In tonight’s debate, Vice President Joe Biden invoked one of the most memorable moments presidential campaign history in one of many back-and-forths with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Mr. Biden used Mr. Ryan’s argument for significant tax rate reductions as his segue.
“You can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers–” Mr. Ryan began.
“Not mathematically possible!” Mr. Biden interrupted.
“It is mathematically possible. It’s been done before–” Mr. Ryan continued.
“It has never been done before,” came another interruption.
“It’s been done a couple times. Jack Kennedy increased tax rates and increased growth. Ronald Reagan–” the Republican tried to explain.
“Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” Mr. Biden intervened yet again, to the quiet laughter of the audience.
This was, of course, a reference to an exchange from the 1988’s vice-presidential debate between Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen and his GOP opponent, Dan Quayle. Mr. Bentsen’s remark came after Mr. Quayle countered a question about his political bonafides by saying he had as much experience in congress as JFK did when he ran for president.
“Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy,” Mr. Bentsen countered.
Mr. Bentsen’s remark helped create and capitalize on the impression Mr. Quayle was not exactly an intellectual heavyweight.
However, in this case Mr. Ryan, true to his reputation as a bowhunter, wasn’t carrying an empty quiver and he quickly fired back with a comeback of his own.
“Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up lost ground, but I think people will be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other,” he suggested.