Biden and Ryan go head to head in VP debate
Vice President Biden garnered attention with his aggressive style.
By STEPHANIE COSBY, Staff Writer
Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan participated in the only vice presidential debate this election season last Thursday night.
The two clashed over foreign and domestic issues, including the tenuous situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Iran as well as the American economy, the debt crisis and abortion.
Both candidates came off strong in the 90 minute debate moderated by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz, but it was Vice President Biden who garnered attention with his aggressive style, semi-frequent laughter and use of the word “malarkey” to describe false assertions by Congressman Ryan throughout the program.
Congressman Ryan pointed to last month’s Benghazi attack that killed four Americans an example of the “unraveling of the Obama foreign policy” and criticized the Obama administration for not immediately calling it a terrorist attack and for pushing ahead with “devastating” cuts to the defense budget.
Biden called these claims “malarkey”, stating that Congressman Ryan helped cut the embassy security budget $300 million below what was asked for and insisted Romney politicized the Benghazi situation before all of the facts were known. He insists that Obama is “a guy who’s repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again.”
The arguing continued with discussions on the state of the U.S. economy, jobs and taxes.
Congressman Ryan acknowledged that Obama and Biden inherited a “tough situation” but feels they are leading the country in the wrong direction with the stimulus plan and other policies that were supposed to bring steep drops in unemployment.
“23 million Americans are struggling for work today; 15% of Americans are living in poverty today. This is not what real recovery looks like,” Ryan said. He instead pointed to the Romney/Ryan five-point recovery plan which includes energy independence, helping people get skills to get jobs and championing small businesses.
“Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility,” Biden retorted. He touted the Obama administration’s tax cuts to the middle-class, bailout of the auto industry and stimulus package that led to jobs for millions of Americans as evidence of their concern.
The debate wrapped up with a hot-button social issue: abortion. As both Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan are Catholics, Raddatz asked them to discuss the role that religion has played in their personal views on abortion.
Ryan confirmed that he believes life begins at conception and that “the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
Biden stated that while he accepted that life begins at conception in his personal life, he said, “I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others [...] I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.”
The next Presidential Debate will take place at 9pm on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in New York. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley will moderate this town-hall style debate, where citizens will ask the candidates question.