Joe Biden vs Paul Ryan: The voter panel verdicts

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Last night Vice President Joe Biden faced Republican hopefuly Paul Ryan in a live televised debate in Danville, Kentucky.

So what did our panel of voters make of the candidates?

Toby Hatchett, 61. Freelance journalist, votes in New Hampshire.

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

In calmer moments, asked myself who I’d want to govern this country if the President were killed. There was only one answer: Joe Biden. Ryan's adolescent tone and lies over facts and numbers were appalling. After his response to the abortion question, I can’t imagine any thinking woman would want this ferret-headed man running the country.

José Hernández-Lagunes, 36. University employee, votes in Illinois.

2008 – did not vote

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Vice President Biden is an old fashioned attack dog, and his drubbing of Rep. Ryan tonight will go down as a merciless walloping in the annals of these three-ring circuses. And he did it with facts, not with smarmy “data” and soapbox rhetoric.

Brian Slack, 28. Business Consultant, votes in PA.

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Joe Biden seems found the spine that President Obama left back in Colorado last week. His best line? “Malarky!” I actually jumped up out of my couch and screamed the minute I heard it. Will tonight have any ramifications on the polls or ultimate result? Probably not.  But has it been a breath of fresh air?  Absolutely.  

Michael Rasmussen, 55, Cybercrime Prevention Specialist, votes in Oregon

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Ryan has a bit of a reputation of playing fast and loose with the facts. In an early comment Biden referred to Ryan's statements on the economy as “malarkey.” The interactions between the candidates escalated from there.  To my ears Biden spoke with greater passion and laid out a more believable vision for the future.

Fred Condo, 52, Web developer, votes in California

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

I was particularly struck by Ryan's very awkward, clearly rehearsed response to a question about Mitt Romney's statement that “Detroit” should be allowed to go bankrupt. Instead of responding to the question, he told an anecdote about Mr. Romney giving money to a family who had lost members to an auto accident. It was irrelevant, and the tone was inappropriate, especially given Mr. Biden's personal tragedy arising from an auto accident.

Anna Schwiessinger, 31. Client Services Coordinator, votes in California.

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Great Debate. Moderator Martha Raddatz did a fantastic job keeping Biden and Ryan in line and on track. I wish there was a way to go back in time to have her moderate the first presidential debate! The discussion of abortion stood out to me, as a woman voter. Ryan has been anti-choice consistently throughout his career. I sincerely doubt that he is going to change his position for any reason. Biden saying “I refuse to impose my religion on others.” was huge.

Olivia Fahey, 19. Student, Wisconsin

2008 - did not vote

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Biden had a much more assertive and commanding presence tonight than President Obama did last week. His responses felt more informative, nuanced and assertive when compared to Ryan's rehashed talking points. I wa  very happy to see both a women moderator as well as some women's issues actually brought up and discussed in tonight's debate as well.

Kathy Tobiassen, 54. Home-maker, votes in New York

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Republicans will feel that Ryan won, and Democrats will believe that Biden did.  I was glad Biden challenged Ryan on many of his assertions, restoring a sense of “balance”.  But, honestly, I'm becoming almost completely disenchanted with these debate formats.  First of all, ten minutes really isn't enough time to explore a particular issue.  Secondly, each side is given the opportunity to make their claims, but there is no real fact-checking; the end result is whoever SEEMS to have the stronger argument “wins,” without to regard to who is factually correct.  

Molly McCallum, 41, PhD Student and Consultant

2008 – voted Obama

2012 – plans to vote Obama

Moderator Martha Raddatz was fantastic. She knew her stuff, she kept control without stifling debate, and she asked very good follow-up questions. I appreciated the early and late focus on foreign policy, as I feel this topic has been neglected in previous debates and in the media generally.  Overall, Biden and Ryan were successful in selling their party line and each of their bases will be pleased.

Clayton Bink, 52. Maintenance worker, votes in New York State.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

I think that Mr. Biden did a much better job than the President did last week at voicing the talking points of the administration. But I didn't get any substance from him on how specifically they plan to tackle the debt and deficit. This is the most important thing to me. Ryan comported himself well, and at times I thought Mr. Biden seemed condescending.

Sam Miller, 33. Attorney, votes in Massachusetts

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

Ryan was not as awe-inspiring as Romney a week ago, but he was not a disaster. He had a good command on the situation in Libya and was very strong in talking about how the Obama plan to tax the rich will not solve anything. He did get pushed around by Biden, particularly in the first hour, but he had some strong moments and said nothing that was a mistake.

Jake Duhaime, 28. Publicity and Special Projects manager, votes in Massachusetts

2008 – did not vote

2012 – plans to vote Romney

Ryan looked like he was trying to win a debate in a church pew. He totally let an old man bully him around like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. He needed to be meaner. Needed to be wittier. Needed to throw punches back, like when Joe Biden mentioned General Motors, talking about how the company just spent hundreds of millions (which tcould have been spent on jobs) putting the Chevy logo on Manchester United's jerseys.

Andy Sorensen, 23. University Student, votes in Minnesota

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

On appearances, I’d say Biden won the debate. But with a caveat: if the objective was to rally the base, or as a long-time Democratic friend said on Twitter: “Being the awesome drunk uncle on Christmas”, then yes, he did the job. However, if judged by the more accurate barometer of the undecided voters, then I’d have to score it a draw, perhaps with an edge to Ryan.

Katie McKernan, 40, Stay at home mom, votes in Virginia.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

I've heard Paul Ryan speak in person and I was disappointed that Paul Ryan didn't show up tonight. Biden did much better than anticipated, but his laughing was not at all endearing, nor were his frequent, persistent and annoying interruptions. I don't think this debate moved the needle at all. The Obama camp was not provided the boost it needed and the Romney camp didn't capitalize on the momentum from the last debate. Overall, I think it was a draw.

Brian Clutter, 30. IT Support Specialist, votes in Ohio.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

I'd probably give the edge to Biden, but this debate was much more even than the last one, and Ryan certainly put up a good fight, and I can see the Democratic base being thrilled and jumping on their couches with glee over his performance. But I'm not sure if undecided voters will see passion in Biden's antics, in the same way they did Romney. They may think he pushed it too far – and could even see him as rude.

Chris Sasso, 24. Business owner and entrepreneur, votes in New York.

2008 – Voted McCain.

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

Biden seemed smug and tried to discount Ryan at every turn by constantly interrupting him with snide remarks. Because of this, I felt like he Biden got the first and last word leaving Ryan no room to answer. Biden did not address Ryan by name; only calling him “my friend”. I felt that was a bullying tactic and the VP did not come off well for using it. Congressman Ryan showed great restraint. Points to him for keeping his cool; personally, I would not have stood for that kind of disrespect.

Julie Nauslar, 42. Advertising Executive, votes in Texas.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

The debate is about the candidates. Biden was condescending throughout the entire debate, and very irritating.  He interrupted, started his points before he was asked, and really didn't seem to have any idea that he was at a debate. Ryan didn't come across as the most dynamic talker, but I did like the 'jab' about Biden's comment's: “not coming out of your mouth the right way.“

Ruben D. Sanchez, Jr., 40. Soldier in US Army National Guard/Flight Attendant, votes in Illinois.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

I was disappointed in Ryan answer’s to what the Defense policy would be under a Romney Administration. Romney stated last week military spending would increase to 4% of GDP, which is 2 trillion over 10 years, and Ryan didn't know those specifics. However, he was very comfortable explaining plans for reducing the deficit, implementing debt plans, and explaining the importance of having a budget, and not just giving speeches! And he did this while distracted by VP Biden's hysterical theatrics.

Cherlene Nerland, 37, Housewife, votes in Mississippi

2008 – Did not vote

2012 – Undecided

Biden won hands down.  He answered the moderator's questions, while Ryan seemed to be more concerned with reiterating speaking points.  This was really telling when Mr. Ryan was asked point blank what his tax plan would be and he would not specify anything. I also found it amusing that Ryan kept trying to hammer Biden on the Benghazi tragedy and the role faulty intelligence played in the days following.  He seems to forget faulty intelligence is what made his party get us involved in two wars in the Middle East.

Diane Bergin, 44, Housewife. Votes in Florida.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – undecied

Vice President Biden had a strong debate yet his smirking, smiling, and laughing was distracting to me. Congressman Ryan did appear more mature yet they both scored on some key issues. If you take away the demeanour of the VP, I would say he 'won'. I am still undecided and actually shifted towards the middle... One more debate!

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