With that one word, spoken in the opening minutes of the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden signaled he was fighting back. Biden gave the Democrats the debate they needed. He grabbed Paul Ryan by the scruff of his neck and gave him a thorough thrashing.
Biden pounced on Ryan for seeking to cut funding for embassy security, even as he played politics with the terror attack on our consulate in Benghazi. The Malarkey Moment surprised Ryan and energized Biden. Perhaps smelling blood in the water, Biden kept Ryan on his heels for the rest of the evening.
Ryan gulped water as Biden spoke, and Biden smiled (sometimes you could tell it was forced) as Ryan talked. And for all the times they called each other "my friend" and said, "with all due respect," both candidates had a tone of exasperation at times.
Biden hammered Ryan and Romney for sneering at a giant percentage of Americans. Ryan has called as many as 40% of our fellow citizens "takers." Yet he more than once spoke of his family's dependence on Social Security and Medicare. Biden wouldn't let him get away with it. Finally, it got to Ryan, who snarled, "I know you're under a lot of duress." Whoa, sonny-boy, watch the snark. You're getting your butt kicked, and it shows.
The Obama campaign released a photo of President Obama watching the debate. Good. The president was criticized for being too passive in the first debate. Some may criticize Biden for being too aggressive in this one. So be it. But I loved his performance, and I bet the president did as well.
By Paul Begala