Local political parties differ on VP debate
October 12, 2012
VAIL, Colorado– Local Republicans and Democrats have varying opinions – no shock there – on who won the vice presidential debate Thursday night.
For Republicans watching the debate, Vice President Joe Biden’s continuous laughter came off as arrogant, which Edwards resident and Republican Buddy Shipley said wasn’t surprising.
“Joe Biden exhibited the usual bluster and buffoonery everyone has come to expect,” Shipley said. “Paul Ryan exhibited more restraint and composure than should be expected of anyone.”
Talk to a local Democrat, though, and the views starkly contrast those of the Republicans. Democrat Carole Onderdonk, for example, said there’s no question that Biden won the debate.
“I thought Biden took it,” she said. “And I think Democrats are going to be more spirited now that we have a good debate under our belts.”
Democrat Debbie Marquez, a Democratic national committeewoman for Colorado, doesn’t think a vice presidential debate has nearly the influence over voters that a presidential debate has. Marquez called Biden’s performance “superb,” but acknowledged that both he and Ryan seemed to be talking to their base and not necessarily influencing undecided voters.
“I don’t think vice presidential candidate debates are generally momentum changers for the president, but I think Biden did fire up the base,” Marquez said.
“Fire up” is putting it nicely, according to local Republicans. Eagle County Republicans volunteer Kaye Foley didn’t criticize Biden as much as she complimented Ryan, but she did echo Shipley’s comparison of Biden to a buffoon.
“I would be very proud to have (Ryan) as president,” Foley said, adding that you have to consider that possibility when looking at a vice presidential candidate. “He was calm, sophisticated, polite, he’s accurate and he gets down to what’s really important. … He didn’t raise his voice or have the smiley gestures. He wasn’t rude or disrespectful.”
Shipley thought Biden’s performance could hurt the Democrats.
“Biden’s rude, arrogant and condescending demeanor and constant mockery likely inflicted more harm on himself, especially with regard to independent voters and moderates who are disgusted by such vulgar displays,” Shipley said.
One local Democrat agreed that Biden laughed too much during the debate, which she called rude, but she didn’t want to give her name.
Republican Randy Milhoan called Biden’s laughter curious, especially during a time when the country is facing a serious debt crisis.
“These are not laughing matters,” Milhoan said of the debate.
Bobbi Gallegos commented on the Vail Daily’s Facebook page that Biden’s performance got the Obama base “fired up and ready to go for the coming weeks.”
The next presidential debate is Tuesday, with the final debate less than a week later on Oct. 22. And since the voter registration deadline has passed, local parties are now focusing their efforts on making sure everyone who is eligible to vote actually does vote.
Marquez said local Democratic volunteers are taking direction from the Obama field office in Edwards, while local Republican volunteers are staged out of the Eagle County Republicans temporary office in Eagle. Volunteers are manning the offices, passing out stickers and signs, canvassing neighborhoods and making a lot of phone calls to registered voters.
And no volunteer wants to skip a beat or miss an opportunity to reach out to a voter. As Foley spoke on the phone Friday with the Vail Daily about her feelings about Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, a young man entered the Republican office looking for information.
“I’ve got to go and help this young man,” Foley said, quickly hanging up the phone.
A Denver Post poll released Friday shows Romney leading Obama 48 percent to 47 percent among Colorado voters. The poll surveyed 614 likely voters by cell phone and home numbers Tuesday and Wednesday, before the vice presidential debate. The Denver Post said the results show the candidates “are still effectively tied” in Colorado.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.