DECISION 2012: Biden and Ryan faceoff in only debate

VP Debate: Biden, Ryan at each other on everything

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan have squabbled over the economy, taxes, Medicare and foreign policy in their one and only debate.

The 90-minute face-off was fast-moving and feisty from the start and marked by sharp disagreements and interruptions.

After Ryan attacked the administration's foreign policy as being weak, the vice president called the assessment "a bunch of malarkey." About the interruptions, Ryan said Biden was "under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground." That was reference to last week's presidential debate in which even President Barack Obama concedes he had "a bad night."

Unlike that debate, Biden 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.

The event was held at Kentucky's Centre College and moderated by ABC's Martha Raddatz.


Biden, Ryan agree on Afghanistan pullout by 2014

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden says it's up to Afghanistan to take responsibility for its own security.

Republican rival Paul 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 President Barack 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

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan says nobody is proposing sending U.S. troops to Syria.

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

Ryan is accusing Biden and President Barack 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 Mitt 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.


Biden walks line between aggressive, domineering

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden mockingly smiled, wagged his finger and couldn't seem to stop interrupting Republican running mate Paul 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 President Barack 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 Republican nominee Mitt 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.


Biden, Ryan clash over Medicare, Social Security

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden and congressman Paul Ryan are clashing over their plans for Medicare and Social Security, government programs for seniors.

Often appearing exasperated by Ryan, Biden says he and President Barack Obama would never sign onto the sort of voucher program proposed by Ryan and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt 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.


Biden takes aim at Romney's 47 percent comments

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden says Republican Mitt 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.

Sitting alongside Romney running mate Paul Ryan, Biden says some of those people are senior citizens show are living off social security.

President Barack 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."


Ryan to middle class: Obama tax hike coming to you

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Republican Paul Ryan says there aren't enough rich Americans to tax to pay for all of President Barack Obama's spending.

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

Ryan says he and Mitt 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.

Vice President Joe 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.


Catholics Biden, Ryan talk abortion in debate

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Associated Press

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Vice presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Paul Ryan say their Catholic faith informs their public policy decisions, but they come down on different sides of the abortion debate.

Biden, President Barack Obama's running mate, said his Catholicism teaches that life begins at conception but that he would not impose that belief on people of other faiths. Ryan, the running mate of GOP challenger Mitt Romney, 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.


Obama declares Biden's performance 'terrific'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says Joe Biden "was terrific" in the vice presidential debate.

Obama spoke to Biden briefly after the debate. The president says he "could not be prouder" of Biden and believes he made a strong case for making sure the economy grows for the middle class.

Obama watched the debate on Air Force One as he flew back to Washington following campaign events in Florida. His plane landed four minutes after the debate ended.

The president gave a thumbs-up as he walked down the plane's front stairs. He then walked over to a group of reporters gathered nearby to give his assessment of the debate.

Obama's campaign was hoping for a strong performance from Biden following the president's listless debate last week against Republican nominee Mitt Romney.


Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney’s Response to This Evening’s Vice Presidential Debate
[Madison, Wis.] – Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney issued the following response regarding this evening’s debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden:

“Tonight put us halfway through the debate cycle en route to the November election. By all accounts the Romney/Ryan ticket are up two to zero against our sitting president and vice president.

Once again, almost a mirror image of the last debate, the side with answers for our nation’s future trumped the side of empty rhetoric and broken promises.

Congressman Ryan stood his ground and showcased how the Romney/Ryan ticket will lead our nation toward prosperity, while the vice president seemed like a deer in the headlights when their failed record was brought up time and time again.

The American people deserve better than four more years of the same failed logic and misplaced policy directives that have put us ever closer to a fiscal crisis. The voters of the great state of Wisconsin will stand together on November 6 and help send our 10 electoral votes to the Romney/Ryan ticket and help ensure that we put an end to the failed Obama/Biden administration.”


Statement from Campaign Manager Jim Messina on Tonight’s Debate

CHICAGO -- Obama for America released the following statement from Campaign Manager Jim Messina in reaction to tonight’s debate:

“Vice President Biden won tonight’s debate. In a clash between facts and conviction on one side and glib lines and empty promises on the other, tonight’s debate exposed the extreme risk that Romney-Ryan economics pose for the American middle-class and to our leadership in the world. This debate showed that facts and details matter – and it’s clear tonight that with their total disregard for both, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan know they can’t defend their indefensible plans.

“Ryan couldn’t explain how the Romney-Ryan tax plan wouldn’t hurt the middle-class, how their double-down on trickle-down would create a single job now, how their Iran policy would differ from the President’s, or what their plan is for our troops in Afghanistan – and when he was asked to ensure women that their right to choose would be protected, he refused to answer because they won’t protect it. With facts, convictions and straightforward answers, Vice President Biden illustrated how he’s spent a lifetime fighting for the middle-class and how he and President Obama will continue doing so in a second term.”


Thompson Comments on Paul Ryan's Commanding Debate Performance

Madison, WI - Former Governor Tommy Thompson released the following statement after Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's commanding debate performance.

"Tonight, Paul Ryan showed Americans what Wisconsin commonsense reforms look like," said Thompson. "With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed and our nation $16 trillion in debt, Americans need solutions from their elected officials. Unfortunately, Democrats like President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin would rather tear our country apart with their demagoguery and excuses.

"Paul Ryan and I are proven reformers. We are not content sitting idly by as the nation continues to suffer. Instead, we offer sound solutions. On November 6, Wisconsinites and Americans everywhere will have a choice to make between leaders who are willing to make the tough decisions or the same failed excuses that have been leading our country astray."


DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Tonight’s Debate: Vice President Biden Clearly and Decisively Won Tonight by Showing that Facts, Details and Convictions Matter

Washington, D.C. – DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on tonight’s vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky:

“Tonight’s debate – which Vice President Biden clearly and decisively won – showcased two very different approaches to facts, details and core convictions: Vice President Biden understands they matter, and Congressman Paul Ryan obviously does not.

“At no point tonight was Ryan able to offer a straightforward answer or specific explanation as to how he and Mitt Romney’s tax plan would be anything but devastating to the middle class, how doubling down on trickle-down will result in the creation of one single job now, how the Romney-Ryan ticket’s policy on Iran would be different from President Obama’s, or exactly what their plan is for our troops serving in Afghanistan. And women across the country watching tonight’s debate were not given any guarantee by Paul Ryan that they would continue to have control over decisions affecting their own health, their own lives, and their own bodies.

“Meanwhile, Vice President Biden demonstrated that honest answers and concrete details do make a difference – and he consistently used them tonight to underscore the fact that he’s spent his entire life fighting for America’s middle-class families. He and President Obama will proudly continue to do so in a second term, as they keep moving our country forward with an economy built from the middle out.”

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