Welcome to the Joe Biden Lie Detector – we’ll be updating this post throughout the debate and the aftermath. You can also follow along on Twitter for updates and spin-off debates by searching for #BidenLieDetector.
5:00 p.m EDT
Long before the Vice Presidential debate began, the Obama campaign tried to smear Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as a liar. It’s a “low-rent” tactic, an attempt to avoid debate–and a lie in itself, since Ryan is one of the most honest politicians in America. It’s also a classic case of psychological projection–since Vice President Biden has been a master of malarkey his whole life, and lied his way through the 2008 debate against Gov. Sarah Palin.
Tonight, Biden has promised to do better. He told reporters yesterday that he would not say “anything in the debate that’s not completely accurate.” So, we’re going to hold Uncle Joe to that 100% standard. Stay tuned.
7:55 p.m. EDT
The Obama campaign has been sending fundraising e-mails all day describing Paul Ryan as dishonest and touting Joe Biden’s truth-telling–all while subtly lowering expectations for the debate. The latest one, sent under Joe Biden’s own name, begins as follows:
I told Barack I have one mission tonight: tell the truth and stand up for what we believe in.
Our side is always going to win when we do that.
I can’t predict if Paul Ryan will follow Mitt Romney’s lead tonight, hiding and flat-out denying their unpopular ideas, or if he’ll come prepared to have a real debate about where this country should go.
Trust me, I’m ready for anything, but I can’t do this alone….
One of the reasons President Barack Obama lost last week’s debate was that Gov. Mitt Romney called him out on the Obama campaign’s lie about Romney’s “$5 trillion” tax cut. But it’s Romney and Ryan who are the liars?
More than an hour to go until the debate–and Biden’s lying already.
9:07 p.m. EDT
Biden turns a question on Libya into an answer on Iraq and Afghanistan. He attacks Romney for saying that we should have left 30,000 troops in Iraq. That was roughly Obama’s position in the 2008 campaign. His abrupt decision to pull all troops out–after the collapse of talks with the Iraqi government, in which Biden himself failed in his diplomacy–was against the advice of America’s military leaders and was purely political.
9:12 p.m. EDT
Biden says that President Obama has “gone out and repaired out alliances so that the rest of the world follows that again.” Tell that to Poland, Israel, the Czech Republic… he follows up that lie with a stark accusation that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan “bet against America all the time.”
Challenged by the moderator to explain the Libya debacle, Biden claims that the administration did not know that the attack on the consulate was a terror attack, repeating the administration’s false line on Libya. And doing so with conviction.
Ryan calls Biden on his lie about how there were no requests for extra security–though he does not address Biden directly.
9:15 p.m. EDT
Biden lies about Romney and Ryan’s position on Iran, saying that sanctions are as strong as they can possibly be (of course they are, if you ignore the waivers for Russia and China, and the fact–alluded to by Ryan–that the administration dragged its feet on sanctions). He states that Romney and Ryan would not do more than the Obama administration–and suggests that they would drag the U.S. into a war.
Responding on Israel, Biden tries to defend Obama’s failure to meet Netanyahu, calling Ryan’s charge of neglect “a bunch of stuff”–though it is, of course, true.
9:27 p.m. EDT
Biden claims the Obama administration rescued the auto industry, and that Romney said the auto companies should be allowed to go bankrupt. He neglects the fact that the Obama administration, too, took the industry through bankruptcy–after making sure its union friends were well looked after.
Biden also claims the administration passed a “middle class tax cut”–there was no such cut, at least in terms of tax rates, which is how the term “tax cut” is typically understood.
Biden goes after Ryan’s “30%” argument–as Breitbart News predicted he would–and leaves out what Ryan actually said. It’s an attack by proxy on Romney’s “47 percent” remark–and falls rather flat.
9:29 p.m. EDT
The GOP rapid response team replies to Biden’s claim that Ryan would have cut funding for embassy security by citing State Department testimony that budgetary constraints had nothing to do with the security deployments in Benghazi. As Ryan said, it was the specific denial of requests for more security personnel that were the problem. Both could also have added that Obama’s sequester proposal calls for embassy security cuts.
9:35 p.m. EDT
Biden claims that Ryan and his Republican colleagues helped create the deficit problem by voting for two wars on the “credit card.” Biden, of course, voted for both of those wars.
Biden also tries to blunt Ryan’s criticism of the stimulus by citing two letters that he wrote in support of grant seekers from his congressional district. He claims that Ryan praised the stimulus program and cited its potential for growth in those letters. There is no evidence that Ryan said any such thing.
9:37 p.m. EDT
Biden claims that Sarah Palin spoke about “death panels” in their Vice Presidential debate in 2008. A quick look at the transcript reveals she did no such thing.
9:41 p.m. EDT
Biden can’t handle the truth–he says “there’s not one Democrat” that supports Ryan’s Medicare reform plan. He denies that Ryan worked with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) or former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin. He mutters throughout Ryan’s response that they have disavowed Ryan’s plan. There is no evidence of that at all.
9:45 p.m. EDT
Biden misrepresents his and Obama’s tax plan, citing it as a tax on “millionaires” that would preserve tax cuts for the middle class. Of course, the tax hike would apply to households earning $250,000 or more, which includes many of the people who report small business income as personal income tax, and account for millions of jobs. This is an old lie, and Biden sticks to it.
9:48 p.m. EDT
Not a point on facts, but on style–Biden used his stature well earlier in the debate but appears to be damaging himself with his constant smirks, his interruptions, his chuckles and his general contempt for his opponent. This is a mistake that Al Gore made in 2000, and it’s surprising to see Biden doing it here. It’s losing the debate for him.
9:51 p.m. EDT
50 minutes into the debate, and Biden has used the word “malarkey” twice at least, by my count. It’s the “tell” that indicates who’s really lying.
9:57 p.m. EDT
It’s getting hard to keep track of the false things Biden says–and the number of true statements by Ryan to which Biden has offered false objections–because of the frequency of his interruptions. The moderator, Martha Raddatz, just teamed up with Biden to prevent Ryan from answering a question about his budget. It was an extraordinary exchange–or harangue–in which Ryan waited for his opponent to stop ranting.
Ryan could win on composure alone.
Biden’s behavior may impress the Ed Schultzes of the world, or people who think that he had to compensate for Obama’s poor substance last week by coming out with an aggressive style. But Biden has overcompensated, and many of the media comments on Twitter seem very worried about that.
10:01 p.m. EDT
Ryan calls out Biden’s false statement that the U.S. succeeding in its primary objective in Afghanistan. This is exactly what CBS News’ Lara Logan was talking about earlier this week when she said that the administration was lying about the progress it has made.
10:06 p.m. EDT
Biden is touting the devolution of military responsibility to “trained Afghan personnel” as evidence that the U.S. is succeeding. This is not just a false argument, but a stupid one, because of the striking increase in “green-on-blue” attacks in which those trained Afghan personnel kill our trained American personnel.
10:10 p.m. EDT
Biden says that Romney has not outlined his policy towards Syria, accusing him of offering mere “verbiage.” Perhaps he’s been too deep into reading Ryan’s Young Guns this week to notice that Romney outlined specific policies towards Syria in a special foreign policy address on Monday.
10:15 p.m. EDT
Biden persists with the false claim that Romney and Ryan have not spelled out what they would do differently on foreign policy issues such as Syria. Ryan, exasperated, repeats what he said about refusing to call Syrian dictator Bashar Assad a “reformer” while he is slaughtering his people–and adds, while agreeing with some of what the Obama administration has done, that he would not wait for Russia to give the green light at the UN. Biden’s response is that no one is looking to do things through the UN–a blatant lie. The UN is at the center of the Obama administration’s foreign policy–on Syria. Libya, and much else besides.
10:19 p.m. EDT
“That is a fact,” Biden says, as he concludes his lie about the Obama administration’s position on religious institutions being forced to provide insurance to cover conception.
He then adds a line about Ryan supporting a definition of “forcible rape” as opposed to “rape”–an attempt to tie Ryan to Todd Akin in Missouri, and also a lie that we debunked back in August.
10:23 p.m. EDT
Given an opportunity to rise above the negativity of the campaign, Biden merely repeats the Obama machine’s attack line–including the lie that Romney and Ryan would not ask the rich to pay their fair share. In fact, the rich already pay a disproportionate amount of tax–disproportionate even to their disproportionate wealth–and yet Romney and Ryan are not lowering their taxes.
10:27 p.m. EDT
Biden attacks Ryan’s budgets with a series of lies about the programs and funding that will be cut, as well as tax cuts that he proposes. Ryan points out that his budget does not actually cut government spending, but slows the rate of growth to 3%. He adds that not raising taxes is not the same thing as cutting taxes. Biden uses the line about voting for wars that were not paid for–and Ryan points out, amidst the crosstalk, that Biden voted for those wars.
10:29 p.m. EDT
Biden has complained–for the third or fourth time–that he is not receiving as much time to speak as Ryan. In fact, as CNN’s debate clock shows, Biden has had more time–over a minute more, in fact, and he has never had less time than Ryan throughout the debate.
10:34 p.m. EDT
Biden has, once again, lied through a debate–and he has also managed to smirk through it, betraying a contempt for his opponent that is almost disqualifying and that managed to outrage even friendly media.
10:50 p.m. EDT
The media commentary is focusing on two major Biden lies: one, that the Obama administration was never asked for more security in Benghazi (it was, as we now know from testimony to Congress this week); and two, that Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare do not cut benefits (they do, as Ryan pointed out in his response).