Washington Post writer Dan Zak penned a "TV Review" of the debates in the A section which bragged "only Vice President Biden acted as though he could sit at the desk in the Oval Office and have his feet touch the ground." In the paper, he began " A pro debated a novice," but on Twitter, Zak previewed he would write "A man debated a boy Thursday night." He also insulted Ryan on Twitter as a pervert/criminal on Law & Order SVU. (See below.)
Zak admired the "firm control" and needling "vigor" of ABC's Martha Raddatz as moderator, but admitted "Fairly or not, she reserved most of her skepticism for Ryan." Even liberals found it obvious:
"No specifics then?" she asked about his ticket's tax plan. "Can you guarantee this math will add up?...How do you do that?....I wanna know how you do the math."
Zak didn't seem to realize that Republicans at home thought she had no "firm control" of Biden as he routinely talked over Ryan. He claimed "Raddatz held firm control of the debate without squelching dialogue or spontaneity." Later, Zak went back to how Biden won the battle of gravitas:
Biden, perhaps the last pre-Boomer on a major-party ticket, turns 70 next month. Ryan, the first bona-fide Gen-Xer on a major-party ticket, exited his terrible twos about three weeks after Biden became a senator. Biden’s Brillo-y white hairline has consolidated into a kind of Donald Trump-like mirage while Ryan’s appears to be advancing, led by his pronounced widow’s peak.
And yet Biden, even when playing up his long political tenure, radiated much more vigor than his opponent, whom he kept calling “my friend,” although he seemed to mean “my silly, inexperienced friend.” To his credit, Ryan kept his poker face....
The evening was defined as a test of surrogacy, of each man’s ability to bolster the top of the ticket, but it was more useful to watch the debate as a test of presidentiality (or “chief executive realness,” if you will). They are not spokesmen. They are or would be second in command. And it was easier to imagine the confident Biden starring as the president in a one-hour CBS political drama. And isn’t what these debates are really about: Whom America can imagine in that role?
The headine in the paper was "Mano a mano, with few holds barred. We want more of this." It's not hard to guess this means "we want more Biden."
On Twitter, Zak also insulted Ryan as one of the perverts on Law and Order: SVU. "35 min in, Biden is Det. Olivia Benson and Ryan is the perp-of-the-week. #SpecialVeepsUnit"
In another feature, political writer Chris Cillizza picked winners and losers. Raddatz was a "winner" for "a job well done under remarkably adverse circumstances." Ryan wasn't placed in either category, and Biden was placed in both.
Biden's "last 15 minutes" were a "winner" because he "was measured, passionate, and heartfelt when talking about abortion and why he thought President Obama deserved a second term."
Biden's "first 75 minutes" were a "loser" because while he pleased Democrats, "it felt to us as if he went a bit overboard at times, bordered on bullying Ryan. Biden's derisive smiles and laughter while Ryan tried to answer questions weren't great optics for the vice president, and his repeated interruptions won't please those who think politics should be more civil."
Cillizza guessed undecided voters wouldn't have liked the bickering and would have tuned it out "if they were watching at all."