LIVEBLOG: Vice Presidential Debate
DetailsCreated on Friday, 12 October 2012 00:50 Written by DKS/TV2 Reporters Hits: 1296
2012 Vice Presidential Debate - Joe Biden and Paul Ryan
Clear contrast of styles. Biden much more animated (until the abortion discussion started) while Ryan much more level. Both candidates very technical to the point of being wonky. Interesting to see such a long discussion on abortion and more interesting to see the entire mood of the debate change when the talk started. Raddatz did a masterful job moderating. Kept time close to even and asked good questions. Overall, a much more substantive debate than what we saw last week.
So who won? Does it matter? Will the polls continue to favor Romney or did tonight help Obama get back on track? Let us know by voting in our poll and commenting both here and on Facebook. We'll have full coverage in tomorrow's Daily Kent Stater, on TV2 News at 5:30, and on Portage Pulse Sunday at 11:30 AM on TV2. The next presidential debate is Tuesday night at Hofstra University in New York. Thank you for joining us for our debate live blog!
Ryan's turn. Says we face a big choice: what kind of country are we going to be? What kind of country are we going to give our kids? Says Obama's plans aren't working. Says this isn't what a real recovery looks like and people deserve better. Reiterates that Romney is uniquely qualified. Says choice is clear: stagnant economy or dynamic economy. Will reapply founding principles. And that's all, folks!
Closing statements time. Biden goes first. Says the administration inherited a "god awful" circumstance. Much more subdued tone from Biden in the last 20 minutes or so. Says people are just looking for an even shot.
Raddatz asks about character. What would you give to country as a man? Ryan says honesty. Says you need people who will offer solutions to problems. Talks about 5 point plan, saying it's about getting people back to work. Biden says his record stands for itself, never says what he doesn't mean. Says his whole life has been about lowering inequality.
Raddatz says a soldier told her the campaign has left him dismayed. Negative ads, etc. What would you say to that soldier and are you embarassed by the tone? Biden says we only have one true sacred obligation: equip those we send into harms way and care for those who come home. Says he shouldn't be thrown into 47 percent category and that he shouldn't have to hear the influx of post-Citizens United ads. He'd ask that person to look at whether Romney or Obama has the conviction to bring back middle class and restore it to where it was before recession. Ryan thanks soldier for service, then says that Obama ran on hope and change 4 years ago, now running a campaign painting opponent as someone to run from. Says if you like your healthcare you can keep it. Runs down several Obama claims he says haven't come to fruition. Says a debt crisis is coming. Leaders come to problems to fix problems, but Obama hasn't put a credible plan on the table. Says people called for a plan, got a speech. Says Romney is uniquely qualified to fix these problems. Biden says Romney's plans will knock people off Medicare and education. Says "we've had enough of this."
Raddatz asks if Romney/Ryan wins, should people who believe abortion should be legal be worried. Ryan says he and Romney don't believe that unelected judges should make the decision, elected representatives should. Biden notes around 3 SCOTUS seats could open up during next 4 years.
Raddatz asks how Catholic faith affects each candidate's views on abortion, calls for each to talk personally. Ryan goes first. Says he doesn't see how someone can separate private life from faith. Says he pro-life not simply because of his Catholic faith, but because of reason and science. Says 10 years ago, he saw first ultrasound when his daughter was in the shape of a bean, but he could still hear the heartbeat. Says he respects people who disagree. Says Romney/Ryan will oppose abortion except for rape/incest/life of the mother. Attacks Biden for infringing on religious liberties. Says churches should not have to sue federal government. Says Democrats have got away from "safe, legal, and rare." Biden says religion defines who he is. Biden mentions that Catholic teaching talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. Says he believes life begins at conception, but won't impose that view on others. Doesn't want to tell women that they can't control their body. Says no religious institution has to be involved with contraception. Biden says Ryan has drawn a line between rape and forcible rape in the past.
Biden responds, saying the U.S. is in the process of making sure humanitarian aid and training is getting to forces in the region. Raddatz asks what happens if Assad hangs on. Ryan says Iran keeps its greatest ally and we lose our credibility. Agrees with Obama on not sending troops in other than to protect chemical weapons. Criticizes POTUS for what he calls giving Russia the green light to dictate policy at the U.N. Raddatz asks Ryan what his policy is for intervention. Ryan says it must be in the best interest of the American people. Raddatz asks about humanitarian aid. Ryan says it doesn't put boots on the ground.
Raddatz asks why the same logic doesn't apply to Afghanistan and Syria. Biden says Syria is heavily populated and is in the most dangerous area in the world. Says U.S. is working with Turkey and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and others to identify people who need help. Says the last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East. Ryan responds, saying no one is proposing sending troops to Syria. Says he wouldn't refer to al-Assad as a reformer. Says pressure mounted, then the Obama administration responded. Attacks administration for waiting for the U.N. to respond.
Raddatz asks Biden about the military reason for bringing the surge troops home. Biden says the military said it would be out by the end of the summer. Raddatz says people are concerned. Biden says the Joint Chiefs weren't. Says it takes months to draw down forces. Ryan explains that when the mountain passes fill up with snow, less fighting because fighters can't cross the mountains, hence the concern about pulling people out during the summer fighting season. Says we're now sending fewer people to the hot spots to do the same job that needed done a month ago. Biden says no one was pulled out who wasn't replaced by Afghan personnel. Ryan says insurgents are still coming over the passes, but we now have fewer people to fight them.
We're at the two-thirds pole now. Ryan says he doesn't want to extend beyond 2014, but we need to give generals what they need. Reiterates the "unraveling of the Obama foreign policy" line. Raddatz clarifies on the absolute pullout date. Ryan says he doesn't want to give a hard pullout date because he doesn't want to broadcast a date to our enemies. Doesn't want to give allies a reason to trust us less. Will review the situation in 2014. Biden calls Ryan's statement "bizzare." Says 49 allies signed on to a 2014 pullout date. Raddatz asks if the Taliban is taking advantage of the timeline. Biden says unless you set a timeline, Kabul won't step up.
Moving to Afghanistan. Ryan says we don't want to lose the gains we've gotten. says we've been skeptical on negotiations with the Taliban while they're shooting at us, but that he wants to hit the 2014 target date for a pullout. Biden responds, saying that we've achieved our purpose of decimating al Qaeda and eliminating Bin Laden. We also said we would help train the military. Says it's the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. Says "we are leaving in 2014, period." Primary objective is almost completed, now putting Kabul in place to take care of its own security.
Biden continues, calls for tax cuts on the rich to expire. Ryan calls for loopholes to be closed for higher-income people. Biden reiterates strongly that 97% of small businesses make less than $250k per year. Ryan says he won't cut defense spending. Raddatz asks again how the math works. Ryan says calls the military cuts "devastating." Says he isn't calling for an increase, he just doesn't want to cut. Biden brings up the fiscal cliff, saying that Republicans called the agreement the day they had hoped for. Ryan clarified, saying they were looking for bipartisanship.
Raddatz asks for specifics on 20% tax cut. Ryan says he has laid out the framework. Ryan guarantees his math will add up, though. Biden "translates," saying 97% of small businesses make less than $250,000 and that Ryan counts hedge funds as small businesses. Recalls Ryan's statement on 60 Minutes that a person making several million dollars paying a lower rate than a person making far less is fair. Ryan rebuts, saying you can cut taxes by 20 percent and still preserve programs for the middle class. Engaging in a bit of he said, he said here, Ryan says the math adds up, Biden says it won't.
Moving onto taxes. Who will pay more and who will pay less? Biden says middle class will pay less and wealthier Americans will pay a little more. Says continuation of middle class tax cuts will save families $500 billion. Says GOP is holding middle class tax cut hostage for tax cut for the wealthy. Calls it "unconscionable." Ryan says the premise of his tax plan is to grow the economy and create jobs. Says there aren't enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for Obama and Biden's spending. Says Obama and Biden's proposed tax increase would cost 710,000 jobs. Three bottom lines: Don't raise the deficit, don't raise taxes on the middle class, and don't lower the share of tax borne by high income earners.
Half way home in this one. Ryan calls Biden out again for trying to scare voters. Biden says Ryan's plan jeopardizes Medicare and that families don't have the money to pay for it.
Ryan reiterates his plan isn't a voucher program. Attacks Biden and Obama for having stale ideas. Says his plan would give younger people a voluntary choice. Biden says the Republicans haven't been big on Medicare from the beginning. Reiterates call to use common sense.
Ryan responds, saying Obama got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into their piggy bank for Obamacare. Ryan calls Biden out for interrupting him. Raddatz reigns them back in. Ryan says his plan is bipartisan. Biden says not one Democrat endorsed it. Ryan says his ideas came from a Clinton administration official. Biden says if Medicare can bargain for the cost of drugs, it would save $156 billion. Raddatz asks if it could help solve the problem, why not raise the Medicare age? Biden says negotiated the Social Security increase with President Reagan. He won' be part of any voucher program because it won't keep pace with Medicare costs.
Moving on to Medicare and Social Security. Ryan going first. Talks about his grandmother who moved in with his mother. Says if you can change things for people 54 and other, you don't have to change anything for people near retirement. Says no one on Medicare panel has to have medical training. Points out when the programs go bankrupt, automatic cuts go into place. Biden responds, saying that Obamacare caused an end to overpaying insurance companies and increased benefits. Calls guaranteed benefit a voucher program. Tells people to follow their instincts in deciding what to think about healthcare policy. Says Romney/Ryan's ideas are old and bad.
Raddatz calls time on Biden. Ryan says his plan is to get the economy growing at over 4 percent and to create 12 million jobs. Biden cuts off Ryan, saying Ryan asked for stimulus money in Wisconsin. Ryan says he does that for all constituents who apply for grants. Ryan asks if it was a good idea to spend money on Fisker, China, and other interest groups. Biden says Moody's said yes.
Biden responds, saying if you believe the 47% comment was a mistake, he has a bridge to sell you. Mentions his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash. Biden says he's never met two guys who are more down on America. Tells Republicans to get out of the way and let Democrats pass reforms. Says the recession came from Ryan voting to put two wars and prescription drug coverage on the credit card.
Ryan says the unemployment rate in Biden's hometown has gone up since he took office and that's how it's going across the country. Attacks Biden on slow economic and job growth. Talks briefly about Romney's 5-point plan. Calls Romney a car guy. Tells the story of how Romney went to a family's house whose kids were injured in a car crash, brought gifts, and offered to pay for their college. Says Romney gave more to charity than Ryan or Biden combined. Says as Biden knows, words sometimes don't come out of your mouth the right way.
Moving on to economy. Raddatz asks candidates to level with American people: can they get unemployment under 6 percent. Biden says yes. Reminds people of the state of the economy when he and Obama took office. Touted bailout of GM, tax cuts for the middle class. Says people who are on government assistance pay a higher effective tax rate than Romney. Says instead of signing Norquist pledge, Romney and Ryan should be leveling the playing field. Attacks Romney's tax cut plan and says Republicans are holding middle class tax cuts hostage.
Biden jumps on a question intended for Ryan regarding Robert Gates' statement about Iran. Ryan regains control, saying Iran is encouraged when they see watered down sanctions. Says a nuclear-armed Middle East would be worse than another war on terror.
Raddatz asks how effective a military strike on Iran would be. Ryan says we cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Mentions that Iran has enough materials to make 5 weapons now. Ryan says he's been fighting for sanctions since 2009 but the Obama administration balked. Biden calls Ryan's statements "incredible." Says other major powers wouldn't have joined the "most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period." Says Iran is a good way away from being able to make a weapon. Says we will not let Iran have a nuclear weapon. Ryan reiterates that Iran is moving toward having a weapon while he Obama administration waters down sanctions. Raddatz asks if Romney/Ryan can solve this before Spring when Iran may have a bomb. Ryan says the timeline is likely longer, but that in order for a peaceful resolution, they must change their minds. Biden says the Ayatollah sees his economy being crippled. Biden calls Ryan's statements a "bunch of stuff." Says Iran was more isolated when Obama took office.
Raddatz asks Ryan if the U.S. should apologize for injustices including urinating on Taliban corpses. Ryan says absolutely, but that we shouldn't apologize for standing up for our values.
Ryan continues. Attacks defense cuts, saying that cutting defense makes us look weak. Biden interrupts, saying what Ryan says is a "bunch of malarkey." Says Ryan's budget cut embassy budgets and that Romney was making a political statement before he even knew that Stevens was killed. Says the intelligence community changed its assessment in Libya as they received more information and that an investigation has been launched.
Ryan responding. Attacks administration for slow action on Libya. Asks why a Marine detachment wasn't protecting Chris Stevens. Says we owe veterans a debt of gratitude (including Biden's son Beau), but doesn't want to project weakness overseas. Refers to the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.
The candidates have taken the stage. First topic is Libya. Raddatz asks Biden if it was an intelligence failure. Biden says we will find and bring to justice the people who did it and that we will not make the same mistake again. Biden points out that Obama's highest priority was to get Bin Laden. Says POTUS has led with a steady hand and a clear vision and that Romney has not.
Welcome to tonight's live blog of the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate. This is the only time Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will debate. The venue for tonight's debate is Centre College in Kentucky. They've made a party out of this debate: The Marshall Tucker Band is playing on campus afterward. The moderator is Martha Raddatz, ABC News' Senior Foreign Correspondent. She's been the target of criticism from conservatives this week after The Daily Caller revealed that President Obama attended her wedding. This debate has been greatly anticipated in both the Romney and the Obama camps. We'll have full coverage throughout the night here and on Twitter using hashtag #kwdebate.