their golden boy beat Biden. Sitting at a crowded bar at Quaker Steak and Lube, viewers said things like, ‘what a jerk’ and ‘would you just shut up?’ Biden and Ryan spent a lot of time talking about foreign policy. They butted heads about Iran with Ryan arguing that the Obama administration has watered down sanctions on the country.

“When we show that we're cutting down on defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness. And when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us. They're more brazen in their attacks, and are allies are less willing to.”

“With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey.”

“And why is that so?”

“Because not a single thing he said is accurate.”

After Biden’s comment, ‘malarkey’ became one of the top trending subjects worldwide on Twitter. Though some admitted the debate wasn’t the landslide victory declared after last week’s first presidential debate, conservatives were turned off by Biden’s colorful commentary and frequent chuckles. Jim, a Tampa Bay area Republican who asked that his last name not be used, said the Vice President was rude and disrespectful.

“I also think the interviewer lost control. There’s no way that they should have been – or, I’ll just said Biden started it – constantly was interrupting and then they start talking between the three of them.”

Biden did tend to dominate the discussion, at times talking over his opponent. But it didn’t influence the son of local Republican state Senator Jack Latvala, Chris. He said it’s better to take the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach to national security.

“Obviously Ahmadinejad is not a stable person and you don’t want somebody who’s not stable and who believes that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth getting a nuclear weapon. That’s not food for anybody, you know, for a lunatic like that to have a nuclear weapon.”

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are worried that a Romney-Ryan administration could lead to yet another costly war. Biden questioned whether that’s what would happen since Ryan claimed sanctions weren’t working in Iran.

“When he said, "Well, you're talking about doing more," what are you -- you're going to go to war? Is that what you want to do?

“We want to prevent war.”

“And the interesting thing is, how are they going to prevent war? How are they going to prevent war if they say there's nothing more that we -- that they say we should do than what we've already done, number one.”

Healthcare was another hot topic of debate during the 90-minute back-and-forth. Before the debate even started John Hancock Sr., a U.S. army veteran, criticized President Obama and Biden for standing by their healthcare law.

“Gee, it cut $718 billion [sic] from Medicare, Social Security and sent it to Obamacare.”

Paul Ryan echoed that during the debate, saying that the Obama and Biden dipped their hands in the cookie jar to dump the $716 billion into the Affordable Care Act at the expense of Medicare. Biden rejected those claims.

“What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare. We cut the cost of Medicare. We stopped overpaying insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. The AMA supported what we did. AARP endorsed what we did. And it extends the life of Medicare to 2024. They want to wipe this all out. It also gave more benefits. Any senior out there, ask yourself: Do you have more benefits today? You do.”

All other vice presidential candidates were excluded from last night’s debate. Today, Democracy Now! invited two of them to respond to some of the debate questions. The Justice Party’s Luis Rodriguez said the government needs to continue to expand preventative care.

"The whole medical system has to be taken out of the profit world, profit market, taken out of the market system. It’s an essential, as Cheri said. It’s something that everybody needs. We spend billions and billions of dollars wasting money, just because people aren’t being taken care of, the illnesses and the sicknesses they get at the back end because we don’t do enough to prevent, to help, to maintain, to give people the care they need."

And Cheri Honkala, Vice Presidential candidate for the Green Party, had an innovative take on how to reduce and even eliminate unemployment.

"Put homeless people to work renovating abandoned houses. We have more abandoned houses than we have homeless people in this country, and we could do something by putting them to work."

In last week’s presidential debate Obama criticized Romney for not having a detailed economic plan. Romney’s running mate was pressed to give more specifics last night, but didn’t. Romney supporter William Alexander Mahmet said he doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal.

“I don’t think it’s quite as detailed as people would like. Unfortunately, a lot of those details are the kind of things that don’t fit into sound bytes, don’t fit into television shows.”

One person at the watch party, Sam Hancock, said he’s annoyed with all of the candidates who he thinks will say or do anything to get elected.

“And the sad part about it is, American people, the middle class that they tout as helping that are actually going to suffer behind these policies. It doesn’t matter who gets elected – Republican or Democrat – they have their own agenda on how they think things should go.”

Hancock still supports Romney and considers himself a right of center voter. He said, all in all, he wasn’t all that impressed with the debate.

“It was kind of lackluster on both sides.”

Last night was the only debate scheduled between Biden and Ryan. The next presidential debate will be in Hempstead, New York on Thursday between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The candidates will answer audience questions during the 90-minute Town Hall-style debate moderated by CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.



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