DEBATE

Biden, Ryan clash sharply on foreign policy, economy, taxes

2012-10-11T19:53:00Z 2012-10-12T15:50:05Z Biden, Ryan clash sharply on foreign policy, economy, taxesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 11, 2012 7:53 pm  • 

   DANVILLE, Ky. — At odds early and often, Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan squabbled over the economy, taxes, Medicare and more Thursday night in a contentious, interruption-filled debate. “That is a bunch of malarkey,” the vice president retorted after a particularly tough Ryan attack on the administration's foreign policy.

“I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't interrupt each other,” Ryan said later to his rival, referring to Democratic pressure on Biden to make up for President Barack Obama's listless performance in last week's debate with Mitt Romney.

There was nothing listless this time as the 69-year-old Biden sat next to the 42-year old Wisconsin congressman on a stage at Centre College in Kentucky.

Ninety minutes after the initial disagreement over foreign policy, the two men clashed sharply over steps to reduce federal deficits.

“The president likes to say he has a plan,” Ryan said, but in fact ``he gave a speech'' and never backed it up with details.  

   Biden conceded Republicans indeed have a plan, but he said if it were enacted, it would have ``eviscerated all the things the middle class care about.''  

   The debate took place a little more than a week after Obama and Romney met in the first of their three debates — an encounter that has fueled a Republican comeback in opinion polls.   

   With Democrats eager for Biden to show the spark the president lacked, he did so.   

   Unprompted, he brought up the video in which Romney had said 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, view themselves as victims and do not take responsibility for their own lives.   

   ``It's about time they take responsibility'' instead of signing pledges to avoid raising taxes, Biden said — of Romney, Ryan and the Republicans.  

   The serial disagreements started immediately after the smiles and handshakes of the opening.  

   Ryan said in the debate's opening moments that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had been denied sufficient security by administration officials. Stevens died in a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11.  

   ``Not a single thing he said is accurate,'' Democrat Biden shot back.  

   Republicans and Democrats alike have said in recent days the presidential race now approximates the competitive situation in place before the two political conventions. The two men are generally separated by a point or two in national public opinion polls and in several battleground states, with Obama holding a slender lead in Ohio and Wisconsin.  

   Both the president and Romney campaigned in battleground states during the day before ceding the spotlight to their political partners for the evening.  

   In Kentucky, Biden and Ryan seemed primed for a showdown from their opening moments on stage, and neither seemed willing to let the other have the final word. They interrupted each other repeatedly — and moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC as well.  

   With Democrats eager for Biden to show the spark the president lacked, he did so.  

   Unprompted, he brought up the video in which Romney had said 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, view themselves as victims and do not take responsibility for their own lives.  

   ``It's about time they take responsibility'' instead of signing pledges to avoid raising taxes, Biden said — of Romney, Ryan and the Republicans.  

   But Ryan quickly turned to dreary economic statistics — 23 million are struggling to work, he said, and 15 percent of the country is living in poverty. ``This is not what a real recovery looks like.''  

   Medicare was a flashpoint, as well. Ryan said Obama's health care plan had diverted $716 billion from the program for seniors and created a new board that could deny care to patients who need it.  

   Democrats ``haven't put a credible solution on the table,'' he said. ``They'll tell you about vouchers. They'll say all these things to try to scare people.''  

   Biden quickly said that Ryan had authored not one but two proposals in which seniors would be given government payments that might not cover the entirety of their care. Otherwise, he said, the Romney-Ryan approach wouldn't achieve the savings they claimed.  

   Unlike Obama, Biden had no qualms about launching a personal attack on Romney.  

   After Ryan argued that Romney's plan would pay for reduced tax rates by eliminating tax loopholes for the wealthy, Biden noted that on a recent interview on CBS' ``60 Minutes,'' Romney defended the 14 percent tax rate he pays on his $20 million income as fair, even though it's a lower rate than some lower income taxpayers pay.  

   ``You think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes,'' Biden asked, addressing the national TV audience.  

   Across 90 minutes, the two men agreed precisely once.  

   That was when Ryan, referring to the war in Afghanistan, said the calendar was the same each year. Biden agreed to that, but not to the underlying point, which was that it was a mistake for Obama to have announced a date for the withdrawal of the remainder of the U.S. combat troops.  

   The fiercest clash over foreign policy came in the debate's opening moments, when Ryan cited events across the Middle East as well as Stevens' death in Libya as evidence that the administration's foreign policy was unraveling. The Republican also said the administration had failed to give Stevens the same level of protection as the U.S. ambassador in Paris receives.  

   Biden rebutted by saying that the budget that Ryan authored as chairman of the House Budget Committee had cut the administration's funding request for diplomatic security by $300 million.   

   On the nation's economy, both men were asked directly when his side could reduce unemployment to 6 percent from the current 7.8 percent. Both men sidestepped.  

   Biden repeated the president's contention that the nation is moving in the right direction, while Ryan stated the Republican view that economic struggle persists even though Democrats had control of both houses of Congress during the first two years of Obama's term.   

   ``Where are the 5 million green jobs'' we were told would be created? Ryan said to Biden.    

   Obama campaigned in Florida during the day. Mocking recent changes in Romney's rhetoric, he told a rally in Miami rally, ``After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney is trying to convince you that he was severely kidding.''   

   Romney visited with 93-year-old Billy Graham in North Carolina before speaking to an evening rally in Asheville, N.C. ``Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me,'' he told the evangelist.   

   For Biden, Thursday night's debate was his first since the 2008 campaign, when he shared a stage with Sarah Palin, then John McCain's running mate.   

   Ryan spars frequently with Democrats during debates on legislation on the House floor and in the House Budget Committee, which he chairs, but not in a one-on-one encounter covering 90 minutes and a virtually unlimited range of topics.   

   For all their differences, the two men shared a common objective, to advance the cause of their tickets in a close race for the presidency — and avoid a gaffe that might forever seal their place in the history of debates.   

   Romney's choice of Ryan as running mate over the summer cheered conservatives in the House, many of whom regard him as their leader on budget and economic issues. The seven-term lawmaker has authored a pair of deficit-reducing budgets in the past two years that call for spending cuts and changes in Medicare, blueprints that Republicans passed through the House and Obama and his allies in Congress frequently criticize. He also champions a no-tax increase approach to economic policy.   

   As a senator before becoming vice president, Biden was chairman of the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees, and he has long experience in national security issues. More recently, he was Obama's point man in arduous, ultimately unsuccessful negotiations with Republicans on steps to cut the deficit.   

   Both Ryan and Biden held extensive rehearsals, with stand-ins for their opponents.   

   Biden turned to Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who is well-versed in Ryan's policy views from his tenure as senior Democrat on the Budget Committee.   

   Ryan's foil in rehearsal was former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a skillful courtroom advocate.   

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(22) Comments

  1. Rotgut
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    Rotgut - October 12, 2012 2:00 pm
    Well, since we're being subjective, I found Biden a little overbearing. Always have. But I also know why Ryan was voted "biggest brown-noser" of his high school class. His smarmy attitude shows he's been told a few too many times he's the "intellectual" of the party. Just creepy. And what does Beano have to do with abortion rights?
  2. twiggy
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    twiggy - October 12, 2012 1:57 pm

    I fail to see a metaphor, but any way. One or two of the Lies fact checkers noted by Mr Ryan: Ryan: "Obama will reduce our Navy to the smallest it has been since before World War I."

    Politifact called this absurd, giving it a score of “pants on fire.” The basis for the statement—which Romney himself used in January—is the number of ships in the Navy. In 1916, the Navy had 245 ships; as of 2011, the number was 285. Under George W. Bush, the numbers were even lower (down to 278 at one point).

    RYAN: “We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability. Now, let‘s take a look at where we’ve gone – come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material – nuclear material – to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.”

    THE FACTS: Ryan’s claim is misleading. Iran isn’t believed to have produced any of the highly enriched uranium needed to produce even one nuclear weapon, let alone five. That point isn’t even disputed by Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored the world at the United Nations last month to create a “red line” at enrichment above 20 percent. Iran would have to enrich uranium at much higher levels to produce a weapon. There is intelligence suggesting that Iran has worked on weapon designs, but not that it has developed a delivery system for any potential nuclear warhead.
    There are lost more, on taxes, abortion Obamacare, but you get the picture.


    Sooo, Mr Ryan Lies, but Mr Biden smiles and that's disrespectful?
  3. aequitas
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    aequitas - October 12, 2012 1:42 pm
    Just Curious wrote: "Fact checkers could find no lies by Ryan..."

    Well that's a lie.

    "Ryan said Obama’s proposal to let tax rates rise for high-income individuals would “tax about 53 percent of small-business income.” Wrong. Ryan is counting giant hedge funds and thousands of other multimillion-dollar enterprises as “small” businesses.

    Ryan was wrong when he said a rise in the jobless rate in Biden’s hometown was “how it’s going all around America.” The rate nationally has sunk back to where it was when Obama took office. And in Ryan’s hometown, it’s more than 4 percentage points lower that it was at the start of Obama’s term.

    Ryan claimed the Obama administration spent stimulus money on “electric cars in Finland.” Not true.

    Ryan misquoted a Medicare official as saying “one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business” as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Not quite.

    Ryan claimed that the ACA contains “taxpayer funding” of abortion. In fact the law provides no direct funding of abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life.

    Ryan was off base when he said of a cost-saving panel created by the Affordable Care Act, “not one of them even has to have medical training.” Actually, the board must include physicians and other health care professionals among its members."

    http://factcheck.org/2012/10/veep-debate-violations/


    "On Iran, Ryan described the impression he thought the ayatollahs would get about the U.S. relationship with ally Israel. Ryan claimed Obama was in New York City the same day as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but went on a TV show instead of meeting with him. The two leaders were not there on the same day: Obama was there Monday and Tuesday, and Netanyahu was there later in the week, on Thursday and Friday. Obama taped The View on Monday. We rated this claim False.

    In an exchange about the effectiveness of Obama's stimulus, Ryan asked Biden whether it was "a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?" An American car company, Fisker Automotive, got federal loan guarantees and later manufactured cars in Finland, but the federal support the company received wasn't funded by the stimulus. Meanwhile, the loans went toward engineering and design that happened in the United States. As for the windmills in China, it's true that a small number of windmills and components to build them came from China. But the statement greatly exaggerates China’s role in the overall use of stimulus money. We rated Ryan's statement Mostly False.

    Ryan said the Obama administration passed the stimulus with the idea that "unemployment would never get to 8 percent." Obama's Council of Economic Advisers created a chart predicting that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate from going higher, but the accompanying report included heavy disclaimers that the projections had "significant margins of error" and a high degree of uncertainty due to a recession that is "unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity." We rated Ryan's statement Mostly False.

    Ryan, in his closing statement, said Obama "made his choices," including "a government takeover of health care." The phrase is simply not true. "Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But Obama's health care law relies largely on the free market. We voted "a government takeover of health care" our Lie of the Year for 2010."

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/oct/11/fact-checking-vice-presidential-debate-between-joe/


    The only way in which you could conclude that Ryan didn't lie at all in the debate is if you're living in an insulated echo-chamber...or are suffering from psychosis.
  4. just curious
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    just curious - October 12, 2012 1:18 pm
    Here's my metaphor -biden looked like a fool. Here he is nearly 70 and using antics of a fifth grader - interrupting, laughing aloud, using juvenile facial expressions and out and out lying. Fact checkers could find no lies by Ryan but many by biden.
    What "most pundits" are agreeing with you or you are agreeing with? Not the story as I see/hear it.
  5. twiggy
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    twiggy - October 12, 2012 11:30 am
    Thanks for your comment. You are entitled to have one, and express it. As am I. Yes, I am biased in favor of Mr Obama and Mr Biden. Are you implying you are unbiased? Come on, be honest.


    Most pundits are agreeing with me, but it doesn't really matter. It was a good debate. Mr Ryan did an OK job, didn't make a fool of himself, and was adequate.


    I guess "rock the house" would be a subjective metaphor. I think I am entitled to use a metaphor I like, right?
  6. JMHO
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    JMHO - October 12, 2012 11:03 am
    Coming from someone who is obviously extremely biased based on your past comments, your opinion is worthless. Biden made a complete A__ out of himself. If you consider that "rocking the house", you've got some issues.
  7. just curious
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    just curious - October 12, 2012 11:02 am
    From your posts on this site it is obvious you do not have an acquaintance with the truth.
  8. twiggy
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    twiggy - October 12, 2012 9:19 am
    Woah! It would appear I got to tommy with my "old white guy" comments, on a different blog. How long do we need to wait for this "will be considered the worst VP debate of all time." thing to happen? I want to point it out to you when it happens, and apologize profusely.


    Just goes to show, some old white guys DO think, and are able to explain and argue their points with success and knowledge. And I bet he has a very diverse group of friends too. Some probably even (gasp) non white!
  9. Lumpart
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    Lumpart - October 12, 2012 9:11 am
    You forgot O'Really/Stewart - Repubs 1, Dems 2
  10. senor citizen
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    senor citizen - October 12, 2012 8:45 am
    Looked pretty close to me, I have only 1 channel on which to watch it (CNN Int.) however Biden tried to run over Ryan and did not succeed. I was very suprised that Ryan was as well versed on foreign affairs as he is famous for being quite savvy on the economy. Biden was quite disruptive and probably off his meds however his teeth looked great!
  11. twiggy
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    twiggy - October 12, 2012 8:45 am
    Check this out http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57531059/poll-biden-takes-debate-over-ryan-uncommitted-voters-say/
  12. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - October 12, 2012 8:18 am
    No, Biden lost. Even CNN has it as a Biden loss. He was terrible. If that is acceptable to you democrats, you are hopeless. He tried to cover a miserable record with a nasty personality. Is that how you want your Vice President to conduct himself? No dignity, no intellect.
  13. twiggy
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    twiggy - October 12, 2012 7:25 am
    This is what amuses me about you, you can't have an original idea. You have to look at the "media" to tell you what to think.


    Check this out http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57531059/poll-biden-takes-debate-over-ryan-uncommitted-voters-say/
  14. Report Abuse
    - October 12, 2012 4:27 am
    Rude? Why are democrats always considered rude by you (who leads the blogs with rudeness), when they are telling the truth. Once again, Ryan lied , bold face lied.

    Statement: Ryan said it was possible to cut taxes 20 percent across the board and not affect the middle class adversely. Distortion:The problem with the Romney-Ryan tax plan is that they haven't specified which loopholes would be cut. Based on the sketchy plan they provided, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded that Romney's proposal would create a ?net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers
    (Bloomberg Fnancial). Yes, Alphamale, the source was the financial business owned by Republican Mayor Bloomberg.

    Another lie was regarding death panels, proven to be a lie when Sarah Palin first made in 2009. Ryan just revomited 3 year old lies.

    s Biden said, that's a subtle reincarnation of what Sarah Palin called "death panels" and what the nonpartisan fact-checkers at Politifact.com called the "Lie of the Year" in 2009.
  15. Report Abuse
    - October 12, 2012 4:21 am
    No any more, dead heat.

    At least we had Biden again correcting the lies of Ryan, who once again, couldn't stick to his story if he was paid to.
  16. Jim from Bettendorf
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    Jim from Bettendorf - October 11, 2012 11:52 pm
    First 2 debate score
    Repulicans 1, Democrats 1
  17. ohhereitgoes
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    ohhereitgoes - October 11, 2012 11:22 pm
    Biden drove up for the debate and he and 20 advisors got out of the car.

    Honestly, he was wretched. He tried to replace substance with interruptions, misstatements, and antics.

    Ryan was adequate but probably looked better to most people just by comparison.

    I'm amazed Biden didn't break out his "Apu" South Asian convenience store clerk impression cribbed from The Simpsons; he wouldn't have looked any more crass or out of place.

    Ryan wins, by default if nothing else.
  18. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - October 11, 2012 11:01 pm
    CNN and the media outlets agree with me. The CNN snap poll has Ryan winning by four points and Biden is being hammered for his obnoxious behavior. More crass gutter politics from the regime.
  19. twiggy
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    twiggy - October 11, 2012 10:54 pm
    Mr Biden did a great job of correcting Mr Ryan's lies. Ryan was adequate. Biden rocked the house.
  20. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - October 11, 2012 10:20 pm
    Nice save? That's putting a real spin on being rude and obnoxious.
  21. Crystal
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    Crystal - October 11, 2012 10:14 pm
    NIce save by Biden. Democrats may not offer up solutions but I think they are right that the cure from Repulicans would do more damage to the US. Republicans want vouchers for health care, no out date for wars and more military spending needed just to prove the US is strong for the sake of saying we are strong. There is no looming enemy stronger than us anywhere but we need more spending just because we need more spending. Kind of like I need new shoes just because they are shoes. I liked Biden the best when he said he is a Catholic but won't force his beliefs on any other group. I also liked it when he said we didn't reduce troops in Afghanistan. The troops that left were replaced by trained Afghans. That was the point after all.
  22. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - October 11, 2012 10:07 pm
    I doubt if many votes were changed tonight, but I can't believe there is anyone who thinks Biden was anything but an arrogant, rude jerk tonight. The constant smirking, interrupting and mugging was ridiculous. We know he's an undisciplined idiot, but he went way over the line.
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