WASHINGTON WATCH ROUNDTABLE: Breaking Down The Vice Presidential Debate (VIDEO)

Remember that nice lead President Obama had coming out of the Democratic Convention? Gone. Now it’s Mitt Romney leading in the national polls – or, some national polls – though the President still has a narrowing lead in key battleground states and a bit bigger lead in Ohio.

Now, all eyes were on the V.P. debate in Danville, Kentucky, between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan. When it was over, both men did what they had to do. The Vice President was tough and passionate and reenergized the Democrats, who were near panic after the President’s poor debate performance the week before. Congressman Ryan – he wasn’t the scary person the Obama campaign had made him out to be, and he scored some good points; but I believe he was outscored by the more experienced political fighter, Vice President Joe Biden.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC; Angela Rye, executive director and general counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus; Armstrong Williams, political commentator and host of “The Right Side”; and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist and founder and Thought Leader at Last Word Productions.

 

Remember that nice lead President Obama had coming out of the Democratic Convention? Gone. Now it’s Mitt Romney leading in the national polls – or, some national polls – though the President still has a narrowing lead in key battleground states and a bit bigger lead in Ohio.

Now, all eyes were on the V.P. debate in Danville, Kentucky, between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan. When it was over, both men did what they had to do. The Vice President was tough and passionate and re- — and actually energized – or, reenergized the Democrats, who were near panic after the President’s poor debate performance the week before. Congressman Ryan – he wasn’t the scary person the Obama campaign had made him out to be, and he scored some good points; but I believe he was outscored by the more experienced political fighter, Vice President Joe Biden.

Now, let’s see what our panel has to say – our roundtable – to see if they actually agree. But first, check this out.

[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP.]

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN: We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. What did Romney do? Romney said, “No, let Detroit go bankrupt.” We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, “No, let foreclosures hit the bottom.”

But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax.

They’re pushing a continuation of a tax cut that will give an additional $500 billion in tax cuts to 120,000 families.

REP.PAUL RYAN: A debt crisis is coming. We can’t keep spending and borrowing like this. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have. Leaders run to problems to fix problems. I passed two budgets to deal with this. Mitt Romney’s put ideas on the table. We’ve got to tackle this debt crisis before it tackles us.

After my dad died, my mom and I got Social Security survivors benefits. She paid all of her taxes on the promise that these programs would be there for her. We will honor this promise, and the best way to do it is reform it for my generation. You see, if you reform these programs for my generation – people 54 and below – you can guarantee they don’t change for people in or near retirement.

[END OF VIDEO CLIP.]

MR. MARTIN: Now, what difference did the debate make, and what does the President have to do to win his debate on Tuesday?

We’re talking about that today with our “Washington Watch” roundtable: Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge, a Democratic PAC – super PAC – whichever one; Angela Rye, executive director and general counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus; Armstrong Williams, political commentator and host of “The Right Side”; and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist and founder and Thought Leader at Last Word Productions.

All right, folks. Let’s get right into it.

I saw some of the analysis after. Some of the polls said, “Biden won.” “Ryan won.” Other folks said it was a draw. I didn’t see draw. I thought strong by both. I thought Vice President Biden won the debate on points.

What say you?

DR. JULIANNE MALVEAUX: I say he cleaned that poor chile’s clock.

[CHUCKLING.]

DR. MALVEAUX: I mean Bill Maher put a tweet up that said, “Call 9-1-1. An old man is beating a child” – [chuckles] –

[CHUCKLING.]

DR. MALVEAUX: — “at the playground.”

Biden was masterful. I think the closing argument said it all. He talked about the 47 percent. He talked about those of us – because there’s many of us who receive these programs that Mr. Romney continues to denigrate. Whether your momma gets Social Security, you get a Pell grant, or something else, there’re lots of people who get government programs.

[Unintelligible] – the contrast of Mr. Ryan looked like the child who was trying to win the debate to run for student body president.

OFF CAMERA: You know, I –

DR. MALVEAUX: You know, he just kept saying, “I need your vote.” “I want your vote.”

Why?

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: You know –

DR. MALVEAUX: He didn’t tell me why.

MR. WILLIAMS: — I – I – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN: Armstrong, your tweet was a little bit different.

MR. WILLIAMS: — I’m a little surprised that you refer to him as a “child.” He was very adult. He may not have won the debate. He didn’t need to win the debate.

MR. MARTIN: Let’s keep in mind also the Romney kids keep calling the President – called him an “obstinate boy,” so that reference has been used several different times.

MR. WILLIAMS: Look. I – I think –

DR. MALVEAUX: And a child is a child.

MR. WILLIAMS: — I – I think candidate Ryan acquitted himself very well. I think he made the case that the way to stimulate the economy and to get the economy growing is through small businesses. You lower taxes. Obviously, businesses will hire more. It will lead to higher salaries, and you can create those several million jobs that he spoke of. I – I think it’s clear between the two what they stand for – whether you want to have more trickle-down government to save the economy, or whether you want to go to the private sector with less regulation. I think –

MR. MARTIN: But, Armstrong, here’s –

MR. WILLIAMS: — he made –

MR. MARTIN: — the problem –

MR. WILLIAMS: — the case.

MR. MARTIN: — though. When he was pressed even on the tax plan –

OFF CAMERA: Um-hum!

MR. MARTIN: — he still could not explain “how do you get to the number?” and at the e- — I mean Raddatz tried to give [him] an opportunity. He told Chris Wallace, ‘We don’t have much’ – ‘We don’t have enough time to do it.” It was a 90-minute debate. He still couldn’t offer specifics to explain “how do you get there?”

MS. ANGELA RYE: He literally –

DR. MALVEAUX: And you know what?

MS. RYE: — regurgitated a script. “There is a five-point plan.” He went through the five points. It was very rehearsed. You could literally see his mind, like, going, like, off – off script. And as soon as he was challenged, even by the slightest bit from the Vice President, you could see him waffling and wavering.

So, I respectfully disagree with you. I do think he knew his talking points, and that’s great. However, talking points don’t win a debate. Facts do. And that’s why –

OFF CAMERA: Even – [crosstalk] –

MS. RYE: — there was a hash tag “factsmatter” all last night.

MR. RODELL MOLLINEAU: I – I think that sometimes in Washington, a narrative takes hold. I think we all need to dissuade ourselves of this notion that Congress[man] Ryan is this serious man. He’s a career politician. He’s been in Washington, D.C., for half of his life. This is the same person who talks about the budgets and how we have to do something, and the deficits.

He was there during the Bush years, two wars, the prescription drug d- — benefit, the taxes. He didn’t lift one finger to stop any of those things as we were racking up debt. And this is the same guy who –

MS. RYE: In fact, he voted –

MR. MOLLINEAU: — [crosstalk] –

MS. RYE: — for them.

MR. MOLLINEAU: — for them. Exactly. This is the same guy. He has this Ryan budget. As soon as – you know, and this is the thing he’s been proud of. Not just these two years. I mean he’s been pushing this for the last six years when he was in Congress. He gets on this ticket. That goes away. We’re not talking about the Ryan –

MS. RYE: Yeah.

MR. MOLLINEAU: — budget anymore.

So, you know, the fact that he – you know, I think he’s a very skilled orator that’s good around a Power Point, but the fact that he’s this serious man – or, this narrative that he’s serious – this serious man – I think that’s false.

[CROSSTALK.]

DR. MALVEAUX: You’re very generous. I don’t think that he’s a serious orator at all.

Here’s what I think. This man does not even know arithmetic. I mean when you talk about you’re not going to lower this, you’re not going to lower that, but you’re going to raise all this – let’s just put this in context. This is not arithmetic. I’m not talking about calculus. I’m not talking about higher mathematics. I’m talking about simple, put your pencil out – and an eraser – and say, “You can’t raise these costs, keep things constant, and things will lower.”

I understand what Armstrong is saying about this whole private sector – lower the costs on the private sector, but we have not seen that. And, in fact, Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who writes for “The New York Times,” has talked about looking at other economies. And what you find is you cannot cut, cut, cut and expect the economy –

MR. WILLIAMS: Well, you know what?

DR. MALVEAUX: — to push back.

MR. MARTIN: Armstrong?

MR. WILLIAMS: That’s not true. We saw it with Kennedy, when he lowered taxes – what happened to the economy. We saw it in – with Reagan, and we saw it in 2003, as Ryan pointed out during the debate.

You know, it’s almost as if –

OFF CAMERA: But –

MR. WILLIAMS: — we’re talking about two, different Americas here when we listen to this debate. Obviously, the American people are finding something in what Romney is saying and what Ryan is saying that is appealing to them –

MS. RYE: No, they’re not!

MR. WILLIAMS: — that – and – and it’s the reason why there’s been –

MS. RYE: No, they’re not.

MR. WILLIAMS: — a drastic change –

MS. RYE: And –

MR. WILLIAMS: — in the poll numbers.

MS. RYE: — but I think you said something that’s so telling. And it’s right. You’re absolutely right. There are two, different Americas. And 47 percent of those people in that other America will not be represented by that vice president or the vice pr- —

MR. WILLIAMS: They represent –

MS. RYE: — presidential candidate.

MR. WILLIAMS: — everyone.

MS. RYE:No, they will not!

MR. WILLIAMS: Their policies –

[CROSSTALK.]

MS. RYE: They have said –

MR. WILLIAMS: — [crosstalk].

MS. RYE: — themselves – they’ve been caught on the record saying that the 47 percent –

DR. MALVEAUX: They have –

MS. RYE: — that – they’re –

DR. MALVEAUX: — denigrated half of the American people. They have put half the American people down. They have said people who earned veterans benefits, who earned Social Security, who earned unemployment – earned – not just put their hands out there; earned these things – they’re unwilling or unable or unworthy of attention!

MR. MOLLINEAU: And I don’t want to gang up on Armstrong, but you did –

MR. WILLIAMS: Please do.

MR. MOLLINEAU: — mention – but you did – [chuckles] – mention Pre- — President Kennedy, and you talked about lowering taxes. The part that you forgot was that President Kennedy – Kennedy also made strong investments in this country, strong investments in the middle class, while he was lowering those taxes. And I don’t see that from a Governor Romney, because he believes that the top percent – and those – and he actually believes this. He believes that the job creators come from the top 1 percent. And I think that’s one biggest – one of the biggest lies in Washington –

MR. MARTIN: I’m glad –

MR. MOLLINEAU: — D.C.

MR. MARTIN: — I’m glad you brought up job creators –

MR. MOLLINEAU: Yeah.

MR. MARTIN: — because I want to play something that was a key point in the debate as well. And so let’s talk about the stimulus.

[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP.]

VICE PRES. BIDEN: I have – I’m not allowed to show letters, but go on our website. He sent me two letters saying, “By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?”

We sent millions of dollars. You know why he said he –

MS. MARTHA RADDATZ: You did ask –

VICE PRES. BIDEN: — needed –

MS. RADDATZ: — for stimulus money.

VICE PRES. BIDEN: — sure he did!

MS. RADDATZ: Correct?

VICE PRES. BIDEN: By the way he –

REP. RYAN: On two occasions –

VICE PRES. BIDEN: — he took the –

REP. RYAN: — we’ve – we – we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants.

VICE PRES. BIDEN: — [chuckles].

REP. RYAN: That’s what we do. We do that for all constituents who –

VICE PRES. BIDEN: I love that.

REP. RYAN: — apply for grants.

VICE PRES. BIDEN: 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 the stimulus [is] it will create growth and jobs.”

[END OF VIDEO CLIP. CHUCKLING.]

MR. MARTIN: Now, tha- — that’s kind of an important point because, first of all, 40 percent of the stimulus bill were tax cuts – 40 percent of it. And so how can you sit there as a congressman and criticize a stimulus bill and say, “What did it do for jobs?” when you actually signed a letter specifically saying, “This is going to be able to generate jobs”?

MR. WILLIAMS: But I think –

MR. MARTIN: He looks like a hypocrite.

MR. WILLIAMS: — i- — it illustrates a deeper point, though, which Julianne may agree with me on. When we talk about the – what the Federal Reserve is doing with QE3 – or, QE ad infinitum, while that money is stimulating Wall Street and the big banks, it’s doing nothing for the average American. What Ryan and Biden are both guilty of [is] they’ve continued to benefit from the system –

MR. MARTIN: But Armstrong –

MR. WILLIAMS: — and they get this –

MR. MARTIN: — [crosstalk] –

MR. WILLIAMS: — money, but that money –

MR. MARTIN: — but Armstrong –

MR. WILLIAMS: — th- — but it doesn’t benefit –

MR. MARTIN: — but Armstrong –

MR. WILLIAMS: — the real economy –

MR. MARTIN: — but A- — but Armstrong –

MR. WILLIAMS: — for the people who’re –

MR. MARTIN: — first –

MR. WILLIAMS: — really struggling.

MR. MARTIN: — Armstrong – [crosstalk] –

DR. MALVEAUX: [Crosstalk.]

MR. WILLIAMS: It’s not.

MR. MARTIN: — [crosstalk]. Economists laid out that we had about a million jobs that were saved as a result of the stimulus bill.

DR. MALVEAUX: And that’s – you know –

MR. WILLIAMS: I want to know where are those –

DR. MALVEAUX: — that’s –

MR. WILLIAMS: — jobs.

DR. MALVEAUX: — no, that’s exactly –

MR. WILLIAMS: And most Americans –

DR. MALVEAUX: — the point.

MR. WILLIAMS: — are.

DR. MALVEAUX: Yes, they are, because some of them are those people whose jobs were saved. They are teachers who thought they were going to lose their jobs, and they kept their jobs. They’re people in Ohio who got stimulus money through the GM and other bailouts, who now – you know that if 2,000 jobs were created through the stimulus, that means 5200 more jobs just — let’s ratchet [it] up. Two thousand jobs –

MR. WILLIAMS: Right.

DR. MALVEAUX: — in a[n] automobile manufacturing company, 5200, and those things – [unintelligible] – work it out.

But let me just say one more thing – [crosstalk].