| Race to War: UNSC unable to sign UK draft resolution on Syria!

UNSC unable to sign resolution on Syria war ~ Al-Alam News Network.

A file photo show the United Nations Security Council meeting.

A file photo show the United Nations Security Council meeting.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have failed to reach an agreement on a British-proposed resolution to authorize the use of military force against Syria.

Britain put forth the proposal Wednesday as momentum seemed to be building among Western allies for a strike against Syria. US officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have claimed that the Syrian government used deadly chemical weapons near Damascus last week.

The US has not presented concrete proof, and UN inspectors – currently in Syria to investigate alleged chemical attacks – have not endorsed the allegations.

After the ambassadors met for a couple of hours at UN headquarters, the draft resolution was being sent back to their governments for consultations, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.
The diplomat said Russia reiterated its objections to international intervention in the Syrian crisis.

US Ambassador Samantha Power and British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant left the meeting without commenting to reporters.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said in London that the British draft resolution would authorize “all necessary measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to protect civilians from chemical weapons.”

Chapter 7 allows the use of international armed force to back up UN decisions.

Speaking Wednesday from The Hague, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said no action should be taken until the UN chemical weapons inspectors finish their work.

“Let them conclude … their work for four days and then we will have to analyze scientifically” their findings and send a report to the Security Council, he said.

NTJ/HH

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| Brennan refuses Bible + takes oath on draft Constitution—without Bill of Rights!

Brennan takes oath on draft Constitution—without Bill of Rights ~   | The Ticket.

Vice President Joe Biden swears in CIA Director John Brennan at the White House, March 8, 2013. (David Lienemann/Official …

Oh, dear. This is probably not the symbolism the White House wanted.

Hours after CIA Director John Brennan took the oath of office—behind closed doors, far away from the press, perhaps befitting his status as America‘s top spy—the White House took pains to emphasize the symbolism of the ceremony.

“There’s one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at their daily briefing. “Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787.”

Earnest said Brennan had asked for a document from the National Archives that would demonstrate the U.S. is a nation of laws.

“Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” Earnest said.

The Constitution itself went into effect in 1789. But troublemaking blogger Marcy Wheeler points outthat what was missing from the Constitution in 1787 is also quite symbolic: The Bill of Rights, which did not officially go into effect until December 1791 after ratification by states. (Caution: Marcy’s post has some strong language.)

That means: No freedom of speech and of the press, no right to bear arms, no Fourth Amendment ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and no right to a jury trial.

How … symbolic?

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“That means, when Brennan vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, he was swearing on one that did not include the First, Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments — or any of the other Amendments now included in our Constitution. The Bill of Rights did not become part of our Constitution until 1791, 4 years after the Constitution that Brennan took his oath on.

I really don’t mean to be an asshole about this. But these vows always carry a great deal of symbolism. And whether he meant to invoke this symbolism or not, the moment at which Brennan took over the CIA happened to exclude (in symbolic form, though presumably not legally) the key limits on governmental power that protect American citizens.” ~ emptywheel.

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| POTUS drops Hagel for Kerry + caves in to ziolobby – again!

John Kerry Nominated to Succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State ~  and , ABC News Network.

 

President Obama said today that he has nominated Sen. John Kerry to be his next secretary of state, succeeding Hillary Clinton if confirmed by Congress.

With the senator and wife Theresa Heinz-Kerry standing beside him, the president said Kerry’s “entire life has prepared him for this role.”

“As the son of a foreign service officer, he has a deep respect for the men and women of the State Department; the role they play in advancing our interests and values; the risks that they undertake and the sacrifices that they make along with their families,” he said.

Obama said the senator’s service as a Vietnam veteran taught him the “responsibility to use American power wisely, especially our military power,” and the personal responsibility of sending troops into harm’s way.

Kerry, 69, the Massachusetts Democrat who was his party’s nominee for president in 2004, chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which makes him a logical pick for the post. And he is unlikely to face fierce opposition from senators across the aisle.

The president credited Kerry with having played a “central role” in foreign policy debates for the past three decades, including ratification of the START nuclear treaty with Russia.

PHOTO: Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., leads a hearing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Dec. 20, 2012.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry,
John Kerry Aims International Zingers at Mitt Romney Watch Video
John Kerry Full Speech at DNCWatch Video
Kerry Says Classified Leaks Are ‘Unacceptable’ Watch Video

“I’d say that one of the more exceptional things we’ve seen in recent decades was when John helped lead the way, along with folks like [Sen.] John McCain and others, to restore our diplomatic ties with Vietnam,” he continued. “And when he returned to the country where he and so many others had fought so long ago, it sent a powerful message of progress and of healing.”

It was during Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004 that Obama gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention widely attributed to helping launch his Senate and presidential career. The president thanked him for that opportunity, and the career path that followed.

“I was proud to serve with him on the Foreign Relations Committee, under the tutelage of Joe Biden, and where we all became friends,” Obama said.

Kerry also served as Mitt Romney’s stand-in during the 2012 campaign’s debate preparations. It was an experience that solidified their friendship, Obama concluded.

Secretary Clinton was not present for the announcement, as she recovers from a concussion she sustained from fainting. The president acknowledged the secretary and his national security team for transitioning the country through two wars and an expanded presence in a surging Asia.

“Over the last four years, Hillary’s been everywhere — both in terms of her travels, which have seen her represent America in more countries than any previous secretary of state, and through her tireless work to restore our global leadership,” he said.

In a written statement, Clinton said her relationship with the Massachusetts lawmaker began decades ago. “John Kerry has been tested — in war, in government, and in diplomacy. Time and again, he has proven his mettle,” it reads. “I remember watching young Lieutenant Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee many years ago and thinking that I had just seen a man of uncommon courage and conscience.”

Kerry’s nomination is the only one expected from the White House this afternoon, although other cabinet members, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, are expected to leave the administration in the coming weeks.

John Kerry Aims International Zingers at Mitt Romney Watch Video
John Kerry Full Speech at DNCWatch Video
Kerry Says Classified Leaks Are ‘Unacceptable’ Watch Video

An earlier possible State Department nominee, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration for the position when Republicans began to mobilize against her. At issue was Rice’s involvement in the Obama administration’s response to the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Kerry’s nomination will place a respected statesman and party elder in a high-profile cabinet position. But it will also create an opening in the Senate.

Sen. Scott Brown, the moderate Republican who lost his bid for re-election in November to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, is expected to consider a run for Kerry’s seat.

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| Murdering the Palestinians while rationalizing Obama’s police state!

Murdering the Palestinians while rationalizing Obama’s police state ~ Larry PinkneyIntrepid Report.

“I demand that notice be taken of my negating activity insofar as I pursue something other than life; insofar as I do battle for the creation of a human world—that is, of a world of reciprocal recognitions.”—Frantz Fanon

“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” — Frederick Douglass

The horrible and massive Israeli Zionist slaughter of Palestinian children, women, and old and young men is, in fact, an ongoing bloody affair which takes place due to the blatant and constant support on part of the pro-apartheid Zionist, war criminal U.S. president Barack Obama and his corporate-owned Democrat and Republican party cohorts.

This is the politics of deliberate genocide, terror, and subterfuge. It is also the politics of continued unabated hatred and instability against the everyday ordinary peoples throughout Mother Earth; for as long as this terror, instability, hatred and fear is perpetuated—the U.S. and other ‘Western’ governments have the pretext with which to suppress or outright eradicate the civil liberties and human rights of persons (citizens and non-citizens alike)within the borders of their own nations.

Occasionally, as in recent weeks, the massive wounding and slaughter of the de facto occupied Palestinian people became so obvious that the overwhelmingly biased pro-Zionist U.S. corporate-stream media found it necessary and convenient to intensify its unceasing disinformation and misinformation campaign against the Palestinian people, in particular, and against Arab and African peoples, in general. However, the reality is that allpeople on this planet—be they of so-called Arab, African, Asian, or European, descent are the victims of this deliberately perpetuated insanity.

Both the Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli Jews are, essentially, Semitic people. More importantly however, they—like the rest of the people who inhabit Mother Earth—are human. The conflict between the nation-state of Israel and the occupied Palestinian people is fostered by a combination of an ideologically-driven apartheid-Zionism combined with an entrenched refusal on the part of the U.S. and its allies to address the root causes and legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people. There can and will be no genuine or lasting peace with justice until these root causes are forthrightly addressed.

Grasping history in order to understand the present

At this juncture, it should be clearly understood that all Jewish people are notZionists just as, for example, in the 1930s and 40s all Italians and Germans were by no means fascists. On the other hand, there are some non-Jewish persons, such as Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who are in fact ardently pro-apartheid Zionist. Moreover, it is important to understand that there are deep historical and contemporary factors which shape the unacceptable present day realities, not only as pertains to Palestine and the Middle East, but as it relates to the rest of the world. As long as we remain ignorant and in denial of historical and contemporary causal factors, we remain as malleable putty in the hands of those national and international misleaders who use disinformation, fear, and subterfuge to sustain and maintain their economic and political power—at the horrible expense of everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people.

Obama’s bloody hypocrisy

On November 18, 2012, the wily pro-apartheid Zionist, corporate-owned U.S. president, Barack Obama, in an insipid attempt to defend the recentindefensible actions by the Israeli Zionists to massively attack Gaza and wound and slaughter Palestinian people, publicly stated: “There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside of its borders.” The utter hypocrisy of Obama’s afore described statement issurpassed only by the blood of the innocent children, women, and men murdered by Obama’s own missiles “raining down on” them from outside of their national borders in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and elsewhere. Obama’s hypocritical defense of the murderous actions by the Israeli Zionists is an attempt by one war criminal (i.e., Barack Obama) to defend the indefensible actions of other war criminals (the Israeli Zionists). This, of course, represents Barack Obama’s own brand of massive state-sanctioned terrorism, which in turn, guarantees violent reprisals—which is exactly what Barack Obama, his corporate masters, and their political minions are counting on.

What better way to ensure ‘terrorism’ at home and abroad than by planting, in the fallacious name of peace and national security, ticking political time bombs throughout the world while using that very ‘terrorism’ as the manufactured pretext for ushering in and perpetuating a de facto police state at home? The corporate- owned Barack Obama and his accomplices know precisely what they are doing to the people of this nation and the world—and it has nothing whatsoever to do with economic, political, or physical security for the everyday people of this nation and world!

It should be kept in mind that this same Barack Obama signed the draconian indefinite detention provision of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act)into law, which egregious police state provision impacts both citizens and non-citizens alike inside the United States. Furthermore, this is the very same Barack Obama who has his very own ‘Kill List,’ bestowing upon himself the ‘right’ to engage in unmitigated extrajudicial murders of U.S. citizens and non-citizens anywhere in the world without even the pretense of due process of U.S. law and in horrendous violation of international law. [Reference: The NDAA and Obama’s secret kill list—are you on it?]. Finally, this is the same Barack Obama who, without congressional approval and in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and international law, attacked and “rained down” missiles and bombs upon the people of Libya (North Africa), not to mention the other sovereign nations that he has and is militarily attacking.

There can be no doubt whatever that Barack Obama, in service to his corporate masters, is an utter and complete war criminal and that he and his Democrat and Republican Party cohorts have also economically and politically blind-sided, emaciated, and enslaved, as never before, the people of all colors in the United States—all in the hypocritical name of ‘national security,’ etc.

The physical atrocities being practiced jointly by the Zionist Israeli nation-state and the United States against the ordinary people of Palestine are part and parcel of a much larger scenario of economic and political apartheid being waged against the everyday people of Mother Earth by an insatiably greedy U.S. and global corporate elite.

Link the issues and connect the dots

It is imperative that the ordinary everyday people of the United States and the entire world link the issues and connect the dots between the ongoing atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people and how we ourselves are being duped, set-up, manipulated, economically emaciated, and used as political and physical pawns and cannon fodder by the U.S. and global corporate elite which is currently represented by Barack Obama.

Ordinary peace and justice-loving people of all colors, ethnicities, and nationalities throughout Mother Earth are the targets and victims of perpetual wars and economic austerity. This did not come about through mere osmosis. War, which is actually organized ‘terrorism,’ is big business for the corporate elite profiteers. Missiles, drones, bombs, timers, tanks, warplanes, warships, bullets, land mines, and a litany of related equipment, represent many trillionsof dollars for the corporate elite. The enormous loss in human lives and the pillage of Mother Earth are of little or no consequence to this scandalous corporate elite. In fact ordinary everyday people, who are the cannon fodder and victims in these wars and/or military adventures, are viewed withdemonstrative contempt by this corporate elite. We are viewed as idiots and fools to be manipulated, used, and discarded—as Barack Obama and his ilk (including the corporate-stream media) repeatedly demonstrate by their lies, omissions, and subterfuge.

If we everyday ordinary people link the issues and connect the dots we begin to realize that, in varying degrees, we are all Palestinians. If we link the issues and connect the dots we can take back the political narrative from these corporate-owned political misleaders and their minions, and in so doing, we can begin to regain our dignity and humanity.

Remember well the words of Frederick Douglass when he said, “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” So do not give up or give in! Resist! In Joe Hill’s words, “Don’t Mourn. Organize!” This is a long and arduous struggle—but it is we, the ordinary everyday people, who will ultimately prevail!

Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward, then, my sisters and brothers. Onward!

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Intrepid Report Associate Editor Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, the San Francisco BayView newspaper, the Black Commentator, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist 

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| Nov 7: 10 THINGS TO KNOW FOR TODAY!

10 THINGS TO KNOW FOR TODAYThe Associated Press.

 

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about today:

1. OBAMA WINS RE-ELECTION DESPITE WEAK ECONOMY

U.S. voters give the president a decisive electoral-vote victory despite their fears on finances.

2. THE NEXT CHALLENGE FOR THE GOP

Younger voters and minorities flood the polls, and Republicans must broaden their reach to move forward.

3. DIVISIONS REMAIN IN WASHINGTON

Democrats hold the Senate and Republicans keep the House, so Obama still faces big challenges.

4. HOW AMERICANS MADE HISTORY AT THE POLLS

Maine and Maryland become the first states to legalize gay marriage by popular vote while Washington state and Colorado allow recreational use of marijuana.

5. SANDY-BATTERED NYC, NJ PREPARE FOR NEW STORM

A nor’easter is expected to bring gusts, surge to a region that hasn’t fully recovered yet.

6. WHAT HU JINTAO’S LEGACY WILL BE

China’s Communist Party leader ends a decade in office with his country richer, more powerful but more unequal.

7. CAMERON URGES OBAMA TO JOIN IN TALKS WITH SYRIA’S ARMED REBELS

UK prime minister says it’s an opportunity to shape the divided opposition.

8. CRIMINAL CASE BEGINS AGAINST PENN STATE’S EX-PRESIDENT

Spanier heads to court to face charges of trying to derail the Sandusky investigation.

9. CRUCIAL AUSTERITY VOTE AWAITS GREECE’S GOVERNMENT

Athens could lose its European bailout funds if the $17.3 billion package isn’t passed, and an exit from the Eurozone might be next.

10. TWITTER’S RECURRING QUESTION ON ELECTION NIGHT

Viewers wondered what was up with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, who deviated from her usual straight-news delivery.

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| US election: 10 oddities explained!

US election: 10 oddities explained ~ Daniel NasawBBC News Magazine, Washington.

Election oddities composite

You’ve heard their policies, but what about the other questions? Like what’s that jabbing gesture Obama makes with his thumb? And why are “Mr President” and “Mr Speaker” titles kept for life?

We examine 10 of the lesser-spotted things about American presidential politics – and about this campaign.

Why is Election Day always a Tuesday?

Even though America’s voter turnout is among the lowest in mature democracies and more than a quarter of people who do not vote claim they are too busy, efforts to move elections to weekends have failed.

The Tuesday after the first Monday in November was set as presidential election day in 1845.

In the mid-19th Century, the US was an agrarian nation and it simply took a lot of time for farmers to drive the horse and buggy to the nearest polling place.

Saturday was a workday on the farm, travel on Sunday was out, and Wednesday was a market day. That left Tuesday.

The sunglasses thing

Joe Biden hugs Barack Obama

Anything strike you as unusual about this picture? Yes, Joe Biden is wearing sunglasses at an election rally.

Politicians are almost never photographed wearing sunglasses, especially during election campaigns and even at leisure.

Obama plays golf with the sun glaring in his eyes, and this summer, Romney was photographed on the back of a jet ski on a lake in New Hampshire, bare-eyed though his wife Ann wore sunglasses.

Mitt Romney rides on the back of a jet ski piloted by his wife AnnNo shades – don’t mind the glare

If a person’s eyes are hidden, people trust them less, says Parker Geiger, an Atlanta executive image consultant.

“You just don’t get a sense of the individual,” he says. “There’s no eye contact – that’s how you build trust. Sunglasses put a barrier between you and the other person. They say eyes are the windows of the soul, and if I can’t see your soul how can I trust you?”

In Nevada, you can vote for ‘none of the above’

Don’t like the goods in the shop window? Don’t make the purchase.

The US state of Nevada allows voters to mark “None of these candidates” on the ballot.

The option has been on the ballot since 1976 and plenty of voters have used it.

In 2010 after a particularly brutish campaign for a US Senate seat, 2.25% of voters chose “None” rather than pick incumbent Democrat Harry Reid or Republican challenger Sharon Angle. Reid won.

Thumb jab

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the Lynn University debate

Featured in the three presidential debates were Romney, Obama, and Obama’s thumb.

At the debates, the president frequently jabbed his hand, with his thumb resting atop a loosely curled fist, to emphasise a point.

The gesture – which might appear unnatural in normal communication – was probably coached into Obama to make him appear more forceful, says body language expert Patti Wood.

“It’s a symbolic weapon,” says Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma.

“Speakers are coached to do it to look strong and mighty and to grab the attention of their audience, and in a political speech to emphasise strong points and to look like you are powerful.”

And on a subconscious level it’s phallic, she says. “It’s sexually male. Men put out their thumb and it says ‘I am a man’.”

Job titles are for life

Newt GingrichHe’s Mr Speaker to you – always

Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years – and he left office almost six years ago. Yet he is still addressed as Governor Romney, as if that were a title of nobility rather than a political office.

The US has only one president at a time, but Bill Clinton and George W Bush are always referred to as President Clinton and President Bush – even in the same sentence as Obama.

And during the Republican primary campaign, Newt Gingrich was routinely referred to as Mr Speaker – even though he was the Speaker of the House for four years and left that post nearly 14 years ago.

As odd as it sounds to hear “Presidents Clinton and Obama” from a news presenter’s mouth, the perma-title is acceptable, traditional and appropriate, says Daniel Post Senning, author and spokesman for etiquette arbiter Emily Post Institute.

“It really shows the esteem that we hold those offices in – that this is a democracy, and those are such important positions that it becomes like a professional title,” he says.

“I liken it to when a judge or a doctor retires. They’ve invested a lot in their professional identity and many retain the use of their professional title.

Election loser can still win the White House

George Bush and Rutherford B HayesGeorge Bush in 2000 and Rutherford B Hayes in 1876 lost the popular vote

Four times in American history, the candidate with fewer votes has wound up with the presidency.

That is because the winner of the presidential election needs to capture a majority of electoral votes, which are apportioned to the states by population and for the most part awarded in winner-take-all state contests.

The national presidential election is effectively 51 separate contests (50 states and Washington DC), with the winner of 270 electoral votes taking the presidency.

Most recently, in 2000 George Bush won half a million votes less than Al Gore but took 271 electoral votes for the victory.

It is entirely conceivable that the person sworn into the White House in January will once again be the man with fewer votes.

One scenario envisioned by analysts – Barack Obama could piece together enough states to win the electoral college and hence the presidency, while Romney wins populous conservative states like Texas and Georgia by a wide enough margin to take the national popular vote.

It could be a dead-heat – with a President Romney and VP Biden

Joe Biden and Mitt Romney at an Olympic hockey game in 2010Biden and Romney have different political backgrounds

American politics is at its most partisan and polarised in more than a century, many analysts say. But it could get much, much worse – Romney could be elected president and Joe Biden re-elected vice-president.

Under the US constitution, if the electoral college (the sum of delegates from each state – 270 and you’re president) ends in a tie – and there are several scenarios under which this could occur – the election is sent to the 435-member House of Representatives.

This is currently Republican-controlled and is unlikely to change hands, so they would choose Romney.

But under the same clause, the Democrat-led Senate would choose the vice-president – Joe Biden.

Biden might then be tempted to undermine Romney at every turn.

“A historic tie, which would spur demonstrations that would make the healthcare battle look like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, seems a logical conclusion of the bitter partisan paralysis here and the bottom-feeding campaign,” wrote New York Times columnist Maureen Dowdon Tuesday.

Why the obsession with ‘folks’?

Folks here in Iowa understand this – you cannot grow this economy from the top down– Obama, 17 October

I know that a lot of folks are struggling – Romney, 10 October

Obama and Romney use the word “folks” far more often than the word is typically heard from the lips of men with their socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

The word, which finds its origins in the Old English, is in the US historically associated with the South. That’s a stereotypically less-pretentious region that neither Obama nor Romney are from.

The word used as such is roughly the same as “people”, but warmer and more inclusive, says Grant Barrett, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang.

“American politics is a southerner’s game,” says Barrett. “It’s a talker’s game and Southerners are talkers. At the national level we have often been dominated by Southerners.”

Only a third of the US matters

Electoral college mapThe blue and red is written off by campaigns when planning strategy

On 6 November, the election will effectively be decided by less than a third of the US population.

Most of the states in America, including four of the five most populous, are so solid in their support for the Republicans or the Democrats that the candidates do not bother campaigning there.

Instead, each side chalks up those safe states in their tally and fights over the remaining handful of swing states on their path to 270 electoral votes.

The election is thus decided by the roughly 30% of the US population which lives in the swing states.

For the 70% of Americans who live in California, Texas, Georgia, New York, Illinois and the 35 other safe states, their votes count toward the electoral college total, but they cannot be said to be relevant in deciding the election.

In North Dakota, you can vote without registering to vote

North Dakota

The only state where it is not necessary to register in order to vote is North Dakota.

Although it was one of the first states to adopt voter registration in the 19th Century, it abolished it in 1951. The North Dakota State Government website says the move can be explained by the state’s close-knit, rural communities.

“North Dakota’s system of voting, and lack of voter registration, is rooted in its rural character by providing small precincts.

“Establishing relatively small precincts is intended to ensure that election boards know the voters who come to the polls to vote on Election Day and can easily detect those who should not be voting in the precinct.”

People coming to vote must be US citizens over the age of 18, who have lived in the precinct for at least 30 days, says Al Jaeger, the North Dakota Secretary of State. And people still need to produce identification, if they are not known to officials.

“I don’t see any difference with any other states, except that we don’t have voter registration, but it’s the same result. It might be an oddity but it has the same purpose. Our elections have a great deal of integrity.”

Additional reporting by Tom Geoghegan

The BBC will be providing full online live results of the US presidential election on

6 November.

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Girl, 4, reduced to tears over US election coverage ~ Telegraph.

Tearful four-year-old Abigael Evans declares herself “tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney” after hearing one report too many on the race for the White House.

Four-year-old Abigael Evans from Colorado was travelling in the car with her mother Elizabeth when a report on the US presidential election came on the radio.

After nearly six months of wall-to-wall coverage in the US media of the race for the White House, this was the final straw for Abigael, who burst into tears. Stopped in a car park, her mother asked her what the matter was. Choked with emotion, Abigael replied she was “tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney.”

Elizabeth Evans uploaded the video to YouTube, where it has since been viewed over 1.5 million views.

Hearing of the young girl’s exasperation, the National Public Radio station responsible issued a sympathetic apology on its website:

“On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign’s gone on long enough for us, too. Let’s just keep telling ourselves: “Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days,” the statement said.

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| Presidential Debate Contract, ‘Memorandum Of Understanding,’ Released!

Presidential Debate Contract, ‘Memorandum Of Understanding,’ Released ~ HuffPost.

Time’s Mark Halperin has released the full-length, previously secret, contract governing the presidential debates.

Every four years, the two campaigns sign a contract that establish the rules of the debate, from the time allotment for candidates’ answers to the type of chairs Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were allowed on October 11. Halperin released the “Memorandum of Understanding” on Monday after both campaigns raised concerns about moderator Candy Crowley‘s comments about her role in the debate.

This is only the fourth time that the contract has been made available to the public. Good governance and media watchdog groups recently called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to release the MOU earlier this month.

Highlights from the contract include:

  • “At no debate shall the moderator ask the candidates for a ‘show of hands’ or similar calls for response.”
  • “The moderator shall select the questioners, but she may not ‘coach’ the questioners.”
  • The candidates’ “dressing rooms shall be comparable in size and in quality and in proximity to the debate stage.”

Below, see the full text of the memo (obtained by Halperin):

The 2012 Debates – Memorandum of Understanding Between the Obama and Romney Campaigns

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| Neocon wet-dream Paul Ryan is Dick Cheney with a Smile!

Paul Ryan: Dick Cheney With a Smile ~ John Nichols, The Nation.

Never afraid to go against the crowd, or the facts, Dick Cheney found Paul Ryan’s performance in Thursday night’s vice presidential debate dazzling.

Following the debate, Cheney declared that ”there is no question in my mind when I look at Joe Biden and Paul Ryan on the stage there last night, I think Paul Ryan’s got what it takes to take over as president. I don’t think Joe Biden does.”

How did George W. Bush’s number-two see what so many mere mortals missed?

Cheney pays serious attention to Ryan.

Indeed, he says: “I worship the ground that Paul Ryan walks on.”

And no one should doubt Cheney’s sincerity.

The former Republican vice president adores the Republican vice presidential candidate because Ryan is a fresh, young Cheney.

Cheney moved to Washington as soon as he could and became a political careerist, working as a Capitol Hill aide, a think-tank hanger on and then a member of Congress. Ryan followed the same insider trajectory.

Cheney’s a hyper-partisan Republican with a history of putting party loyalty above everything else. Ryan’s an equally loyal GOP mandarin.

Cheney’s a rigid ideologue who has never let reality get in the way of cockamamie neocon theories about where to start the next war. And Ryan’s every bit as much a neocon as Cheney.

Americans should reflect on Ryan’s performance in Thursday’s vice presidential debate with Cheney in mind. When they do, they will shudder.

In the 2000 vice presidential debate at Centre College in Kentucky, Cheney was asked if he favored using deadly force against Iraq. “We might have no other choice. We’ll have to see if that happens,” he replied. Why? He said he feared Saddam Hussein might have renewed his “capacity to build weapons of mass destruction.” “I certainly hope he’s not regenerating that kind of capability, but if he were, if in fact Saddam Hussein were taking steps to try to rebuild nuclear capability or weapons of mass destruction, you would have to give very serious consideration to military action to—to stop that activity.”

Two years later, Cheney was leading the drive to send US troops to invade Iraq. Three years later, US troops were bogged down in an occupation that would cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. No weapons of mass destruction were found and America’s international credibility took a hard hit.

Cheney didn’t care. He never apologized for leading America astray. And he never offered any indication that he had learned from the experience.

Thursday, in the 2012 vice presidential debate at Centre College, Ryan put a smile on the Cheney doctrine. But there was not a sliver of difference between the politics of the former vice president and the pretender to the vice presidency on questions of how to deal with foreign policy challenges in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.

At the close of an extended discussion of Afghanistan, in which he repeatedly suggested that the Obama administration was insufficiently committed to fighting America’s longest war, Ryan actually suggested: “We are already sending Americans to do the job, but fewer of them. That’s the whole problem.”

On Iran, Ryan was so bombastic that an incredulous Biden finally asked: “What are you—you’re going to go to war? Is that what you want to do?”

Ryan did not answer in the affirmative Thursday night in Danville.

Neither did Cheney twelve years ago in Danville.

But Cheney signaled his inclinations in the 2000 vice presidential debate. And Ryan has signaled his intentions this year—confirming that the neoconservative fantasy, despite having been discredited by experience, dies hard on the neocon fringe of the Grand Old Party.

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| Top 5 Ryan Lies + Top 5 Ryan Dodges!

Top 5 Ryan Dodges.

During Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, there were plenty of allegations, lies and Joe Biden smiles. If anything defined the debate, however, it was Paul Ryan’s truly impressive ability to avoid answering questions specifically.

Whether he was changing the subject, filibustering or completely avoiding the stated question, Ryan found a way to not answer when an answer was demanded. Like dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan, Ryan truly knew the “five D’s” of dodging — and whether he was dodging, ducking, dipping, diving or dodging Paul Ryan performed masterfully on Thursday. Here are Ryan’s top five dodges of the night.

1. The Blame Game

BIDEN: And I love my friend here. I — I’m not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, “By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?” We sent millions of dollars. You know…

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: You did ask for stimulus money, correct?

BIDEN: Sure he did. By the way…

RYAN: On two occasions we — we — we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. That’s what we do. We do that for all constituents who are…

(CROSSTALK) BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, “The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs.” His words. And now he’s sitting here looking at me.

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Paul Ryan has been resolute in declaring the 2009 stimulus a miserable failure, which makes it rather inconvenient that Ryan asked the Obama administration to send stimulus money to his district in order to create jobs.

When this came to light back in August, Ryan lied, then blamed his staff. Of course, lying again might work, but Vice President Joe Biden was in a feisty mood, and probably would have called him out, so instead he went for a new approach. It was just constituent service, you see — Paul Ryan will ask for government money for anyone in his district who asks. So if you’re out of work, you might want to give Ryan’s office a call.

All right, Paul Ryan probably won’t secure you any stimulus money, but at least he managed to come up with an artful dodge. If he hadn’t, he might have been forced to admit that not all government spending is bad. Some — like stimulus spending during a near-depression — is downright good.

2. The Boogeyman Move

BIDEN: Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this — a man who introduced a bill that would raise it 40 — $6,400 a year; knowing it and passing it, and Romney saying he’d sign it, or me and the president?

RYAN: That statistic was completely misleading. But more importantly…

BIDEN: That’s — there are the facts right…

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: This is what politicians do when they don’t have a record to run on: try to scare people from voting for you.

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This was a favorite tactic of Ryan’s. Whenever the heat got a bit too much for the lad from Janesville, he would accuse Biden and President Barack Obama of trying to scare people.

This is, of course, fertile territory for Ryan. The Obama-Biden campaign has been highlighting a number of Romney-Ryan plans, simply because they are incredibly scary. Voucherizing Medicare? War in Iran? Raising taxes on the middle class so the wealthy get a tax cut? That’s legitimately terrifying!

Ryan therefore is at a huge advantage. Any time Biden talked about what Ryan wanted to do, Ryan could turn around and proclaim that Biden was just trying to scare people. Of course, Ryan neglected to mention that Biden was scaring people by saying things that were true.

3. The Denial

RADDATZ: Well, let’s talk about this 20 percent [tax cut]. You have refused — and, again — to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics? Or are you still working on it, and that’s why you won’t tell voters?

RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the…

RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the…

(CROSSTALK) BIDEN: That would — that would be a first for the Republican Congress.

RADDATZ: Do you know exactly what you’re doing?

RYAN: Look — look at what Mitt Romney — look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that.

What we’re saying is, here’s our framework. Lower tax rates 20 percent. We raised about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forego about $1.1 trillion in loopholes and deductions. And so what we’re saying is, deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation…

——————————

This was a truly exceptional dodge, worthy of its own column. When the history of dodging debate questions is written, this moment will figure prominently in it.

Ryan is in a very bad spot. Mitt Romney has proposed a tax cut for everyone that is paid for by the elimination of deductions, which leaves everyone with the same taxes in the end, which is kind of impossible and begs the question of why Mitt’s bothering in the first place. (The answer is simple: he’s lying about the rich paying the same amount of taxes.)

If you start talking about the deductions, you realize quickly that in order to stay revenue-neutral, you have to eliminate a lot of deductions people like, such as mortgage deductions and student loan deductions and charitable giving deductions. This is, to say the least, politically untenable. So the Romney campaign has hit upon a strategy — never admit to anything.

Ryan took this up to eleven here. Pressed for specifics, Ryan flatly refused to give them, talking about a “framework” instead. I mean, sure, that makes sense — President Romney can just wander over to Congress, say, “Hey, cut taxes — but keep it revenue-neutral.” I’m sure Mitt won’t have any ideas beyond that.

4. The Pivot

RYAN: That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don’t agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.

————————————-

Remember before when Paul Ryan said that politicians try to scare people when they don’t have a record to run on? Well, Paul Ryan has a long and detailed record on abortion…and he doesn’t particularly want to run on it. So he did what he had to do — he quickly pivoted off abortion and onto the birth control debate, because every American knows how much women hate getting birth control covered by insurance.

Ryan had an extra reason to dodge here. Not only is the GOP’s hardline anti-abortion and anti-contraception position anathema to women the Romney-Ryan campaign must win, but Mitt Romney’s willingness not to imprison women who seek an abortion after they’re raped is anathema to Paul Ryan, who has sought to ban abortion in all cases, and undoubtedly would if he became president. Ryan, you may recall, sponsored a bill that would have limited federal funding of abortion to cases of “forcible rape,” because evidently, if there’s no force involved, it’s not really rape.

Given the unpopular nature of Ryan’s abortion position, I guess it isn’t a surprise that he’d do anything to avoid answering the question completely.

5. Attaaaaaaaaaack!

RADDATZ: I’m — I’m going to move on to this closing question because we are running out of time.

Certainly (inaudible) and you’ve said it here tonight, that the two of you respect our troops enormously. Your son has served and perhaps someday your children will serve as well.

I recently spoke to a highly decorated soldier who said that this presidential campaign has left him dismayed. He told me, quote, “the ads are so negative and they are all tearing down each other rather than building up the country.”

What would you say to that American hero about this campaign? And at the end of the day, are you ever embarrassed by the tone?

[…]

RYAN: First of all, I’d thank him to his service to our country.

Second of all, I’d say we are not going to impose these devastating cuts on our military which compromises their mission and their safety.

And then I would say, you have a president who ran for president four years ago promising hope and change, who has now turned his campaign into attack, blame and defame.

You see, if you don’t have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone to run from. That was what President Obama said in 2008. It’s what he’s doing right now.

Look at all the string of broken promises….

——————————-

This was perhaps Ryan’s most brilliant dodge of the night. He took a question — “Don’t you think negative campaigning is bad?” — and managed to answer by making a series of attacks on President Barack Obama.

It was masterful. Ryan regurgitated every talking point he could think of about how awful Barack Obama is, and how we have to get rid of him in November. He never stopped for a second even to acknowledge that sure, he could understand why negative campaigning rankles people.

But why would he? For all Ryan’s assertion that the Obama-Biden campaign is running a campaign of fear, Ryan himself is hamstrung. If the Romney-Ryan campaign actually had to be specific about what they wanted to do, they’d lose. Badly. Given the choices on the table, Ryan could not possibly even acknowledge that negative campaigning is off-putting. The Romney campaign can’t make a positive case for itself. Going negative is all they have — and it was all Ryan could do to avoid having to admit it.

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Top 5 Worst Lies Paul Ryan Told

 

GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech at the RNC was an exercise in dishonesty. The speech by the Wisconsin congressman ran the full gamut, from lies of omission, to half-truths, to complete fabrications. Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told MSNBC, simply, “He blatantly lied, and brazenly.” Even Fox News was forced to concede that Ryan’s speech was deceitful.

This isn’t a surprise — the Romney campaign has already announced that it does not care about facts. Still, the number of prevarications in Ryan’s speech were so breathtaking that the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein said Ryan is more deceitful than Sarah Palin.

Here’s a look at the worst lies uttered by Ryan while accepting the Republican nomination. This is not a comprehensive list — you don’t have all day. It is, however, a look at the biggest whoppers used by Ryan to introduce himself to America.

“It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”

It’s true that America’s credit rating was downgraded by one of the three major credit rating agencies during Obama’s term. While Moody’s and Fitch both rate America’s debt at “AAA,” or “outstanding,” Standard & Poor’s dropped the US rating to “AA+,” or “excellent,” in 2011.

However, Ryan is being dishonest when he lays the blame for the downgrade at President Barack Obama’s feet. After all, S&P said why they were downgrading U.S. debt, and they didn’t blame Obama. Instead, S&P blamed the “brinksmanship” of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, in which House Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling without significant cuts to the budget. S&P also lamented a refusal to consider higher taxes, saying, “It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options.”

Who was leading the House charge against Obama? Well, the House leadership team, including their budget committee chair, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan himself was instrumental in forcing the brinksmanship that led the U.S. to have its debt downgraded; Ryan was right about a downgraded America, but the culprit isn’t Barack Obama, but rather the guy Ryan sees in the mirror each morning.

 

“Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.  One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.”

“He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.”

This is a two-fer. The first part is technically true — the debt has gone up significantly during the term of President Obama. Ryan failed to mention, however, that the increase in debt is primarily due to two policies — the Bush Tax Cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Simply, those were all policies Obama inherited — all policies started by President George W. Bush, and supported by the vote of Paul Ryan.

It’s the second part, though, where Ryan really outdoes himself. It’s true, Obama did appoint the Simpson-Bowles Commission, which was tasked with looking for ways to reduce the debt. Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson did issue a report. That report was not endorsed by the full commission, however, which rejected the report.

Among the members of the commission who voted against the report? The chair of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan.

Yes, Paul Ryan was a member of the Simpson-Bowles commission, the “bipartisan debt commission” he references, as if they were a group he was vaguely familiar with. “‘They’ came back with an urgent report,” except “they” didn’t — the commission didn’t issue a report. And while Obama didn’t push the recommendations of the commission, Paul Ryan actively opposed them, voting against them, and preventing the report from being officially adopted.

So while Barack Obama may have decided to pass on the recommendations of some members of a commission, Paul Ryan, a member of that commission, opposed those recommendations. And yet Ryan tells America that we should be outraged at Obama for not adopting the proposals Ryan himself opposed. Truly, the man has a dizzying intellect.

“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’  That’s what he said in 2008.”

“Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.  And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”

Of all the brazen lies told by Paul Ryan during his Wednesday speech, this is the most blatant. Oh, yes, there was a GM plant in Jansesville, Wis., that shut down. Barack Obama did say he wanted the plant to be around for a hundred years. Obama never got a chance to do anything to support that, though, because the plant shut down before Obama was president, in December of 2008.

It’s not as if Ryan was unaware of the timing. Ryan himself protested the plant closure, writing a letter to General Motors in June of 2008. Obama did bail out GM, and while the Janesville plant didn’t reopen, the bailout did help GM reopen a plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.

This is a pure lie. There’s no hedging, no debate — the plant shut down during the Bush Administration, as did others. Blaming Obama for closing it is like blaming Obama for failing to respond during Hurricane Katrina — he wasn’t president then. Unless Paul Ryan thinks Obama owns a time machine, the charge is a flat-out lie. It is not, however, the worst lie Ryan told.

 

“We have responsibilities, one to another.  We do not each face the world alone.  And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.”

That’s not a lie, of course — it’s one of the most fundamental of all truths. But while it is unquestionably true that we must help each other out, it is also unquestionably true that Paul Ryan does not believe this.

Ryan’s budget was condemned by the Catholic Bishops, who said Ryan’s willingness to slash aid to the poor fails a “basic moral test.” Far from demonstrating a fealty to the tradition of protecting the weak, Ryan instead would throw the poor, the sick and the elderly out onto the street, and demand that they stop mooching off of the producers.

Indeed, Ryan’s budget completely ignores the needs of the weak, and plans to trample on those who cannot defend themselves. Its heritage stems directly from Ryan’s greatest influence, Ayn Rand, whose political philosophy elevated selfishness to the highest ideal. Indeed, in “Atlas Shrugged,” which Ryan once made his new staffers read, Rand writes, “I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

Now, Ryan has renounced Rand, saying he was unaware that she was an atheist — but as we’ve seen, Ryan has no problem with lying. And certainly, this is a far more accurate summation of Ryan’s worldview — that we are not called to protect our fellow citizens, but rather that if you’ve got yours, to heck with anyone else.

So while Ryan told a lot of lies about Barack Obama on Wednesday, this is the worst lie he told — because Ryan knows full well that his real beliefs are anathema to the beliefs of Americans. Ryan knows that we do believe in helping the downtrodden, and caring for the meek. He also knows that if he admitted that he has no problem throwing the poor to the wolves, Americans would turn on him and on Mitt Romney. So he lies — because he dare not tell the truth.

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| Veteran Biden laughs his way to victory in vice presidential debate!

Biden Laughs His Way to Victory in Vice Presidential DebateTracy Bloom, TruthDig.

The smile. That laugh. The look on Joe Biden’s face said it all during his commanding performance in Thursday’s vice presidential debate held in Danville, Ky.

Given President Obama’s less than stellar performance in last week’s first presidential debate, a lot was riding on Biden’s shoulders: the polls, which have swung Mitt Romney’s way in the past week, for one, and the critical undecided voter in swing states for another.

Could Biden deliver? The answer Thursday night was a resounding yes.

From the start, Biden attacked the Romney and Ryan ticket and never backed down, calling out the GOP vice presidential nominee on misleading statements and outright lies.

The first instance happened early on in the debate, when the topic turned to attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. When Ryan began criticizing the Obama administration for not having enough security at U.S. embassies, Biden took that as his moment to pounce.

“With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden told Ryan, ripping him for Republican-enacted budget cuts to embassy security. In fact, Ryan was among the GOP congressional members who voted for those defense cuts.

It was clear that someone from the ticket took his debate prep seriously.

As the candidates moved on to the issue of Iran, Ryan criticized President Obama for not doing enough as that country races “toward a nuclear weapon.”

Biden, who pointed out how tough sanctions already are on Iran, straight up asked Ryan whether his party’s ticket wanted the U.S. to go to war.

“Are you going to war? Is that what you’re going to do now?” Biden asked.

“We want to prevent war,” Ryan responded.

These initial exchanges set the tone for the entire night, as the candidates sparred on foreign policy issues, the economy and entitlement programs. The debate also touched on women’s issues, crucial matters that were noticeably absent from the first one. (They weren’t mentioned until well over an hour in, but more on that later.)

While Obama seemed wary of going after Romney on the “47 percent” comment, Biden dived right in, bringing it up several times in the debate. “I’ve had it up to here with the 47% notion,” he said at one point.

Another time, the vice president zinged Romney for flip-flopping on political positions in what was one of the better one-liners of the evening. “I may be mistaken, he changes his mind so often,” Biden said of the GOP presidential nominee.

What Biden did particularly well throughout the evening was call out Ryan on his hypocrisies, like when the Wisconsin congressman tried to attack Obama for America’s mounting deficit. The vice president merely pointed out that the Republican had personally voted to authorize two wars, in addition to voting for a prescription drug benefit and a trillion dollar tax cut, which, as Biden put it, Republicans put on the country’s “credit card.” “All of a sudden, they’re so seized with concern for the debt they created,” he said.

The federal stimulus was another topic that Biden bested his opponent on, as he once again highlighted a glaring Ryan hypocrisy. The vice president correctly pointed out that while the congressman had railed against the stimulus, he ended up accepting federal money from it for his district, funds that he had personally asked for in two letters to Biden.

Ryan and Biden also had a spirited debate on taxes that led to perhaps the best line of the night.

The GOP vice presidential nominee once again declined to state specifics on Romney’s tax plan, refusing to say what loopholes and deductions it will eliminate in an effort to offset a 20 percent tax cut, though remaining steadfast that the math worked out.

Biden argued, however, that the economic plan Ryan presented was mathematically impossible. “It has never been done before,” he said.

Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates and increased growth,” Ryan answered, to which Biden sarcastically responded, “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy.”

The conversation then turned serious as the two discussed how religion informed and influenced their views on abortion. Both men, as it so happens, are Catholic. Ryan, whose extreme pro-life position has been well documented, said that he didn’t see “how a person can separate their personal life and their private life.” The Republican added that he was pro-life, but that a Romney administration would allow abortion exceptions in the event of rape, incest or when the mother’s life was at risk. (Ryan has consistently indicated that he himself does not believe in any abortion exceptions.)

Biden, on the other hand, supports a woman’s right to choose, and said he believed the decision should be between a woman and her doctor. “I do not believe we have the right to tell women how to control their bodies,” he said.

At the end of the evening, it was clear that Biden was the hands-down winner. But another victor emerged Thursday night—ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, the debate moderator. Raddatz managed to cover a lot of ground, asking pointed and relevant questions while also preventing the candidates from answering vaguely (or not answering at all). She also managed to stand her ground and keep control of the candidates the entire debate. In short, where Jim Lehrer failed, she succeeded.

The big question now is whether the vice presidential debate will actually influence any voters’ decisions. The one thing that appears certain is that Joe Biden did an impressive enough job to get the Democrats out of panic mode.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Biden is done with debates. And no, Bill Clinton cannot fill in as a debate surrogate for Obama.

That means, Mr. President, it’s your turn next.

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