Liberals are more pleased with moderator Martha Raddatz than conservatives are disappointed. And it’s easy to see why. Raddatz allowed Joe Biden to interrupt Paul Ryan repeatedly during the Vice Presidential debate, and interrupted Ryan herself, while posing questions that were radically in favor of the Obama team. Ryan overcame Raddatz’s bias and won the debate regardless, leaving less for conservatives to complain about.
Still, it is worth noting the facts. While the candidates’ speaking time was roughly equal–not counting crosstalk, Biden spoke for 38:25 and Ryan 37:27–Raddatz’s questions were not in any way a measure of equality. She hit the Republican no fewer than nine times with pointed questions that were either an attack on Romney/Ryan or a way to set up excuses for Obama.
The one time Raddatz confronted Biden, it was to ask him to elaborate on what he meant by “a bunch of stuff” in attacking Ryan’s honesty–setting Biden up to elaborate. That sole question is cited by Huffington Post as evidence of Raddatz’s even-handedness.
Here are Raddatz’s attacks:
Attack #1: Holding Ryan and Romney, not Biden or Obama, accountable for Libya statements.
I just want to talk to you about right in the middle of the crisis. Governor Romney — and you’re talking about this again tonight — talked about the weakness, talked about apologies from the Obama administration. Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis?
Here, Raddatz was providing cover for Biden, as she primed the topic of Libya by focusing on the intelligence gathered and what “people” said, rather than the Obama Administration’s lying about the cause of the attack:
What were you first told about the attack? Why were people talking about protests? When people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns, there were no protesters. Why did that go on for weeks?
Attack #2: Asking Ryan–and only Ryan–to respond to American misdeeds in war.
Mr. Ryan, I want to ask you about — the Romney campaign talks a lot about no apologies. He has a book called “No Apologies.” Should the U.S. have apologized for Americans burning Qurans in Afghanistan? Should the U.S. apologize for U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban corpses?
Attack #3: Asking what the Romney/Ryan team would do, but not Obama/Biden, about Iran.
How will you do it so quickly? Look, you both saw Benjamin Netanyahu hold up that picture of a bomb with the red line and talking about the red line being in spring. So can you solve this — if the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, can you solve this in two months before spring and avoid nuclear –
Attack #4: Asking Ryan specific questions on unemployment, while letting Biden avoid them.
Raddatz asked when each team expected to get unemployment below 6%, but then, after Biden was evasive, kept asking Ryan: “When could you get it below 6 percent?”
Attack #6: Attacking Ryan–and only Ryan–for past legislative stances,
While discussing Medicare, Biden brought up Social Security for a moment. Ryan responded, and then Raddatz suddenly turned to Ryan and accused, “You were one of the few lawmakers to stand with President Bush when he was seeking to partially privatize Social Security.”
Attack #7: Accusing Ryan of not offering “specifics”–and interrupting him:
“You have refused yet again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it, and that’s why you won’t tell voters?” After Ryan tried to explain, she cut him off, barking, “Do you have the specifics? Do you have the math? Do you know exactly what you’re doing?” She followed by interrupting him again, “No specifics, yeah.”
Attack #8: Falsely accusing Ryan of wanting to add to the defense budget.
Ryan tried over and over to explain that he and Romney weren’t increasing the defense budget, just not cutting it, but Raddatz was deaf to him. Thus:
Raddatz: And you’re going — and you’re going to increase the defense budget.
Ryan: Think about it this way.
Raddatz: And you’re going to increase the defense budget.
Attack #9: Asking Ryan, not Biden, about the implications of his stance on abortion.
Instead of asking Biden why his administration favors abortion-on-demand, Raddatz turned on Ryan:
I want to go back to the abortion question here. If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?
It’s sickening to think that the Republicans have to fight their opponents as well as the moderators in these debates. Those who were suspicious of Raddatz before the debate were absolutely correct.
It is a testament to Ryan’s success that he managed to maintain his composure and win a two-to-one battle, according to most polls.