What to watch for in VP debate

Will the “Moderate Mitt” image survive an evening of Paul Ryan?

by Luiza Ch. Savage

1.  Can Mitt Romney’s recent incarnation as “Moderate Mitt” survive an evening of Paul Ryan?

Romney chose the Wisconsin congressman who chairs the House Budget Committe in part to appeal to the ideological conservatives in the Republican party and to signal a seriousness about spending cuts. Among other things, Ryan can expect to be pressed on his proposal to turn Medicare into a system of subsidies for the purchase of private insurance (which Democrats deride as “Vouchercare.”) But more broadly, it will be interesting to hear what tone Ryan strikes when discussing the proper role of government or divisive social issues.

2.  Can Joe Biden turn Moderate Mitt into Flip-Flop Mitt?

Romney had campaigned on repealing “Obamacare,” but in the Denver debate, he’d keep parts of Obama’s health care law, such as a guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions. His campaign later walked it back in part. Romney had campaigned on a tax cut for “everyone” including top income earners, but lately says he’d close enough loopholes so that the wealthy would pay just as much tax as they do today.  Romney had campaigned as a pro-lifer who would support a ban on federal funding for abortions, would reinstate a ban on funding for NGOs who perform or promote abortions, and support legislation for the rights of the unborn. But yesterday he told the Des Moines Register, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” It’s an opening for Biden.

3. Can Paul Ryan turn the Benghazi consulate attacks into a significant foreign policy liability for Obama-Biden?

Joe Biden has extensive experience in foreign policy (he is the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee); Paul Ryan does not. But the Obama administration is on the defensive over its handling of security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where armed attackers last month killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Congress has heard testimony that requests for beefed up security at the consulate were rejected by the State Department ahead of the attacks, and the White House has shifted its explanations of what happened – first they said it was a protest that escalated and later described the violence as a pre-planned terrorist attack. (Faulty intelligence is an emerging theme.)

The Denver debate was exclusively about domestic issues, but tonight foreign policy will be one of the topics and it will be interesting to see which candidate comes out with the upper hand.




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What to watch for in VP debate

  1. Regarding Question 3…

    1) Biden among those, including Obama, Clinton, and Susan Rice, all personally, to her face, lying to the mother of one of the dead Benghazi staffers, for the last month. A heartbreaking, devastating interview which aired on CNN last night.

    2) Obama campaign manager Stef Cutter a few minutes ago:

    Benghazi is only an issue because of Romney and Ryan. Which she shortly afterwards doubled down on with a tweet (now deleted)

    So…yeah. Benghazi will soon be renamed to Waterloo.

    Remind me again, cause I know how you guys love to talk about this…what was Romney’s gaffe that you all jumped on a month ago as soon as it was out of his mouth?

    • Benghazi is only an issue because of Romney and Ryan. That is true. Obama did nothing bad there. The Middle East is at war and no American, not even a war soldier in the Middle East can actually help that or destroy that fact. However, Obama has not said anything in opposition to the Romney-Ryan team about this meaning that the Republicans have a chance of stealing the race because of something that was not the Democrats’ fault, but they can paint it as such a thing.

    • No, Damascus will soon be renamed Waterloo. The war in Syria is more of the News than the war in Libya.

  2. Romney had campaigned on repealing “Obamacare” but in the Denver debate, he’d keep parts of Obama’s health care law, such as a guarantee of coverage for people with preexisting medical conditions. His campaign later walked it back in part.

    Walked it back “in part”? The Obama plan guarantees coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Romney SAYS he’ll protect people with pre-existing conditions, but his plan does NOTHING for people who don’t already have coverage. If you’re not allowing for uninsured people with pre-exisiting conditions to get insurance, I don’t understand how you can POSSIBLY say with a straight face that you’re protecting people with pre-exisiting conditions?

  3. @Luiza Ch. Savage

    @macleans.ca

    Stop liking the Republicans and start liking the Democrats.

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