What a Nice Young Man That Paul Ryan Is

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 15 2012 10:49 AM

What a Nice Young Man That Paul Ryan Is

WAUKESHA, Wis. -- Republicans vigorously spun the outcome of the vice presidential debate, arguing that Joe Biden's demeanor -- more than anything that was said -- should have been the story. In the wider universe, it's not clear that this worked. You meet voters who were put off by Biden. You meet voters who quote his best lines. The CBS News and Ipsos-Reuters polls gave Biden clear wins, though, so it's hard to say that voters are rejecting Biden's demeanor.

But that's the story and they're sticking too it. Patti Lee, a 61-year old grandmother from Union Grove, compared Biden to some kind of abusive boss. "Every woman has had a man talk like that to her," she said. "He was pushy, he leaned over and demeaned Ryan. I think a lot of women were turned off."

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The party leaders found new ways to emphasize that. "Paul behaved the way he was raised," said the candidate's brother, Tobin Ryan. "He listened. He was respectful. He conducted himself with dignity." Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch went with the RNC's take: Biden laughed not at Ryan, but at you. "When Paul Ryan wanted to talk about the threat of nuclear war in this world, Joe Biden laughed."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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