Mitchell Reports | October 12, 2012
>>> to the week that was and what lies ahead on the campaign trail this coming week. here is my panel to weigh in, josh greene , senior national correspondent with bloomberg business week, editorial page writer for "the washington post " ruth marcus , "time" magazine's michael crowley and karen tum multi with "the washington post ." thank you very much all. first to you, ruth, what was your immediate reaction to this matchup last night?
>> well, you know, i don't think that the obama team necessarily has the goldilocks balance right quite yet. the president was too cool and i thought biden for my taste the vice president, was too hot. i was really worried as i was watching it that from the point of view of the obama/ biden team that people would find him just a little too smirky, a little too aggressive, a little too rude, a little too smiley at inappropriate points. so that was definitely a better piece on the golly locks style than the president had it, but i'm still looking for that just right moment.
>> now karen , you wrote that it was a do over as much as a debate.
>> it was.
>> well, i think that, you know, he was out there as much as anything, he was out there to try to undo some of the damage from president obama 's own disappointing performance and he had two audiences. he had the disspirited democratic base who probably was thrilled to see him feisty and fighting, but i agree with ruth, for that slice of the electorate that is potentially on the fence here, or was feeling a little , you know, upset and leaning toward romney as a result of that earlier debate it may have come off as his manner may have come off as either disrespectful or at worse ba foonish.
>> michael, what about paul ryan and his approach? was he, you know, too cold, compared to biden 's heat, or just right?
>> it was a little bit cold and robotic, a little bit the budget chairman. i will say i think he -- there was a dog that didn't bark here to say that here's a guy that's 42 years old, who's going to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, has no real national security experience up against a chairman of a guy who's been chairman of the foreign relations committee and knows foreign policy inside and out. he passed the bar on national security and foreign affairs . moments he seemed practiced and vague on afghanistan, yes. had he made a big gaffe, mispronouncing the name of a terrorist group or confusing iraq or iran could have been a disaster. one other thing i would add i did not think he made his best case on medicare . my story in time focuses on whether the ryan plan's proposal for medicare are going to be a problem in a state like florida and other swing states . i thought biden got the best of the argument. ryan i've seen him give better pren traces trying to explain why medicare has been saved in his view and didn't see him at his best.
>> they focused -- biden cleverly focused on ryan one which is not the romney endorsed plan, and which is --
>> the $6400 number not really accurate.
>> he could have said we've moved on from that and refined that. could have come up with a way of explaining it from ryan 's perspective.
>> i thought biden made a good emotional connection with seniors and said trust your instincts speaking generationally.
>> josh green , talk about bloomberg business week, your cover story are we better off than four years ago. that is basically the theme as you point out of this campaign.
>> i think it's one of the things ryan was effective in arguing last night was that we weren't. we went back a few months ago and decided to answer the famous question that ronald reagan posed are you better off than four years ago. most people forget he followed that up with three other questions, is unemployment better, easier to buy things and is the u.s. more respected in the world today than it with you when jimmy carter took office.
>> how did you answer those?
>> we went and compiled -- the entire issue is charts, graphs, articles but for the respect in the world we went and polled cab drivers in different countries all over the world.
>> the old cab driver poll.
>> so we tried to sort of take that --
>> i thought we always made up those cab drivers.
>> we found real ones and for the most part we are more respected in the world at least according to the cab drivers.
>> there were a few light moments. this was sort of the irish coming out of both joe biden and paul ryan .
>> this is a bunch of stuff. here's the deal --
>> what does that mean, a bunch of stuff.
>> it means it's simply inaccurate.
>> it's irish.
>> it is. we irish call it mularkey.
>> they did -- their personalities and know each other they have let's face it been across the table from each other in the big budget negotiations to try to avoid the debt ceiling crisis. and they were the ones carrying the ball for each of their teams. so --
>> they're both pretty likable guys and i don't want to say likable enough, they're both actually quite likable and i think that came through. the malarkey exchange was hysterical. little bit of self-promotion but i have a blog at washingtonpost.com that compares that section and other sections of the debate to david mattic play except the difference with it sort of jumping in and everything, but david i point out never used the word malarkey.
>> a literary touch.
>> karen , you've been out on the campaign more than almost anyone. now where does this move? does president obama bring his a-game at hofstra and what about that town hall format you're going to have 20 questions derived from more than 80 people i am told that are independent voter or undecided voters, that gallup is choosing and candy crowley the next moderator will choose the 20 questions . this is a different format.
>> it is. and i would hope that after both hope afte r both president obama 's and joe biden 's performances that somebody explains to them what a split screen is and that you are always on camera.
>> i think that this is probably going to be a format that president obama is going to do better in just because it is a format that he does a lot of out on the campaign trail. he hadn't been in a sort of stylized debate for four years. but this is the kind of thing he does. i think he does generally pretty well. and candy will be certainly under.gun not only for the questions she picks but making sure that these candidates don't just sort of slough them off, asking the follow-up questions that get real answers out of them.
>> which, of course, from my perspective, martha raddatz did superbly.
>> martha raddatz did a great job. it was a reminder that specificity was important. she opened some questions towards the end that were more open-h open-ended. it may tell us something, somebody who has been in war zones, who has seen the point of the spear of decisions decided in washington may lead to life and death .
>> you don't mean bs, you mean stuff, malarkey.
>> no malarkey from you. thank you very much.
>> and a great team. what