Pardon the Interruption: The VP Debate Diary…A Real-Time Analysis of Biden-Ryan

Free of spin, focus groups and Twitter analysis, here’s my real-time assessment of the Vice Presidential Debate in Kentucky last night.

8:58 PM: Go to MSNBC. Verizon FIOS channel guide says show is hosted by David Shuster, who hasn’t been with MSNBC in over two years.

8:59 PM: Sharpton knows guys like me may be flipping back and forth between the NFL and the debate, proceeds to state that Paul Ryan will have to be carried off stage on a stretcher. Awkward silence ensues…

9:00 PM: Martha Radditz isn’t looking into the camera during the intro, but off to her right. No producer to yell “Camera 2, Martha!”

9:03 PM: Radditz leads with Libya. Given war correspondent experience, first question makes sense. Biden gets first question, quickly pivots to Iraq, doesn’t answer question if deaths in Libya of four Americans is an intelligence failure. Pivots then to Bin Laden killing…that didn’t take long.

9:05 PM: Ryan calls out intelligence failure over security and blaming attack on video. Points out that Paris consulate has better security than Benghazi.

9:07 PM: Biden’s chuckles, teeth somehow whiter than usual, mutters “not true” when Ryan answers question around Romney initial response to Libya attack. Memories of Gore’s sighs in 2000 come to mind.

9:08 PM: Biden calls Ryan response malarkey. Looks like calling Ryan/Romney liars on every point appears to be the strategy for the next 92 minutes…

9:09 PM: Radditz is having none of Biden’s response, presses Biden on administration’s story around security and protest getting out of control in Libya.

9:12 PM: Conversation moves to Iran. Biden glaring at Ryan on answer around expanded nuke capability; definitely here to be the opposite of Obama in terms of demeanor…

9:14 PM: I don’t like the sitting format. Both Biden and Ryan are speaking to Radditz, not each other. Romney scored big points in speaking to Obama while President looked down. We’re not going to get that from each side here.

9:16 PM: If you’re playing a drinking game around Biden calling Ryan a “friend”, you’re two shots in.

9:17 PM: Ryan calls refers to The View as a “daily talk show”. Joy Behar calls View booker, demands Ryan be blacklisted.

9:18 PM: Biden utters an “Oh God”, when Ryan makes point on Iran.

9:19 PM: Biden answers question directed to Ryan. VP trying to do what Romney did to Lehrer and take control of debate…

9:22 PM: Conversation switches to economy. Radditz calls out Obama/Biden on 6% unemployment pledge if stimulus is passed.

9:23 PM: Biden plays “inherited from Bush” card on economic conditions, works in 47% zinger into a debate for the first time. For those scoring at home, that’s 114 minutes of debate time before Romney’s biggest liability is mentioned.

9:25 PM: Biden: “My friend”. Third shot. Feeling buzzed.

9:26 PM: Ryan hits Biden on unemployment rate in VP’s hometown of Scranton, PA (10% vs. 8.5% when he took office).

9:28 PM: Ryan ready for 47% line with best zinger of the night: “I think the Vice President knows that sometimes the words don’t always come out the right way.”

9:31 PM: Biden’s snickers and chuckles smiles are becoming distracting. Not sure what the post-debate analysis will be, but the same approach by Gore was roundly booed by pundits. Angry Biden ain’t Uncle Joe…

9:32 PM: Biden: “My friend.” We’re approaching a six-pack. Biden hits Ryan on taking stimulus money for Wisconsin on two occasions. Effective jab by the VP…

9:34 PM: 13-10 Titans. Yes, I flipped over for 1.2 seconds.

9:36 PM: Biden appeals directly to seniors, says they should ask themselves if they have more benefits. Uncle Joe has entered the stage.

9:40 PM: OK, I’ll say it: Biden’s constant interrupting and smiling makes him look petulant and small. This isn’t working. Die-hards may like it, but independents have to be turned off.

9:42 PM: Argument over social security ensues. Biden aligns Ryan with Bush after comparing him to Palin. We’re gonna party like it’s 2008!

9:45 PM: Discussion moves on to taxes. Biden’s class-warfare answer is utterly confusing.

9:47 PM: Biden and Ryan are wearing blue and red ties, respectively. Is this decided beforehand? Can someone find out?

9:47 PM: Ryan mentions Jack Kennedy on tax-cutting issue. Biden: “You’re Jack Kennedy now?”

Somewhere, Dan Quayle is hiding under a pile of coats, praying the Bentsen line isn’t used again.


9:48 PM: Radditz hits Ryan on specifics around deductions, but hasn’t admonished Biden on interruptions yet. We’ll hear about Radditz getting pushed around in the same way Democrats complained about Lehner. on it.

9:52 PM: Ryan isn’t addressing Biden eye-to-eye. Should be doing that more…it worked for his boss.

9:56 PM: Biden angrily corrects Radditz on defense recommendation assertion. Is anyone safe?

9:57 PM: With 60 million watching (just a guess), wouldn’t it make sense to use charity websites as the stage background? Could you imagine the money that could be raised with that kind of audience? Just sayin’…

10:00 PM: We’ve hit the one hour mark. “My friend” hits #5, on pace for 7.5. Call in sick tomorrow if you’re playing along.

10:01 PM: Biden says we’re leaving Afghanistan in 2014. Period.

10:02 PM: Ryan says its 2014 isn’t an absolute date but hopeful it can happen. Will reassess conditions in 2013…

10:04 PM: Biden now debating Radditz again. Is the camera guy next?

10:05 PM: Ryan explains fighting seasons. Important subject, but outside of Biden vs. Radditz, the air left the room five minutes ago.

10:07 PM: Syria is now on the docket. Milk was a bad choice, so was choosing Radditz to moderate a debate where the economy and debt are the most pressing issues of the campaign.

10:10 PM: 1-1 Yanks, 16-10 Titans. Checked during a bathroom break.

10:11 PM: My friend #6. Still on pace for 7.5…

10:13 PM: Curious where the final 17 minutes goes in terms of topics. North/South Korea? Mexico border? Way too much international, not enough domestic…

10:14 PM: Radditz says we’re returning home for the remainder of the debate. PBS background when she’s on camera is too, um, dark. This debate could be taking place in my Hoboken apartment.

10:16 PM: Abortion mentioned for the first time in 163 minutes of debate time, but interestingly wrapped the following way: “What role does your Catholic faith play in your views on abortion?”

10:17 PM: Uncle Joe is back when Biden explains his personal belief on abortion (pro-life) vs. what his position is as a lawmaker (pro-choice). Impressive balancing act…

10:19 PM: Biden: Two “my friend” references in one answer…and we’re at 8! Did Vegas have a line on this?

10:20 PM: In the Ryan bracket, we’re up to #3 on start to sentences with “You see,”.

10:21 PM: Biden plays the abortion-is-going-away-if-Romney-is-elected card.

10:22 PM: Radditz’s closing question focuses around dirty campaigning. Weak. What do you think Biden and Ryan are going to say? That they agree with mudslinging?

10:23 PM: Second 47% reference by Biden. Vegas had it at 4.5.

10:24 PM: Ninth “my friend” reference…

10:24 PM: Ryan runs off list of Obama broken promises. Effective last word before closing statements… Amazingly, Biden doesn’t interrupt.

10:26 PM: Already assessing how this debate will be spun afterwards. Quick thoughts: Biden came to fight, but tactics had to be a turnoff to independents. That’ll be the big story. Ryan was Ryan, didn’t get drawn into a street fight, and came armed with numbers as expected. Not sexy, not a knockout (like Romney) but narrowly won a sloppy fight. Whole event was more a turnoff if anything else…

10:30 PM: Appropriately, “my friend” hits an even ten.

10:32 PM: Biden thanks Radditz.

10:34 PM: Ryan thanks Radditz and Biden. Biden smirks back.

Biden will be the story tomorrow, and not in a positive way. Momentum stays with the GOP. Not increased, but definitely not reversed.

Follow Joe Concha on Twitter @ConchSports or email