A lively debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican rival Rep. Paul Ryan highlighted the differences in the two campaigns last night. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who played Ryan in the vice president’s debate prep, joins “Starting Point” to discuss both the style and substance of Biden’s performance.
“All in all this was a great debate for the American people and the choice is clear today,” Van Hollen says. The vice president “did a great job,” he adds, demonstrating his passion for middle class issues while marshaling “the facts to show that the Romney-Ryan plan would be really bad for the middle class.”
Van Hollen dismisses criticism from some journalists that Biden was disrespectful in his facial expressions by laughing and eye-rolling while Ryan spoke. “I think his passion came through. He cares about these issues, you could feel it,” Van Hollen says. “And there were times that Paul Ryan said things that, as the vice president said, were just ‘malarkey.’ Normal people react to those kinds of things.”
The Congressman also argues that Biden’s criticism of the Romney-Ryan tax plan and the Republican ticket’s voucher plan for healthcare were crucial in clarifying the presidential election.
The economy was a crucial issue in the vice presidential debate late Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan defending their positions on taxes, the deficit and economic policy. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics and author of “Paying the Price: Ending the Great Recession and Beginning a New American Century,” joins “Starting Point” to discuss the current U.S. economy and what the future might look like after the election.
The U.S. is “making progress," Zandi says. “Obviously we're not going anywhere fast. The economy is not improving fast enough to bring down that unemployment rate. But we are improving, and the best news, most recently is the housing market. The housing market has turned the corner and of course housing was ground zero for our problems. The fact that it's turning up is very positive news,” he says.
The chief economist also argues that “regardless of who wins the election” the economic recovery will continue to progress. “The unemployment rate peaked at 10% just about three years ago. We're now at 7.8%. I think it's very doable to get to 6% by the end of next president's term,” he adds.
Despite positive news for the economy, Zandi warns that the next president will need to address the fiscal cliff early in his term. “Either president has to lay out a credible path to deficit reduction to stabilize their debt load. If they can do that, and I think either president can, then our economy is going to, I think, get its groove back,” he says.
The heated battle on the campaign trail is showing no signs of letting up, with Congressman Paul Ryan adopting some of Mitt Romney's language in attacking the president last night, saying that Obama is running an election "based on anger and division."
The intensity of the campaign has increased since Vice President Biden told a crowd in Virginia that Republicans would put them all "back in chains."
The statement has received fierce backlash from the Romney campaign. Just last night, Rudy Giuliani delivered a blistering attack against Biden's competence, telling CNBC that the vice president is "just not very smart."
Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Emanuel Cleaver stops by Starting Point this morning to weigh in on criticism of Biden's remarks.
"It makes absolutely no sense that a little throwaway line is now being used to make Vice President Biden appear to be throwing out these words to somehow attract dumb African Americans who if they hear the words 'chains' are going to automatically vote for him and President Obama," Rep. Cleaver says.
Both the Romney and the Obama campaigns went on the offensive yesterday and the rhetoric has gotten uglier and uglier.
Mitt Romney called President Obama "angry and desperate" and a "disgrace," and the White House countered by suggesting that the former Massachusetts governor is becoming "unhinged."
Vice President Joe Biden lit the fuse on this latest firestorm, telling an audience in southern Virginia yesterday that, if elected, Romney would put the crowd "back in chains."
Governor Dannel Malloy responds to the controversy that Biden's comments caused on Starting Point this morning.
"The terminology you're talking about is in fact used in every day conversation and politics. You know, the Romney folks talked about unshackling the economy," Gov. Malloy says. "What we're talking about here is semantics. Whether you like the semantics or not, there is a reality that in the Ryan budget, financial controls get slashed. Wall Street gets unchained. That's a reality. Whether the semantics of the moment are appropriate, what we need to examine in this campaign is what is actually being advocated by the various candidates."
Governor Malloy also weighs in on the back and forth debate between the candidates about the ways that their respective plans will affect Medicare.
"To take 45 million Americans and put them on a voucher system as opposed to making sure that their benefits will be provided is utterly and fantastically ridiculous," Malloy says of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's plan. "[Ryan] doesn't want to talk about what he's actually proposed because what he has proposed is very scary to millions of Americans. You know, we're talking about putting a whole bunch of our senior citizens in the doughnut hole where their drug prescriptions won't be paid for... There are certain realities in the Ryan budget which they have to run away from. Why Ryan got chosen, I'm not sure."