After a disappointing debate last week that left Obama on the ropes and Romney with a bit of a surge, the Vice Presidential debate featured strong performances by both candidates.
Just as he did in his speech to the Republican Convention, Paul Ryan strayed rather far from the truth. But this time Joe Biden was on stage, and wasn’t putting up with it.
He called out his younger, less experienced colleague on every falsehood – sometimes interrupting him to do it. It was a forceful, dramatic performance that won him the night.
Best tweet goes to Bill Maher:
Hello 9 1 1? There s an old man beating a child on my tv
The fact-checkers will be busy, but since we’re a political blog I’ll just comment on the way Ryan doubled-down on Romney’s multiply-debunked whoppers on green energy.
And I’ll add that one of the most egregious things the GOP has done in the past four years has been to block most jobs programs – when the vast majority of economists agree that what you need in a deep recession is government stimulus spending. They’ve attacked the few jobs programs that did get passed. And now they harp on unemployment – where did this come from? Why is the unemployment rate still so high?
When moderator Martha Raddatz asked Ryan point-blank when a Romney/Ryan administration would get the unemployment rate down to 6%, Ryan – dodged. And weaved into an attack on the successful Obama stimulus.
MS. RADDATZ: When could you get it below 6 percent?
REP. RYAN: That’s what our entire premise of our pro-growth plan for a stronger middle class is all about: getting the economy growing at 4 percent, creating 12 million jobs over the next four years. Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus, and — and the vice president was in charge of overseeing this, $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. There are just at the Department of Energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been launched into just how –
We debunked that first falsehood in the aftermath of the first debate (see: Romney’s $90 billion lie about green jobs and Solyndra).
But the other bit, that’s a whole new lie, and it sure sounds bad… taken out of context. What’s this about “100 criminal investigations”?
In an interview after the hearing, Friedman said the IG office is also looking into DOE’s use of thousands of outside contractors, federal money being diverted for personal use, false data in grant and loan applications, conflicts of interest and incomplete and inferior work from DOE weatherization grant winners.
[They involved]… ”various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds.”
So, what are we talking about here? Out of 15,000 applications in the various programs, some individuals may have fudged the truth a bit (something Paul Ryan surely must be familiar with). Some of the contractors performed shoddy work.
100 out of 15,000. OMFG. The scandal!
Biden hit back by asking pointedly, if these programs were so terrible and such a waste, and didn’t create any jobs… why did Ryan apply to DOE for two big grants for his own district?
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This is such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, the reason we need this stimulus – it will create growth and jobs. He — his words. And now he’s sitting here looking at me — and by the way, that program — again, investigated — what the Congress said was, it was a model: less than four-tenths of 1 percent waste or fraud in the program. And all this talk about cronyism — they investigated, investigated; did not find one single piece of evidence. I wish he would just tell — be a little more candid.
REP. RYAN: Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland or on windmills in China?
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Let me tell you it was a good idea. It was a good idea — Moody’s and others said that this was exactly what we needed that stopped us from going off the cliff. It set the conditions to be able to grow again.
When you got nothing, it’s always fun to blame China (even though the project that would have gotten windmills from China… wasn’t one of the projects that was approved… but that hasn’t stopped Ryan/Romney from bringing it up over and over).
An American car company, Fisker Automotive, got federal loan guarantees and later manufactured cars in Finland, but the federal support the company received wasn’t funded by the stimulus. Meanwhile, the loans went toward engineering and design that happened in the United States. As for the windmills in China, it’s true that a small number of windmills and components to build them came from China. But the statement greatly exaggerates China’s role in the overall use of stimulus money. We rated Ryan’s statement Mostly False.
And Biden got the last word, with a nice little dig:
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And by the way, any letter you send me I’ll entertain.
Let’s hope that a year from now, Congressman Ryan sends Vice President Biden nice letters asking for twenty grants from a new stimulus bill. I’d be okay with his district getting every one of ‘em, as long as he lets the rest of the country create some green energy jobs as well.