David Brooks: Biden’s debate mannerisms will turn off independents

Vice President Joe Biden probably offended a good number of critical independent voters with his aggressive tactics during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, according to New York Times columnist David Brooks.

During his weekly appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour,” Brooks — something of an expert on the minds of the squishy undecided voter — acknowledged that Biden’s performance energized the Democratic base.

“He lifted the morale of the Democrats, but I think it is simultaneously and also true that he offended a lot of people,” Brooks said. “A lot of Republicans were deeply offended. A lot of independents will be offended. There are sort of two phases in the series of the debate, for the people who watched, which was a lot, by the way. I was surprised.”

51 million peopled tuned into the debate, a statistic Brooks said revealed the public’s intense interest in the November presidential contest.

“So, people are really interested,” he said. “So, it’s [got] very high ratings. But then there’s the discussion period about the debate. And that discussion period is mostly about Biden’s manners. And so, I personally didn’t like the manners. I find Biden extremely engaging and charming and also annoying simultaneously. And so, if I had interrupted [host Mark Shields] — or if anybody came on the ‘NewsHour’ and behaved the way Biden did, we would kick them off in the middle of the set. It is just not what discussions should be like.”

“And not only the ‘NewsHour,’” Brooks continued. “You could go on ‘Hardball,’ and you don’t talk that way,” he continued. “And so, I do think the extreme condescension, the constant interruption, the weird smiling — I do think that will dominate the discussion phase. And I do think that will turn off people, because independents really don’t like the way politics works. And I do think that will help symbolize it.”

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