Posted on | October 7, 2012 | 11 Comments
In a ludicrously shameless attempt to lower expectations for Thursday’s vice-presidential
debate beatdown, RNC chairman Reince Priebus calls Joe Biden “a gifted orator”:
“I think people realize that Joe Biden is a gifted orator. He’s very good at rhetoric. And I think he’s very relatable,” Priebus said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Reince — and everybody else on the planet — knows that Biden is a gaffe-prone dimwit who is likely to be humiliated by Paul Ryan.
Reince’s poor-mouthing of Ryan and risible praise of Biden reminds me of how University of Georgia coach Vince Dooley used to talk about upcoming games against lightly-regarded opponents: “Gosh, Larry, Vanderbilt has a really strong special teams unit and we can’t afford to take anything for granted against them.”
Then the Bulldogs would go out on Saturday and whomp Vandy 49-3, with Georgia’s third string playing the entire fourth quarter.
Same deal here: Reince is obligated, as a matter of professional courtesy, to pretend that Thursday’s debate is going to be competitive, but nobody believes it for a minute.
‘STATE OF THE UNION’ TRANSCRIPT (VIA CNN):
CROWLEY: I’m Candy Crowley. And this is State of the Union .
It was not unanimous, but there was overwhelming consensus among viewers and pundits that Mitt Romney shined in Denver ‘s debate season opener and the president did not. The New Yorker magazine summed it up with a cover cartoon of Romney debating an empty chair, the captain “Mitt Stands Alone.”
Campaigns are only as good as their last news cycle, so on to Danville , Kentucky , and Thursday night’s battle of the number twos.
Joining me now are Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, a long-time friend of Joe Biden, and Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, a confidant of Paul Ryan and a fellow cheese head. Mayor Nutter, stand by with me a minute, and I want to get to the party chairman, and we’ll be back with you.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us. I want to talk about the great burden of great expectations. There was a CNN/ORC poll, and we said who is going to win the vice presidential debate? And the answer was Biden, 39 percent, Ryan, 55 percent. So in many ways this mirrors what happened to the presidential debate. Everyone thought President Obama would win. So there’s great expectations here for Ryan.
How much of a microscope do you think there will be on him?
PRIEBUS: Well, I’m not so sure about that. I mean, I don’t dispute your polling there, but I think most people understand that Joe Biden has been debating for a long time, I mean, since the early 1900s he has been debating.
CROWLEY: This is a smart young man that he is debating. And he knows his stuff.
PRIEBUS: Right. Right. I think what you see, though, in some of that polling is that some of the, you know, Joe Biden as of late put his foot in his mouth a few times in very public ways. I mean, he said that the middle class was crushed under, you know, the policies of Obama and Biden, and he said some things that were problematic.
However, Paul is a smart guy. He has committed his life to understanding the problems of our economy, presenting a plan for the American people, so I think that Paul is going to do – he’s going to do a great job, but I also think it’s very important for people to understand, and I think people realize that Joe Biden is a gifted or orator. He is very good at rhetoric, and I think is he very relatable. So I think they are very two different people. And I think it’s going to be a great night.
CROWLEY: Have you talked to Ryan at all about his debate performance, what he needs to do, that kind of thing?
PRIEBUS: Well, sure.
I mean, Paul is one of my very good friends. I talk to Paul all the time about a lot of different things, But, you know, I think he is taking it very seriously. He’s prepared. But…
PRIEBUS: Well, sure. I think people — you know, I think both parties should be nervous. I mean, it’s a big night. It’s a big — it’s always going to be a big night.
CROWLEY: Do you think it makes a difference? I mean, there are a lot of people who say, look, VP debates, they’re just – they’re a side show. It’s all about these top guys. Do you think that Ryan has to keep the momentum going from what was widely seen as a Mitt Romney win in Denver?
PRIEBUS: We had a good week last week. There’s no doubt about it. We have to have a good week this week and the week after. So I think we take it one day at a time.
You know, I don’t know, I think that the VP debates are very important. You saw in our presidential primary season, Candy. I mean, we had, what, 22 debates. And at every one of these debates, whether it was on CNN or on Fox or whatever the station, we had broken records for a primary debate. People enjoy these debates. I would expect a lot of people to be watching. And I think Paul is going to do a great job, but I also think that Joe Biden is incredibly gifted when it comes to debating and understanding policy. And he is a good orator.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about — there’s a Colorado poll that came out — University of Denver poll that came out right after the debates, and it shows that Colorado is certainly a swing state, kind of shrinking. The lead of Barack Obama 47 percent, Mitt Romney, 43 percent. I want you to focus on this, someone else 4 percent.
How worried are you about the fact that Gary Johnson, as you know is a libertarian candidate, is probably going to be on all 50 ballots, and the conventional wisdom is he is going to draw from Mitt Romney. It makes a difference in Colorado . It makes a difference in Virginia. It will make a difference in North Carolina. Does that worry you?
PRIEBUS: No, it doesn’t worry me.
PRIEBUS: Because I think people understand that they’re not going to throw their vote away when we have an election here that’s about the future of America . So I don’t see that happening, Candy.
You know, this was a widely debated thing in 1980 with John Anderson, Gary Johnson is nowhere where…
CROWLEY: Sure, but Ross Perot made a difference.
CROWLEY: I think if you talk to the Bush campaign, they think that Ross Perot is why they lost.
PRIEBUS: Right. But we don’t have a third party candidate anywhere near the name recognition or the popularity of Ross Perot or John Anderson. I just don’t see that happening. In fact, I see that it’s almost a nonfactor, so I’m not worried about it.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about the new economic figures that came out. Unemployment dipped below 8 percent, something I’m sure Republicans celebrate as well. But does it not undercut what has been the central theme of the Republican campaign which was that he has made the economy worse because we are right down looking at an unemployment rate after a really horrible year which you can’t blame President Obama for in totality, his first year when he sort of did inherit this big mess, now it’s down to 7.8%. Doesn’t that show that he is on the right trajectory and kind of undermine the central argument for you?
PRIEBUS: Oh, I don’t think so. You know, it’s like this, Candy, if you are getting blown out in a football game but you are scoring field goals once a quarter, you can’t point to the three points every quarter and say at least we’re scoring some points, you’re still getting clobbered.
I mean, the fact of the matter is the president and Joe Biden are getting clobbered on the policies that they put in place. They promised we’d be a heck of a lot better off than we are today. We’re nowhere close.
I was in Wisconsin yesterday. I’ve been in Ohio practically every other day. I’ll tell you what, people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Lanman (ph), Ohio don’t feel better off today than they were four years ago, and they don’t think this president has been very good at following through on his promises. That’s what this is going to come down to. And I’ll tell you what, last week you saw the difference, an unfiltered Mitt Romney and an unfiltered Barack Obama. You saw inspiration, heart, preparedness from Mitt Romney, and you saw a president that came in unprepared, uninspiring.
You know what, maybe Clint Eastwood was right, and I think that’s what the American people saw last week.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about the — we have some idea of the Democrat’s fundraising in September, the totality, the re-election campaign as well as the Democratic Committee, $181 million in September. That’s 1.8 million individual donors, 567,000, more than half a million first-time donors, average donation $53. That’s a pretty impressive number. Are you going to match it?
PRIEBUS: I don’t know if we’re going to match it, but it is an impressive number.
CROWLEY: Are you close?
PRIEBUS: I can’t tell you that right now. But I will say this I think we all understand that this race isn’t going to come down to money, because we’ve been very competitive. And by the way if you roll the tape, I have been calling — I have been saying that President Obama is going to raise $1 billion for a year and a half. Remember we called him the billion dollar president. Well — so it’s no surprise to us. And I think we’ve surprised them by how well we’ve done at fundraising.
But look this isn’t going to come down to money. This is going to come down to heart. This is going to come down to work on the ground, plans, and I think the fact that this president didn’t fulfill his promises, that will undo him. And we’ll beat them on the ground and we’ll have all the money we need to be competitive.
CROWLEY: Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, thanks for joining us.
PRIEBUS: Thank you.
UPDATE: Speaking of football, a certain UGA alumna had an excellent analogy for the Bulldogs’ 35-7 loss to South Carolina:
Ugh, Dawgs looking like Barack Obama at a debate.
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) October 6, 2012
Meanwhile, Auburn lost 24-7 to Arkansas, which had previously lost 52-0 to Alabama, so I guess the Tide should be 69-point favorites in this year’s Iron Bowl.