The Washington Post

Vice presidential debate: Biden’s smirk gets mixed reactions

If President Obama lacked enthusiasm during last week’s presidential debate, then Vice President Biden made up for it during Thursday’s vice presidential debate with GOP nominee Paul Ryan. Biden’s aggressive approach, which included smirking and laughing, got a mixed reaction from debate watchers.

According to the Associated Press:

“Biden mockingly smiled, wagged his finger and couldn’t seem to stop interrupting Republican running mate Paul Ryan. ‘With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey,’ Biden said at one point, during an exchange on foreign policy. Democrats cheered his sharp tone in the only vice presidential debate. Republicans panned the vice president as disrespectful to his younger opponent.”

The GOP latched onto Biden’s demeanor and dubbed the vice president’s performance an “embarrassment,” according to The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez.

“The early word from the GOP side after Thursday night’s debate was that Vice President Biden ‘embarrassed himself’ in the face-off by interrupting his opponent and laughing openly.

“‘The vice president has found other forums in which to embarrass himself, and I think he found one more forum in which to embarrass himself,’ said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), chairman of the House GOP conference.

“‘I’m talking about the fact that the vice president of the United States, who didn’t know his facts, could not decide whether or not to giggle, shout, and he settled for interrupting all evening. … Maybe he didn’t realize there was a split screen and people were taking turns in order to have their views known,’ he added.”

The reaction to Biden’s smirk was varied more on Twitter, as Natalie Jennings points out:

“Joe Biden certainly seems to be having more fun in the debate stage than his running mate was last week. But the smile he has worn off and on throughout the debate is getting mixed reaction from debate watchers.”

Karl Rove (@KarlRove): Biden doing best imitation of Al Gore 00. Snickers, grimaces, and exaggerated gestures. #debate

Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan): Wow. Biden is radiating a lethal smirk...#PMTdebate

Sam Youngman (@samyoungman): People who like Biden will think this is the greatest debate ever. Folks who don’t will find him at his most obnoxious.


- Live Chat, Friday at Noon ET: Who won?

- Biden looks to make up for Obama’s stumble

- Too much ‘malarkey’?

- VIDEO: The debate in two minutes

- Dissecting their arguments

- FACT CHECKER: How accurate were Ryan’s claims about Iran?



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