Tom Brokaw Rips Biden's Debate Antics

NBC's Tom Brokaw blasted Joe Biden's debate antics on Friday's Morning Joe. "I mean he just can't contain himself," note Brokaw. "And he's become a caricature on the talk shows."

"I just don't think you should be laughing during a discussion about thermonuclear war with Iran," Brokaw called out Biden, who repeatedly shook his head at opponent Paul Ryan while smiling and laughing.

Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski, of course, had a lame excuse ready for the Vice President: "he was amused at some of Paul Ryan's approaches toward the concern over Iran."

Brokaw wouldn't have it, excoriating Biden yet again. "It's a very serious issue. It's a very serious issue. And however amused you are, it's about tone as well as content."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on Morning Joe on October 12 at 7:14 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

TOM BROKAW: I think he's the victim of his old (Inaudible) excesses. I mean he just can't contain himself. This is how he was raised. I – we arrived in Washington the same year, he was that way when he arrived and he's been that way every year since then. You remember that it was Clint Eastwood who said Joe Biden, what is he, a body with a smile? And he's become a caricature on the talk shows. When you want to get a quick laugh, David Letterman or John Stewart, they invoke Joe Biden.

On the other hand, it must be said in fairness to him as well as to Paul Ryan. These are two Irish Catholic political warriors who come from different generations. Both athletic, they both have a passion about what they're doing. And my own guess is at the end of the evening, one of the tests of a vice presidential debate is can they handle the presidency? Do we want them to be a heartbeat away? And I think in both cases, people would have to say you can have them in that job and if something happens to the President they could step it up. That was my judgment.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Mark, a lot of times these VP debates show that one is not ready to pass that threshold test.  Last night, there's no doubt, considering Joe Biden has been in Washington since he was 29 –

MARK MCKINNON: At bottom this is a threshold test, Biden's already obviously passed it, he's been there. It was a real threshold test for Ryan. But to your point about Biden, you're right. People that know him like him generally. But a lot of people watching him didn't know him. And I'd say, Mika, that a lot of people saw that – actually compared to Gore's stylistic stuff in that debate, because I was at that debate, Biden was a lot worse. He's kind of getting a pass because he's Joe, and because Obama had such a low-energy performance last time, but I think –

SCARBOROUGH: Because we know and like Joe so much.

MCKINNON: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: That's a question of how it plays to the middle.

(Crosstalk)

BROKAW: Mika, I just don't think you should be laughing during a discussion about thermonuclear war with Iran.

(Crosstalk)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I think – and the discussion about Libya, we watched it again – he was amused at some of Paul Ryan's approaches toward the concern over Iran, and quite frankly totally misrepresenting –

BROKAW: It's a very serious issue. It's a very serious issue. And however amused you are, it's about tone as well as content.

BRZEZINSKI: So what do you do when your opponent misrepresents the President's position and exactly the sanctions that are being put on Iran. Do you go after him fervently, this young guy who's on the stage, rip him to shreds, and then get criticized for being overbearing? No matter what he does –

BROKAW: It wasn't about overbearing. I thought that in terms of content, he was very effective on Iran. It was the demeanor that he showed. And these are always combinations of the two, people are impressionistic when they look at these debates. And I don't know how this is going to play out eventually, but sometimes you have to dial that down, worst instincts.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center