Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JAFO

    Television is a visual medium. Some will claim that the Veep won on points. Perhaps. But his demonic, ill-timed grin will be the lasting memory for this viewer. Very unattractive.

  • JohnW

    Draw. Both sides happy with their candidate’s performance. Ryan is more TV Medium Cool than Biden, but people are used to the fact that Biden emotes.

    Just heard MSNBC cite an instant poll: 19% tie, 31% Ryan, 50% Biden. Yeah, I know, MSNBC. We’ll see what CNN and other polls say.

    Great job by the moderator. Lots better than Jim Lehrer.

    No big quotes that people will keep playing back for the next 25 years. However, Biden did get in a “So, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” quip when Ryan invoked JFK’s name during the discussion on taxes.

    On substance:

    Romney/Ryan are full of goo on their central plank: the 20% across the board cut in tax rates, supposedly paid for by taking away deductions only from upper income. Once again, Ryan wouldn’t even give one example of how that could work; because it can’t.

    On entitlements, both sides are full of goo, but in different ways. Dems refuse to acknowledge the cuts needed in both SS and Medicare (even though they know they will have to do cuts if re-elected). Repubs are full of goo using the need to do cuts as an excuse to privatize and voucherize everything. One does not require the other.

    Ryan got a little tangled up trying to impress us with his foreign policy and military cred on Afghanistan. But nobody’s perfect.

    I’ll give Ryan credit on one thing. He was totally honest on the subject of abortion policy. Anybody who considers this an important issue and is against government taking control once sperm meets egg would be out of their mind voting for Romney/Ryan. Obviously, I like devout Catholic Joe Biden’s answer on the abortion question a lot better.

  • JohnW

    For what it’s worth, the aforementioned poll was a CBSNews instant poll.

  • Common Tater

    Smarmy smirks and inappropriate grins do not a Veep make.

    How can this character smile, grin, and duck his head while Mr. Ryan was talking about our murdered US Ambassador? Does he really think it is funny?

  • JohnW

    Re: #4

    I assume you are referring to the opening questions in the debate, which dealt with Libya, even though both Ryan and Biden quickly pivoted to Iraq and Afghanistan. I went back and watched online.

    Biden answered first and did not smile/grin/duck during the Libya part of Ryan’s response. Every time he smiled in that opening segment, it was when Ryan repeatedly said, “We agreed with the administration” (or very similar words) in comments on Iraq, Afghanistan and Romney’s initial public response to the Libya situation.

    Regardless, I’m pretty certain that as the former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, as somebody who has traveled umpteen times to the region and as the father of somebody who served a tour in the region, Biden sees nothing funny about events there.

  • Truthclubber

    Mark Halperin had it right on this morning’s talk shows — Biden showed exactly the kind of “WTF?!” outrage at the “heces de toros” (that’s Spanish for malarkey) that kept coming out of Paulie Lyin’s mouth when he wasn’t guzzling something that looked like vodka out of that constantly refilled tumbler…and that same kind of “WTF?!” outrage needs to come from O’bammy next Tuesday, just like it came from Bubba earlier this week, talkin’ about “old moderate Mitt”.

  • Elwood

    Due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to watch the debate until tonight.

    I have one comment.

    Biden is a grinning, interrupting jackass.

  • JohnW

    As for the interrupting part, Romney did a bit of that in the first debate — interrupting the moderator — significant,since the moderator (Lehrer) was saying so little to begin with!

    As for the smiling, I’ll concede the point. Whether it’s Obama looking like a standing corpse or an over-caffeinated Biden, you have to wonder. It’s not like these guys haven’t been on TV before. And you would think their debate coaches would remind them about how the TV medium exaggerates even the slightest off-key body language or facial expression.

    That said, it’s hard to stop laughing and smirking when your opponent is preaching about the stimulus program when he wrote letters to the official overseeing the program (Biden) asking for some of that money — but claiming it’s different because the requests were for “grants.” It’s hard to stop laughing when your opponent keeps insisting an across-the-board 20% cut in tax rates will be made revenue neutral by limiting deductions.

    And it’s no laughing matter, but the height of hypocrisy, to beat up the State Department for inadequate security in Benghazi when you and your GOP comrades voted to cut $300 million from the budget request for embassy security — a fact acknowledged without shame by Utah’s Tea Party congressman Jason Chaffetz. Not saying that the decision not to deploy more security to Benghazi was due to those cuts — just that the GOP apparently did not put their money where their mouths are on the matter of embassy security in general.

  • Elwood
  • JohnW

    Re: #9

    Back to the unbiased CNS news service again, I see.

    First, let’s remember that TARP began under Bush/Paulson/Bernanke (quite necessarily, wisely and courageously in my estimation) and was continued under Obama/Geithner/Bernanke. Boehner couldn’t cough up the votes to support Bush. Pelosi did.

    We’re dealing with apples (Obama’s claim about recovery of funds to rescue the financial system) and oranges (CNS reference to the total TARP, which includes mortgage program disbursements unrelated to rescuing thefinancial system).

    The Obama quote CNS provides as the setup for this commentary is as follows: “We got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system.”

    CNS then links to the CBO report, which includes the following exact statement:

    “To provide support for financial institutions, the federal government disbursed $313 billion, most of which has already been repaid (See Table 2). CBO estimates a net gain to the government of $11 billion from these transactions — a net gain of $25 billion for assistance to banks and lending institutions, mostly offset by a cost of $14 billion for assistance to AIG.”

    The mortgage programs (such as loan modification subsidies) are part of TARP but not part of funds used to rescue the financial system — which is what Obama’s quote is about.

    Quoting from the “Mortgage Programs” portion of the CBO report:

    “Because most payments provided through these programs are direct grants and require no repayment, the government’s cost is generally equal to the amount of the disbursements.”

    In other words, Obama’s claim is completely accurate, per the very CBO report that CNS uses to say otherwise.

    By the way, even if we had “lost” $20 billion or so rescuing the financial system, would you rather have had that or, in the alternative, not being able to get your money out of the ATM and going into a full-blown Great Depression?

  • Elwood
  • JohnW

    Not too fond of Forbes (as in Steve) either, but that’s irrelevant. Not read.

    I gave you the exact quote from the CBO report that relates to and confirms Obama’s claim that “we got back every dime we (Bush and Obama) used to rescue the financial system.”

    That’s the quote that was the centerpiece of the CNS commentary. The CBO report was the basis for the CNS claim that Obama lied. It apparently didn’t occur to CNS that some of us might actually read what the report says rather than just taking the CNS headline at face value.

    If you want to disagree with Obama on the auto bailout, mortgage assistance, stimulus or his tie color, great. But those are separate from the financial system rescue.