Ads quick to criticize after VP debate

Ads released hours after the vice presidential debate hit Biden for grinning too much and Ryan for bending the facts.

Last night’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan has already produced at least two ads from outside spenders criticizing both the style and substance of the debate.

American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal super PAC, released a web video called “VP Debate Fact Check,” which takes issue with many of Ryan’s statements.

The Republican National Committee responded to the debate with “Laughing at the Issues,” portraying Biden as not serious about the country’s problems.

The debate, which was feistier and livelier than the first presidential debate, saw Biden laughing and sometimes shaking his head at Ryan, of Wisconsin, argued his points. Biden was particularly aggressive in calling Ryan out when he seemed to bend the facts.

Republicans, as seen in the RNC ad, are portraying Biden’s behavior as condescending and as evidence of a lack of gravitas on important national issues.

Democrats are concentrating on factual errors in Ryan’s arguments, including what Politifact once named the “Lie of the Year” — that the Affordable Care Act is a “government takeover” of health care and mischaracterizing the effects of the Obama administration’s sanctions on Iran.

Both candidates bent the truth according to several fact-check reviews of the debate, but the Democrats were the first to pounce on the veracity of the other party’s claims.

One of Biden’s more egregious mistruths, according to the Associated Press, was his claim that he and President Barack Obama were unaware that the U.S. embassy in Libya requested more security before the attack on Sept. 11 in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

Testimony from Obama administration officials contradicts this claim.

The presidential race has attracted $407 million in outside spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Since Labor Day, 70 percent of outside spending on the presidential race made possible by the Citizens United ruling has benefitted GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.

In other outside spending news:

  • Pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future reported spending $5.9 million on ads opposing Obama.
  • Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action reported spending $4.1 million on ads opposing Romney.
  • Democratic super PAC House Majority PAC released “Serve,” opposing Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., and “How Far,” a joint effort with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, opposing businessman Danny Tarkanian, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Nevada’s 4th District. House Majority PAC reported spending $1.9 million on numerous ads on Thursday.
  • Republican U.S. Senate candidates Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock and Rep. Connie Mack in Florida got a boost from two spots produced by FreedomWorks for America. The conservative super PAC also hit former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Arizona.
  • The Campaign for American Values PAC, a socially conservative super PAC run by evangelical leader Gary Bauer, released “Religious Freedom Starts at Home,” criticizing Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC, criticizes Romney in “Still Completely Wrong on Women’s Health.”
  • The conservative nonprofit Center for Individual Freedom reported spending $1.9 million on U.S. House races across the country.
  • SEIU COPE, the political action committee of the Service Employees International Union, reported spending $2 million on the presidential, Senate and House races.
  • The Spirit of Democracy America, a joint super PAC and regular PAC, reported spending $358,000 on the increasingly contentious U.S. House race in California’s 24th District, where former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who benefited from the expenditures, faces Rep. Lois Capps, a Democrat.
  • The U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, which until Thursday had only received $334,000 in outside spending, saw $260,000 come in from Patriot Prosperity Political Action Committee in support of Republican state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos. Kyrillos is challenging Sen. Bob Menendez in a seat considered safely Democratic.

Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.

About the author

Rachael Marcus is a reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit, non-partisan independent investigative news outlet, which contributes campaign finance coverage to Marketplace. For more of their reporting on money and politics go to publicintegrity.org.

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