NEW YORK (TIP): The vice presidential debate between Vice-President Joe Biden and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Re. Paul Ryan appeared to be a sequel of an earlier debate between Obama and Romney.
The 90 minute debate held at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, from 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 11 was moderated by ABC’s Mar tha Raddatz. The debate was split on foreign and domestic policies. Libya, Afghanistan were the major foreign policy issues. Speaking about the failure of Obama to understand the situation in Libya, Paul said, “It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a ter rorist attack.” Ryan blamed the Obama administration for “projecting weakness abroad.”
“What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy,” he added. Biden, who ke pt smiling during Ryan’s comments, responded, “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.” He criticized Ryan for voting to cut funding for embassy security and added of Mitt Romney and Ryan, “These guys bet ag ainst America all the time.” For Biden, the debate marked an oppor tunity to change the nar rative of the campaign in the wake of President Obama’s widely-panned perfor mance in the first presidential debate last week. Mitt Romney has g ained in both national and battle g round state polls in the wake of that perfor mance, and the two men are now ef fectively tied in national polls. While vice presidential debates have not changed the course of a campaign in the past, a strong perfor mance by the vice president could allow the Obama campaign to re g ain its footing. For Ryan, the Wisconsin Re publican cong ressman and House Budget Committee chair who is seen by many as the intellectual leader of the GOP, the debate was a chance to introduce himself to the American people and make a forceful case for the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Ryan, who asked to be refer red to as “Mr. Ryan” instead of “Cong ressman Ryan” by the moderator, was pressed on his plan to transfor m Medicare into a voucher-like system as well as the Romney-Ryan ticket’s unwillingness to specify which deductions and loopholes should be eliminated from the tax code in order to make its tax cuts revenue-neutral. On Iran, the two ag reed Iran should not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, but Ryan said sanctions should be tougher claiming Iran is moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. Biden defended the administration’s sanctions saying “These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions. Period.” Biden followed by asking, rhetorically, how the administration could make the sanctions any tougher.
“What more can the President do? We will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon,” he said. Raddatz then moved on to domestic policy where Biden and Ryan got to Mitt Romney’s comment at a F lorida fundraiser that “47 percent” of people don’t pay income taxes. Ryan came to his running mate’s defense, “sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth in the right way,” Ryan said. Biden immediately dismissed the suggestion that Romney’s “47 percent” was a flub saying, “If you think he just made a mistake, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”Moving to Medicare, Biden laid down his commitment, “We will be no par t of a voucher pro g ram or the privatization of Social Security,” he said. But Ryan accused the vice president of not putting “a credible solution on the table.” Ryan shot back, “they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar tur ning Medicare into Obamacare,” refer ring to the Obama administration’s $716 billion in Medicare savings. Raddatz then moved on to the proposed tax plans of both the Obama- Biden and Romney-Ryan ticket. Ryan fiercely defended Romney’s plan saying “six studies have guaranteed that this math adds up,” and guaranteeing that his plan won’t raise the deficit or raise taxes on the middle class. Biden questioned that guarantee asking how lower taxes rates and g reater economic g rowth was possible.
“Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates and increased g rowth,” Ryan of fered. “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy,” Biden quipped back. On the topic of abor tion, Raddatz asked Ryan if someone who wishes abor tion to remain le g al has something to wor ry about with Romney in of fice. “We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision,” said Ryan But Biden argued those who wish abor tion to remain le g al do in fact have something to wor ry about, “The next president will get one or two supreme cour t nominees, that’s how close Roe vs. Wade is,” he said. On a personal note, Raddatz asked what each candidate’s individual character would bring to the White House.
“There are plenty of fine people who could lead this country,” Ryan be g an, “but what you need are people who, when they see problems, fix those problems.” Biden pointed to his drive to fight for the middle class. “My record stands for itself,” he said, “I never say anything I don’t mean…my whole life has been devoted to leveling the playing field for middle class people.” In closing, Biden reiterated his commitment to the middle class once more, “The president and I are not going to rest until the playing field is leveled,” he said, “That’s what this is all about.” Ryan, with the final word, made the hard sell, “Mitt Romney and I will not duck the tough issues, and we will not blame others for the next four years. We will take responsibility…the choice is clear, and the choice rests with you, and we ask you for your vote.”