GChatting for Freedom: The Vice Presidential Debate

In an attempt to recreate the fun-filled, adrenaline-packed atmosphere of having a debate-viewing party in your very own home, we have decided to do our debate coverage in the form of a gchat between Senior Editor Rachel and Contributing Editor Carmen, with occasional appearances from Community Managerette Lemon. They are qualified for this job via their strong feelings about the candidates and marginally competent knowledge of the issues at hand. Also, once Rachel won a Long Island iced tea at a bar for her performance at Sarah Palin Bingo during the last election, so. This will be more fun to read if you’ve watched the debate, but if you haven’t, we’ve embedded it for you!


Rachel: Carmen are you watching

Carmen: Yes
it’s already hilarious

Rachel: Wait all I can see are people shifting in their seat

Carmen: That’s what’s happening

Rachel: Oh good

Carmen: A white lady is talking

Rachel: I can’t hear her

Carmen: Before she said ‘chamillionaire is apparently hip-hop’ and I spit my drink out
Also my mom is in the room?

Rachel: Oh hi Mrs. Rios
Cool that a woman is moderating I guess?
Wish that it was Rachel Maddow though
Or someone not white and blond, even
I wish they televised the coin toss like in football games
Actually wait i have no idea if that actually happens

Carmen: Shouldn’t people who work in politics have like poker faces

Rachel: I always totally forget what Biden looks like

Carmen: lol her name is Martha
He got a lil stocky and his voice sounds weird

Rachel: It’s a surprise every time, like the little plastic castle

Carmen: Yes

Rachel: Wow, going straight for terrorists!

Carmen: yeah wow

Rachel: Not pulling any punches huh Martha
She’s really showing up Lehrer

Carmen: ‘Restoring America’s heart’ that was sweet

Rachel: We have to drink every time he mentions Bin Laden, you know that right

Carmen: ‘Track you to the gates of hell’ DAMN, and Ryan smiling like ‘I’ve been there!’

Rachel: I feel like this is already way more factual than the presidential debate was. Biden is going hard in the paint.

Carmen: Ryan thinks we need more guns!

Rachel: I think you’re ahead of me, Ryan hasn’t started talking yet in my world

Carmen: WHAT!


Carmen: Haha omg he is going HARD rn against Biden/Obama and trying to play up Romney being better with Libya, which is funny since Romney literally fucked up everything abroad possible

Rachel: I feel like Ryan’s speech mannerisms are really overly careful, like he is talking to a stupid person or reading poetry

Carmen: YES I feel that
lots of….

Rachel: Poetry about fascism, obviously

Carmen: It’s never too early / to speak up for / our values
We should not have called him a reformer / when he was turning guns / on his own people

Rachel: *Finger snaps*

Carmen: My mom is now yelling from the other room

Rachel: What is she saying?

Carmen: “Asshole!”

Rachel:Biden is straight up giggling at what Ryan is saying. Love it. WHOA Biden! “With all due respect that is a bunch of malarkey”


Carmen: How 1940’s polite gentleman of him

Rachel: I’m feeling good about this, this is some strong rhetoric

Carmen: “I don’t know what my friend is talking about!”

Rachel: Biden has clearly been drinking his Gatorade, is bringing is A game

Carmen: Yo Joe Biden is gonna dominate. Like I feel like the people in the front rows paid to see this because Joe Biden is a sight to be seen

Rachel: Do you think the average debate watcher really even knows that there was a crisis w/r/t Libya? I’m not asking that in a catty way, but just because I always wonder what these debates mean to people

Carmen: no, I don’t
I don’t think ANYONE knew wtf was going on in the first debate
way too wonky
also Ryan is trying to call Obama/Biden out on flip flopping

Rachel: Also, this is maybe a dumb questions, but who actually decides the debate questions? The moderator?

Carmen: Romney should avoid that at all costs
the ‘comission’ I assume

Rachel: omg I know

Carmen: “I’d actually like to move to Iran”
the moderator said that

Rachel: “What we should not be apologizing for is standing up for our values.” What exactly are our “values” w/r/t burning Qur’ans? Like please, elaborate.

Carmen: GOD

Rachel: Ryan is good at looking at the camera strategically, I’ll give him that

Carmen: I feel like ryan is literally telling stories
yeah Biden needs some media training tbh
I think it’s ’cause they’re sitting down
threw them off

Rachel: “Can the two of you be absolutely clear and specific,” seems like she learned a lot from the first debate
Also wow, going straight to military strikes! this is just not a drill

Carmen: Ugh, I hate talking about the military this way
stop talking about the ~details

Rachel: I don’t think I can really take discussions on military decisions in good faith. like maybe it was being raised by a Quaker pinko commie single mom (love you mom!)

Carmen: Also I feel like ryan talking about nuclear weapons is cheap

Rachel: But yeah I’m just not interested in hearing about anything other than de-escalating any military action

Carmen: Wow. “Let’s look at this from the eye of an Ayatollah.”
Paul Ryan, are you TRASHED

Rachel: I do not think Paul Ryan is qualified to do that. Wow this is so real! I’m genuinely pretty uninformed on these foreign policy issues tbh

Carmen: Yeah who is bb #embarrassed

Rachel: Mostly this is just making me really anxious

Carmen: wait Joe Biden just laughed and looked up to the gods
that’s how right he knows he is
side note: he makes Paul Ryan look like a teenage boy

Rachel: Paul Ryan’s face creeps me out so much. I know that’s not incisive political commentary, but I can’t not say it. There’s this Buffy episode where there’s an evil frat where college boys try to sacrifice girls to a malicious reptile god, I feel like Paul Ryan would belong to it

Carmen: The ayatollahs want a nuclear weapon, just like when kids pass a yo-yo in the store. That’s what I just got out of this
omg Paul Ryan just recycled a scripted line about Russia.

Rachel: I think what Biden is ultimately trying to do here is make the point that we don’t have to operate out of fear on these decisions
which is a point I admire

Carmen: Yes, I think that makes sense. And saying that the president knows what the fuck is going on because HELLO, he is actually president unlike anyone else and talks to people and works on it
“this president does not bluff” – winning line

Rachel: Good, yes
god, Martha is just not fucking around
did she really just ask “which is worse, war in the middle east or a nuclear weapon?”

Carmen: Wow.

extremely real

“war should always be the absolute last resort”

Carmen: Yes
and omg okay yes bringing up the improvements is a GREAT FUCKING STRATEGY YES

Rachel: Wow. “Can you get unemployment to under 6% and how long will it take?”

Carmen: I think Biden’s monologue is literally like the most moving thing I’ve ever witnessed

Rachel: I agree. Although I also almost cried in the doctor’s waiting room today at an ABC family show about a dad dying, so it might just be me tbh. YES thank you for bringing up the 47%

Carmen: omg Ryan said the economy is ‘limping along’ HAHA YR DUDE MADE IT CRIPPLED SO

Rachel: what’s the Kahlil Gibran quote? Even those who limp go not backwards?

Carmen: I hate when they blame democrats for not cleaning up the dog shit their animals leave in the bathroom y’know
is that too strong

Rachel: The Chris Rock line is really good, “this guy couldn’t cure cancer, so you’re going to vote for cancer?”
I feel like it’s important to note that regardless of what Republicans think they’re going to do to create jobs, they’re 100% going to slash support for the people who still don’t have jobs. Like it’s not that comforting to know you might someday get a job sort of if you can’t get unemployment or welfare.

Carmen: Yeah I feel that for sure.

Rachel: “Romney’s a good man”

Carmen: Oh wow Biden just brought up that time his wife died

Rachel: “Sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way!”
tiny violin for Romney/Ryan


Rachel: This is like the Akin situation

Carmen: “Sometimes we don’t have enough time to properly script lies for you. Vote Romney/Ryan.”

Rachel: You can’t “misspeak” that hard
also I didn’t know that about Biden’s wife and daughter


Rachel: I think it’s a good move to say that he doesn’t doubt Romney’s commitment to individuals but that he still doesn’t like his record, also
moving the discussion to where it actually belongs

Carmen: Yes, away from personal and back to actual information
I think it’s weird that Romney/Ryan talk about what they’ll do without revealing how, still

Rachel: I want to show this to my students to talk about actual argumentation as opposed to logical fallacies

Carmen: Even after being called out, like multiple times

Rachel: It’s crazy how they can get away with it, though
like I think on some level I thought there were rules about this
like “you can’t just make shit up” or “you have to have a plan”

Carmen: Absolutely not
that’s right-wing politics. For sure. At least as of late.

Rachel: Oh my god Ryan just avoided answering that question so hard

Carmen: “We would’ve done it better! But we don’t know how. We just know.”

Rachel: “When can you get it below 6%?” “Well, that’s what our plan will do!”

Carmen: Biden literally keeps laughing
it’s the best,
and now he’s just like on some freeway shit

Carmen: Did Paul Ryan just admit he lives with his mom? Also I feel like saying “we’ve all had tragedies in our lives” after Biden’s story is mad awkward / disrespectful, y’know. Like damn.

Rachel: “Medicare and entitlements”
take away the “s” and it’s Paul Ryan’s life story

Carmen: Your grandma living with you? Not like your wife dying.

Rachel: Omg if I have to watch Ryan talk like he’s going to defend Medicare I will literally throw up. It will be on some Linda Blair projectile shit.

Carmen: YES ME TOO YES. I hate when they blatantly lie. “We love Medicare! We love Social Security! We love poor people!”
#lie #morelying #somanylies

Rachel: Omg he’s perpetuating the exact same lie he’s already been called on as far as Obama taking money from Medicare?
this is so ballsy and awful

Carmen: Yeah but Biden is just like ‘oh hell no.’

Rachel: Oh my God, Ryan, YOU INVENTED THE VOUCHER THING. I will never get over how blatantly they pin the things they themselves have done on Obama. Biden getting really real with the camera eye contact, very nice

Carmen: Always and forever. So at this point Obama is so over it that he is just like ‘no stop talking you lying thirteen-year-old boy’
Oh shit she asked for a plan!! Rachel do you think they have one? Bets on no. I’ll drink this pitcher if I’m wrong.

Rachel: You have a pitcher??

Carmen: Of mudslide!

Rachel: Very nice. Biden is so sassy!!

Carmen: This moderator is really good. and YES. I think he pregamed.

Next: Lemon joins us, taxes, war, and abortion!

Rachel: LEMON


Rachel: Oh shit, is she proposing her own ideas and having them respond? That’s badass.

Lemon: Martha

Rachel: Props to Biden for actually explaining the voucher system and shutting it down. Vouchers are wacko if you’re a teen. Or anyone.

Carmen: LEM00000N
Also vouchers are whack
Biden “doesn’t have a track record to run on?” Fuck you. “We are not jeopardizing this program.” Fuck you.


Rachel: This is filling me with so much rage. But I feel so indebted to Biden for calling him on it

Carmen: Yes. Omg the taxes shit is so real

Rachel: I feel like we’re getting way straighter answers in this debate. I mean obviously Ryan is lying, but at least questions are actually being answered.

Rachel: Biden is all fire and brimstone
Get it, girl

Carmen: YEAH~
Lolol Ryan referencing Canada is so funny. They like gay people and have socialized healthcare there, dood. Watch yourself.

really though, canada comparisons?

Rachel: This set of statistics he’s creating w/r/t taxes and small businesses is so weird

Carmen: Romney did it too. Weird shit.

Lemon: There aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax??

Rachel: This does not make sense

Lemon: Also LOL you guys Biden’s laugh

Carmen: “So do you have a plan? What is your plan?”

Lemon: It’s like he knows a secret that everyone else doesn’t

Rachel: It’s such a genuine laugh, that’s what makes it great

Carmen: He’s giggling like a schoolgirl because of how well this is going for him

Rachel: I feel like Ryan is holding his shit together well enough that republicans will still try to claim he won this debate. But they will be wrong

Lemon: “Can I translate”

Rachel: My best friend and I are in a separate GChat talking about how Ryan is totally that guy who makes snide “jokes” about your body in an attempt to get you to lose weight. Just FYI

Carmen: OH SHIT
Ok hold on

Rachel: Yeah because you know who loves working together as a team and definitely doesn’t block and/or filibuster everything the other party tries to do


Rachel: Remember that time the GOP blocked literally everything
Like every single thing
The single, only reason that exists is to STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
And they still had to block it

Lemon: THEY DO NOT NEED IT, MARTHA (re: tax breaks for the wealthy)

Carmen: HAHAHA

Lemon: That is the whole point right there
That’s it

Rachel: God the loopholes again

Lemon: That is all. Nothing else.

Rachel: Do Republicans even know what loopholes are? Like, what that word means? I feel like they think they might be imaginary woodland creatures, like snipes.

Carmen: Yes, it’s how they get elected

Rachel: “We’re going to fix taxes by finding the loopholes! They’re out there. Somewhere.”


Carmen: Also what you said about Ryan making fat jokes is so true
He sucks.

Rachel: “No one wants that.” — Martha

still with this face

Carmen: HAHAH

Rachel: The whole philosophy of the GOP is so wrapped up in ideology of strength and weakness, which makes me so sad

Lemon: YES

Rachel: Not to get all touchy-feely on you but I feel so sad about the ways in which we’ve conflated self-sufficiency and militaristic might with strength
And peace and helping each other out as “weakness”

Carmen: I hate that failing due to circumstances outside of your control —
Failing because of institutional barriers
Failing because of poverty
Failing because of anything that is out of your hands
And when I say failing I mean like, failing to be a billionaire? To eat? To make it?
Is your fault

Rachel: Is “weak”

Carmen: And it makes you like, a bad person
Like why does that make me a bad person
I’m unemployed it’s cause YOU GUYS who are bad people, and you don’t give a fuck about me
Timely: “They Don’t Really Care About Us” by Michael Jackson.

Rachel: “The gains we’ve gotten?” What have we gained from all these wars, exactly?Haha I just noticed Martha’s water glass has a cocktail straw in it. Am secretly hoping that’s because it’s a cocktail

Carmen: I like joe biden just like lingering

Rachel: I love that Martha is making it explicit that Ryan won’t give a timeline
He’s kind of floundering now

Carmen: He is failing
And not in the weak way…
In the dumb way.

Rachel: He just doesn’t have an answer

Carmen: I think it’s unfair to say the Taliban are going to “take advantage” of our timeline
We need a timeline and we need to leave.
We went to kill Osama / Saddam, it’s all over, let’s give it up
We got the blood, we made some positive change, let’s empower some people to do their shit

Rachel: Also trying to deflect responsibility by waving a vague scary thing is just so done

Carmen: Yes, it’s sooo done. I’m so over that
The Taliban existed before, they exist now, they exist.
Gangs exist! THE KKK EXISTS!
Murder is wrong!

Rachel: “Let me try to illustrate this, because I think it can be a little confusing” I appreciate your treating us like children, Ryan, I feel so much more reassured now

Carmen: Except when he does it it’s like he’s telling me a story. A fake story. I like that he is dropping names of regions to make up for when Romney fucked them up

Rachel:  “Let’s move to another war.”


Carmen: I love this question
“MR. RYAN?!”

Rachel: I just laughed out loud

Carmen: But how could that even be possible
Painting a picture about “fighters spilling in”
I also kind of think they want to fight so we lose, and so we leave. So we should just leave?

Rachel: “What would my friend do DIFFERENTLY? You notice he never answers the question.”
House of Biden, bringing realness


Rachel: Oh good, Catholicism
Can’t wait to talk about this
Also why does religion have any place in this debate?

Carmen: “I don’t think a peron can separate their personal life or their faith from their politics.” – Paul Ryan said this, Biden won the debate. The end.
D00d this is some basic shit

Asshole, I don’t care about your kid
Your kid is not going to be vice president

Carmen: LOL

Rachel: Your feelings about her are not valid here

Carmen: Fuck ya kid
Dude Biden’s kid DIED
So fuck him
I’m just gonna keep bringing that up

Rachel: “Assaulting the religious liberties of this country”
I cannot roll my eyes hard enough
Taxpayer money going to Planned Parenthood isn’t the same thing as it going to abortion, asshole.
God, it is so good to hear a politician say “I refuse to impose this on others”
“Let me make it absolutely clear” is OG Obama
Oh FUCK YES bringing up the “forcible rape” issue
Shine a LIGHT on that bullshit
Oh that question was so good — Is abortion gonna remain legal? I would very much like to know


Rachel: God, Biden killed that question. He is so right about Supreme Court justices.

Carmen: Yes.
And like
I was thinking how weird it is to say like
“I like life, except in three instances”
Like I feel like that’s almost weirder than just supporting abortion
To say “no, except the following lives are not worthy of being fought for”

Rachel: That’s so true
Also, wow, really bringing it full circle. “Are you ever embarrassed by the tone of this campaign?”

Carmen: I love it
She done good
She done good.

Rachel: I wanna buy her a drink

Carmen: I have a lil mudslide left, I’ll pour it out
Wow, Ryan calling Obama negative is HILARIOUS
“The string of broken promises”

Rachel: There is just virtually no relationship between reality and Ryan’s statements in this debate


Rachel: The collective response to this question is making me sad
It seems like the idea is “well, i’ve been negative because my opponent is just so awful I can’t help it! LET ME PROVIDE EXAMPLES.”
Wow, really? Trying to front like Obama is the one who won’t give a specific plan?
That’s pretty ballsy

Carmen: This is bad because Joe Biden’s speech was moving (“it will be okay. It will be okay.”) But Paul Ryan is looking at the camera
And I know that’s a good thing to do because college

Rachel: Because college
Are they going to hug like Obama and Romney hugged?
Because that was so gloriously uncomfortable

Carmen: That was homosexy
Paul Ryan just sounded way too scripted / robotic so

Rachel: I feel like he’s trying to sell me a used car. Aw, handshake, no hug. Kind of a serious arm squeeze though

Carmen: Oooh ~sensual
It is a used car. It’s a recycled car that doesn’t run but it looks nice for 5 seconds

Rachel: Ok, I feel like it needs to be acknowledged that aside from the 5 minutes spent on abortion, the glaring question of women’s issues didn’t get any screen time

Carmen: Yep

Rachel: Right
What even are gay people
Also tho we can totes acknowledge that biden won
Master debater

Carmen: Biden pwned a bitch
It is official, Biden hath owned

Rachel: I’m going to send him an edible arrangement

Carmen: HAHAHA
Sign my name in the card


And that’s all she wrote, folks! Join us again for the next Presidential debate on October 16. In the meantime, check out the fact-checking on this debate as well as the White House’s clarifications, and of course, Ann Friedman’s GIF coverage. (Also, if you haven’t seen this yet, go ahead and check it out. It will help.)

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1089 articles for us.


  1. Carmen’s mom sounds like my mom. I’m pretty sure it took my mom a lot of self-control not to punch the TV every time Paul Ryan opened his mouth. Needless to say, with me, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

  2. Couldn’t they have thrown a bone to the gays on NCOD? That part disappointed me.

    Biden was almost too good at calling Ryan on his bullshit. I can’t decide if he should have been more polite/professional or if that was a good way to show YOUR BULLSHIT IS BULLSHIT.

    I almost used the wrong ‘you’re,’ you can see how many feelings I have about this.

  3. I spent 80% of the debate yelling, either “THAT IS FALSE!” at Ryan, or some variation of “yay,” “yesyesyes,” etc. at Biden. Also that time Paul Ryan was making fun of Biden but ended up giving us a way to make fun of Romney way more – “sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way!”

  4. I do have to say that while I overall thought Biden did a great job of handing Ryan his ass, I really wish he had taken a stronger line on contradicting what Ryan said about the contraception mandate. See, it is easy, if you don’t really understand the issue of the separation of church and state and how it’s been interpreted in the courts, to think that something like that is unconstitutional, so I do think those of us who get it need to be better at explaining why. Especially when you’re the VP in a vice presidential debate. It’s nice that he pointed out that explicitly religious organizations (e.g. not colleges and hospitals) don’t have it, but I think he needed to go further than that.

  5. “There’s this Buffy episode where there’s an evil frat where college boys try to sacrifice girls to a malicious reptile god, I feel like Paul Ryan would belong to it”

    i JUST rewatched this episode and all i can say is YES YES YES 100x YES

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