Live Blog 2: Laughing Joe and Smirking Paul Veep ShowPosted: October 11, 2012
Responding to a question on the fatal attack last month on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Biden assailed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on a range of national security matters.
“Whatever mistakes were made will not be made again,” Biden said of the attack in Libya before pivoting to Romney’s support of the war in Iraq.
Biden credited President Obama for ending the Iraq war, saying Romney thought “we should have left 30,000 troops there.” He faulted Romney for objecting early on to Obama’s setting a 2014 deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and for saying he “wouldn’t move heaven and Earth” to capture Osama bin Laden.
Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president, said he mourned the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevensand three other Americans in the Libya attack, then criticized Obama’s response to the attack.
“It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack,” the Wisconsin congressman said.
Ryan said a Romney administration would provide Marines protecting an outpost like the one in Benghazi.
“If we’re hit by terrorists, we’re going to call it for what it is — a terrorist attack,” he said.
Ryan also castigated Obama’s administration for its evolving accounts of the Libya attack. “This is becoming more troubling by the day,” he said.
The first 45 minutes showed two men with widely divergent styles: Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, was precise and self-contained, marshalling numbers and policy issues.
Biden was looser and more familiar, chuckling in seeming exasperation several times at Ryan’s arguments, and interrupting the Republican in mid-argument. Eventually, Ryan seemed frustrated with a debate in which the two talked over each other.
“Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground,” Ryan said. “But I think people would be better served if we didn’t keep interrupting each other.”
One of Ryan’s best early moments came in response to the debate’s first question, about the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others. Ryan recounted how the White House’s account of the attack had shifted, and cast it as a signal of a broader problem.
“What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making…us less safe,” Ryan said.
For Biden, the sharpest moment may have been when he picked up on the theme that President Obama did not touch in the first presidential debate. He recalled a Romney speech that was secretly recorded, in which the Republican candidate described 47 percent of Americans as people who considered themselves primarily victims.
“I’ve had it up to here with this notion that, ‘Forty-seven percent, it’s about time they take some sort of responsibility here,’” Biden said.
What do you think about this assessment?
For political junkies and decided voters, this is a great debate. For the rest, it’s everything they hate about politics #vpdebate