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Area residents give mixed reactions to vice presidential debate

October 12, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

Whether or not malarkey was spewed out in the first and only vice presidential debate Thursday between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden, area residents still were willing to give their take on it Friday.

“Biden had much more content than Ryan had,” said Maryland Sen. Ronald N. Young, D-Frederick/Washington. “In sticking to facts, Biden won. Paul Ryan, like Romney, won’t give any specifics on his tax cut plan, and I don’t think he has a good hold on foreign affairs.”

Maryland Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said he did not like Biden’s behavior in the debate, even though he thought the debate went well overall.

“I thought it was a spirited debate on both sides, and the moderator did a good job holding it together,” he said. “I thought Joe Biden’s behavior and demeanor was overconfident and arrogant.”

With Martha Raddatz of ABC News moderating the debate, Biden at one point referred to one of Ryan’s comments as a “bunch of malarkey,” and Ryan said at another point, “Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground.” The quotes were indicative of the shots each candidate fired at each other throughout the night.

Young said that both sides created energy for their supporters, but he also said Biden was “slightly too aggressive” even though he praised the performance.

“They both played to their bases,” he said. “Biden was not prepared to stay silent, and he put energy back in the campaign.”

The debate began at 9 p.m. Thursday and lasted about 90 minutes. It was held at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Area residents also gave mixed reactions to who won the debate, each time indicative of who they were supporting for president.

Hagerstown resident Allen Schlotterback, 81, said that he was disappointed with Biden’s performance in the debate.

“I think Joe was baiting Paul, trying to get him upset, which didn’t work,” he said. “I would not have been able to control myself. Joe’s a good debater, but he came across last night as arrogant.”

Yvonne Lukes of Boonsboro, however, is supporting Obama’s re-election bid and said she thought Biden was much stronger than Ryan.

“Paul Ryan never really satisfactorily answered questions addressed by the moderator, including the 47 percent comment and Libya,” she said. “Biden was very strong on the healthcare issues for Medicare options.”

Two polls released after the debate told different stories. A CNN poll had Ryan winning it 48-44 percent with a five-point margin of error, effectively making it a tie. A CBS News Instant poll showed 50 percent of uncommitted voters thought Biden won to 31 percent for Ryan.

Granville Ryan, 77, of Hagerstown said the debate swung him to probably voting for Romney, whom he was already leaning toward.

“I’m really sorry I watched the debate because of the quite often interference by Joe Biden on what Paul Ryan was trying to say,” he said. “I was upset by the way Biden laughed and smiled the whole time at his opponent.”

The final two presidential debates will be Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and Monday, Oct. 22, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

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