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.