The VP Debate: By The Numbers

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 11 2012 11:33 PM

Joe Biden Called Paul Ryan His "Friend" 14 Times, and Other Numbers From the VP Debate

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan participate in the vice presidential debate in Danville, Ky.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages.

Total speaking time during the 90-minute debate (by CNN's count): Joe Biden: 41 minutes, 32 seconds; Paul Ryan: 40 minutes, 12 seconds.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

How many times did Joe Biden say "my friend"? 15 times. Fourteen in reference to Ryan and once in reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


How many times did each candidate address the night's moderator, Martha Raddatz, by her first name? Biden 17, Ryan 3.

How many times did each candidate refer to the other man's running mate directly? Biden said Romney 26 times and referred to him as the governor another four times; Ryan said Obama 15 times and referred to him directly as the president another 5 times (and Obamacare another 10).

How many times did each candidate refer to their own running mate by name? Biden said Obama once but some form of "the president" in reference to his boss another dozen times; Ryan said Romney 21 times.

How many times was the word "malarkey" uttered? Three times. "With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey," Biden said the first time, before uttering it twice more later in the debate during the "stuff" exchange.*

How many times did each candidate say "fact" or "facts"? Biden 28 times; Ryan once.

How many times did each candidate say the word "literally"? Biden zero; Ryan zero.

(Tallies based on the Washington Post's live transcript.)

*Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the number of times Biden said the word "malarkey" during the debate.



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