VP debate covers national, international issues

7:11 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan got their turn in the spotlight Thursday night, debating the issues in a 90-minute session at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Their meeting comes eight days after the first of three presidential debates between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, a contest that most observers awarded to Romney. Those two meet again on Tuesday and again on Oct. 22.

ABC's Martha Raddatz was the moderator in the debate that discussed national and international issues.

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During the debate, Biden mockingly smiled, wagged his finger and couldn't seem to stop interrupting Ryan.

Democrats cheered his sharp tone in the only vice presidential debate. Republicans panned the vice president as disrespectful to his younger opponent.

Biden's aggressive approach stood in stark contrast to Obama's listless - and widely panned - turn on the debate stage last week. Obama, to the dismay of his supporters, clenched his jaw, looked down at his notes, and held back his criticism of Romney.

Ryan, sitting on the national debate stage for the first time, settled on a smirk for much of the debate. He sipped water and cleared his throat through many of Biden's answers.

Ryan slams Biden on Libya

Ryan slammed the Obama administration for failing to call the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya a terrorist attack.

Biden criticized Ryan and Romney for launching political attacks before they knew the facts on the ground.

Ryan says the U.S. is witnessing the unraveling of Obama's foreign policy. He says the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stephens shows the U.S. is projecting weakness abroad.

Biden says that's, quote, "a bunch of malarkey." He says the U.S. will bring those responsible to justice and ensure any mistakes aren't repeated.

The vice president says Obama has led with a steady hand and clear vision, and that Romney would do the opposite.

Biden touts Iran sanctions as Ryan voices doubts

Biden says his administration has the toughest sanctions in history on Iran, even as Ryan says the White House has no credibility on the issue.

Ryan says Obama has allowed Iran to get four years closer to building a nuclear weapon.

Biden says that he is "quite confident" the administration could deal a serious blow to Iranian's nuclear ambitions.

The vice president called Ryan's criticisms of his foreign policy a "bunch of malarkey," but Ryan contended he would stand up for Israel.

Netanyahu, Iran bandied about in VP debate

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played a prominent role in the debate between vice presidential candidates Biden and Ryan.

Ryan accused Biden and Obama of ignoring Netanyahu and giving Iran the time to forge ahead toward building a nuclear weapon. Biden dismissed him and said Obama's met with "Bibi" dozens of times.

Biden said the Iranians don't yet have a nuclear weapon and called any claim to the contrary "loose talk." In a speech to the United Nations last month, Netanyahu said Iran was ready to move to the final stage of making a nuclear weapon.

Biden takes aim at Romney's 47 percent comments

Biden says Romney's opposition to the auto bailout and government steps to prevent foreclosures "shouldn't be surprising" given his comments about the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income tax.

Biden is referring to remarks Romney made to wealthy donors. In a secretly recorded video, Romney said 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims and entitled to government help.

Biden says some of those people are senior citizens show are living off social security. Obama never mentioned Romney's comments in his first debate, to the dismay of many Democrats.

Romney has since said his comments were wrong. Biden says if voters believe they were a mistake, he has "a bridge to sell you."

Biden, Ryan scuffle on economy

Biden says Ryan and Republicans must take responsibility for obstructing the economic recovery.

Biden says that Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, has stood in the way of making middle-class tax cuts permanent and helping struggling homeowners. He says Ryan and Romney shouldn't talk about how they care about people until they're ready to pitch in.

Ryan says this isn't what a real recovery looks like. He points out that unemployment in Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pa., is at 10 percent, compared to 8.5 percent when Biden and President Barack Obama took office.

Ryan says Biden and Obama want to raise taxes on small businesses, while he and Romney want to help struggling Americans get good jobs.

Biden, Ryan clash over Medicare, Social Security

Biden and Ryan clashed over their plans for Medicare and Social Security, government programs for seniors.

Often appearing exasperated by Ryan, Biden says he and Obama would never sign onto the sort of voucher program proposed by Ryan and Romney. Ryan fired back that the Republican plan would give seniors more choice in their medical care.

Romney's plan would introduce undetermined subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance or join a government plan modeled on traditional Medicare. Obama's health care law cuts Medicare spending for hospitals and other providers by more than $700 billion over a decade. Those cuts are being used to provide health insurance to more working-age Americans.

Ryan to middle class: Obama tax hike coming to you

Ryan says there aren't enough rich Americans to tax to pay for all of Obama's spending.

Ryan told viewers of the vice presidential debate, quote, "Watch out, middle class. The tax bill is coming to you."

Ryan says he and Romney want to give Congress a framework for taxes that involves lowering rates by 20 percent. He says he guarantees that can be paid for by closing loopholes, mostly on the upper class. But he isn't saying which loopholes he'd close.

Biden says the only way to pay for Romney's plan is to raise middle-class taxes. He says Republicans insist on needless tax cuts for the rich and are holding hostage middle-class tax cuts that Obama wants to make permanent.

Biden, Ryan agree on Afghanistan pullout by 2014

Biden says it's up to Afghanistan to take responsibility for its own security.

Ryan said he doesn't want the United States to lose the gains achieved in its decade-long war there following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Both Biden and Ryan conveyed at Thursday's vice presidential debate that it's time to wind down U.S. involvement. Ryan said he agrees with Obama in transitioning out of the country by 2014, but said the White House should not announce a deadline for withdrawal and expose weakness.

Both men were responding to a question about why American troops shouldn't just leave Afghanistan immediately.

Ryan says nobody wants US troops in Syria

Ryan says nobody is proposing sending U.S. troops to Syria.

Ryan and Biden argued over whether there's any difference between them on how to deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Ryan accused Biden and Obama of outsourcing U.S. foreign policy to the United Nations. He says Obama gave Russia veto power, and that the longer the conflict has continued, the more groups like al-Qaida will flood into Syria.

Biden says the last thing the U.S. needs is another Mideast ground war and that if Ryan and Romney want to put U.S. troops in Syria, they should say so. He says Romney talks a lot about Obama's strategy being unsuccessful, but can't say what he would do differently.

Catholics Biden, Ryan talk abortion in debate

Biden and Ryan say their Catholic faith informs their public policy decisions, but they come down on different sides of the abortion debate.

Biden said his Catholicism teaches that life begins at conception but that he would not impose that belief on people of other faiths.

Ryan said he opposes abortion but that the policy of a Romney administration would include exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.

The Associated Press

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