A Former Obama Speechwriter Liveblogs the VP Debate


Real-time analysis of the meeting between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in Danville, Kentucky


10:30 p.m. Well this was quite a debate! I enjoyed the back and forth, and the table format made this very much like the angry Christmas dinner I was hoping for.

Conclusions: Biden was fiery and confrontational. Liberals will love it. Conservatives will hate it. As for those in between: I think some of the back and forth was a little hard-edged, but for the most part, Biden comes across as sincere, honest, and tough -- and that kind of energy really helped land some punches. I remember what Joe Biden said tonight. I don't remember what Paul Ryan said. That's not good in any debate; it's very bad in a vice-presidential debate -- when the point is to break through and make news that carries forward. Because ultimately this election isn't about these two people, it's about the two people they work for.

And on foreign policy, Paul Ryan was just out of his element, and Raddatz being the moderator meant there was a whole lot of foreign policy. As I said earlier, it was like Joe Biden speaking his native language, and Paul Ryan trying to remember what he learned on his flash cards. Not good for a guy auditioning for a job that's all about seeming ready for a job. Best sign of the night for those hoping this brought the debate scorecard to 1-1: The spin from Team Romney that's all about Biden's demeanor. Lame!

What a night. We learned, we laughed, we tweeted. And we're all tied up going into round three. See you next week!

10:05 p.m. Back to foreign policy. Now, Afghanistan. Paul Ryan struggling here for all the right reasons: Romney has tried to have it both ways for two years on this issue, and Paul Ryan is just not as good as his running mate as arguing two positions at once with equal conviction.

9:39 p.m. This debate is pretty fiery. I like it! Biden's 47 percent answer was exceptional. And I'm digging Biden's interruptions to point out inaccuracies. Because there are a fair number of them and they ought to be pointed out. Paul Ryan's impression of a fact-based policy wonk may work on the Beltway Bunch but it comes across as more stiff and disconnected to anyone whose name doesn't rhyme with Bavid Drooks. Which is good, because the impression is a dangerous one. Ryan sounds like a policy expert; he sounds like an honest broker; but the numbers don't add up. So good job, Americans: Don't listen to the suckered pundits!

Also, let's stop and appreciate when Paul Ryan brazenly accuses the president of cutting Medicare when he proposed the same changes. It's always amazing; let's never get used to it.

9:19 p.m. Foreign policy! Joe Biden is a lot more comfortable than Paul Ryan. Biden's answers on Iran have been very, very strong. Tough, steeped in facts. Ryan is trying to keep up and make some points, but he looks a little lost. It's like Paul Ryan just passed his Spanish language AP exam, and Joe Biden grew up bilingual.

8:45 p.m. Biden. Ryan. Rand. The vice-presidential debate is upon us! I'm going to liveblog right here because then I'm not just watching, I'm participating. And then we're all participating together.

The internet is like a family.

See you shortly!

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Jon Lovett is a writer based in Los Angeles. He previously served for three years as a speechwriter to President Obama in the White House.

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