America learned Thursday night in Danville, Kentucky that the F-word in Joe Biden’s famous “big f***ing deal” was actually “filibustering”and moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News let him get away with it time after time.
The 2012 vice presidential debate was sometimes a 2-on-1 fight, with Biden and moderator Martha Raddatz both interrupting Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan repeatedly. It was hard to top Biden’s obnoxious tone, though. The Washington Examiner quoted the RNC’s JoePounder saying “Biden interrupted 82 times during the entire debate.” To those watching on television, that seemed like a low number.
Raddatz took a liberal tack on abortion and let Biden control the debate tone by never shutting up. He led Ryan on time by 1 minute 20 seconds, 41:32 to 40:12, but it was doubtful that the debate clock could track every Bidenism. CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Biden managed to “continually inject himself” into Ryan’s comments. Cooper, too, was living in the land of understatement.
Even the post-debate CNN panel criticized Biden’s continual interruptions, facial expressions and laughter, giving the style portion of the debate to Ryan.
But not all news outlets were equally critical. The Washington Post spun the debate as the candidates “interrupting and re-interrupting one another during a 90-minute exchange shaped by Biden’s aggressive tone.”
The Post added that “the debate’s dominant voice was Biden’s”and was only mildly critical that “in a few instances, he cut off his counterpart multiple times in the same answer.”
TheNew York Times raised the issue in careful terms, asking if Biden will be judged for his “style.” “Will his laughing, eye-rolling and interrupting beseen as too pushy, too aggressive, too disrespectful?” Or, by implication, will Ryan seem more presidential for not acting as childish as the vice president?
It was those uncontained interruptions that defined the debate. Raddatz’s passive tolerance of Biden’s massive number of interruptions was enhanced by her own periodic interruptions of Ryan. Despite this, CNN’s lefty host Soledad O’Brien called Raddatz’s performance “absolutely masterful,”a stunning departure from what the audience actually saw. Her fellow host Wolf Blitzer called the Raddatz performance “excellent, excellent.”
It was far from excellent. When Ryan pushed the point about useless government pork spent on green jobs, Raddatz interrupted him just as he was asking Biden about the alleged 5 million green jobs the administration had vowed to create.
In some ways Biden was classically Biden, demanding he “get equal time” despite getting more time and teaching Americans the Irish word for BS: “malarkey.” When Ryan schooled Biden on his countless interruptions, Ryan scored the biggest line of the night: “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way,” Ryan said to audience laughter.
Raddatz had come under fire from conservatives earlier in the week because of her ties to the Obama administration, with the president having attended her wedding several years ago. The media tried to discount that, but this is also the same reporter who said in May,“let's face it, Hillary is cool. Trending.”
One thing is certain: If the GOP wins in November, Biden can always get a gig on ESPN as a host on “Pardon The Interruption.”
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can