While I normally try to avoid the networks news void that their morning shows have become, there were two interviews on the Today Show well worth watching. First up was Joe Biden talking about Obama and Romney at Hofstra; then came Paul Ryan. (Both interviews are embedded at the link.) The contrast couldn't be greater.
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Savannah Guthrie spoke with Biden Wednesday morning. Guthrie was respectful, but did ask some questions that reflected the tougher moments of the debate. Biden was relaxed, assured, and straightforward; no dodging or weaving. All good answers and all answers that back up Obama. When Guthrie asked about his smiling and laughing during his debate with Ryan, Biden gave another good answer. He likes Ryan, but he just couldn't help himself upon hearing the absurd stuff Ryan was saying. See for yourself below, about 5 and a half minutes long after a short commercial.
Matt Lauer followed up with an interview with Paul Ryan. Lauer started out with a straightforward question, and you can see Ryan in full Eddie Haskell mode. Then Lauer put on his serious journalist glasses and started boring in - where are the details for the economic plan? Ryan came back with the "six studies" malarkey and kept dodging and weaving to avoid giving any details. Lauer followed up with a question about what Ryan would say to the family of the slain ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. Ryan did his best to go back to the GOP script on the issue, including the allegations about Al Qaida being in Libya and the President not calling it a terrorist attack until two weeks later.
Watching Ryan respond to questions is interesting. You can see him freeze for a second, run through the memorized spin in his mind, and then start spewing it out. The tells are there. You can see his Adam's apple bobbing up and down as though he desperately needs a drink. See for yourself below, after a brief commercial. It's about 5 minutes and 15 seconds long. Then there's a missing 15 seconds at the end of the interview which will be discussed below.
Now for some reason, NBC has omitted the last question Lauer asked, a softball to end the interview on a lighter note. Lauer tried to pin Ryan down on who's going to win the big football game about a week after the election: Wisconsin, or Ohio State? You can see Ryan is caught completely off guard, and while he's laughing, he's also flailing to avoid offending either Ohio or Wisconsin voters. It's a revealing moment, when Ryan doesn't have a memorized answer to fall back on, a con man with the rug pulled out from under him. It captures the essence of the Romney-Ryan campaign; no core principles, just marketing when all is said and done.
Fortunately, Dylan Stableford at Yahoo News makes the catch and has the video here, along with some reaction.
"It's a terrible answer," Lauer said, laughing. "But it's OK, I'm out of time—you're lucky."You can argue all you want about style over substance, but it's pretty clear here which side has style AND substance.
Wisconsin Democrats, though, pounced, firing off a press release that included a statement from Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate:In Wisconsin, we are Badgers, not weasels--but not when it comes to Paul Ryan, who can't even give a straight answer when it concerns his home-state football team. He roots for the Steelers over the Packers. He won't rally for Bucky when it comes to the Buckeyes. Good thing the Chicago Bears aren't in a swing state, or we'd see him, hat backwards, wearing a Jay Cutler jersey.Seventh-ranked Ohio State is 7-0 and leading the Big Ten with a 3-0 conference record. Wisconsin is 5-2 and third in the Big Ten at 2-1.