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The VP Debate: Vice President Joseph Biden v. Congressman Paul Ryan

A Splendid Job Done By Martha Raddatz of ABC

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A Splendid Job Done By Martha Raddatz of ABC

  • Oct 13, 2012
On October 11, 2012, Vice President Joseph Biden debated Congressman
Paul Ryan at Center College in Danville, Kentucky. Martha Raddatz of ABC
moderated the debate and posed a number of very important questions for
each candidate to answer.

The first question involved the killing of Ambassador Stevens, the pre-planned
nature of the attack and whether or not intelligence worked the way it should have.

Vice President Biden stressed that the people responsible would be found and
brought to justice. Biden decried the Ryan cuts on embassy security and indicated
that Thomas Pickering is investigating security issues on this incident. Biden
criticized Russia and China on taking devastating actions with respect to Iran.

Congressman Ryan indicated that the Administration took several
weeks to acknowledge the act as a terrorist attack. In addition, Ryan indicated
that Marines are needed in Bengazi. Ryan stressed that President Obama blames
the Utube video. Ryan pointed out that we knew there were Al Qaeda cells in Libya.
Ryan criticized waivering on President Mubarek either to support or not support him.

The moderator asked for clear responses on the potential effectiveness of a military
strike on Iran.

Ryan stressed that Iran should not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. He stated
that the Ayatollahs need to change their minds. He criticized the Administration
for pursuing less stringent sanctions even though Iran acted aggressively.

Ryan criticized President Obama for not meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  
In addition, Ryan stated that the Ayatollahs must change their mind to do this
peacefully. In addition, he stated that in the past four years, the Iranians are
closer to a nuclear weapon(s). In addition, Ryan worried that the Ayatollahs
see equivocation. Specifically, Russia watered down sanctions and the effect was
to encourage the Ayatollahs.

Biden indicated that the sanctions were crippling and dismissed the question about
going to war as being in essence classified information. Biden stressed that getting
enriched uranium beyond 20% was not enough without having a delivery capability.
Beyond this, the Administration simply will not let Iran get nuclear weapons.

Biden pointed to Iran's weakening economy and currency. He stated that Iran is
isolated and that they would not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. In essence,
facts matter and we will not let the Iranians acquire nuclear weapons. Lastly,
this President doesn't bluff.

The moderator cited unemployment below 8%and asked how long it would before
unemployment reached below 6%.

Biden cited the $1.6 trillion dollar loss from the Great Recession. He stated that people
were helped in saving their homes. Biden decried holding hostage the middle class
tax cuts. Biden called for giving people solace; whereas, he stated that Romney would
have allowed the auto industry to go bankrupt. He cited 5.2 million new jobs and a
non-cooperative Congress to allow the Administration  to pass more tax cuts. Biden
cited that the recession came from Ryan voting for two wars and tax cuts for the rich.
Biden cited that the Administration gave grant money to Ryan's Wisconsin and that
under 1% of stimulus money was fraudulent. Biden explained that Moody's affirmed
that we needed the stimulus.

Ryan stated that unemployment was 8.5% in Scranton when President Obama was
elected. Today it's at 10%. He criticized a 1.3% growth in the economy as not enough.
In addition, he stated that 15% of Americans are in poverty. He called for energy
independence and deficit reduction.  Ryan indicated that Romney would champion
small business. He stated that Romney gave 39% of his income to charity. Ryan
stressed that this Administration had control of both houses in 2009. He cited
President Obama's promise of a 4% growth from implementation of the stimulus.
Instead, growth was only 1.3%. Ryan criticized $90 billion dollars in green pork.

The moderator posed a question as to whether or not Medicare or Social Security
would be sustainable.

Ryan feared that the programs would go bankrupt. He believed that changes would
be needed for people under age 54. He stated that Obamacare takes $716 billion
dollars from Medicare to go to Obamacare. He criticized the 15 member review
board as not having medical training and feared a 24% benefit cut.

Ryan called for choice and competition. In addition, he called for no changes for
people 55 or older. Ryan feared that 7.4 million people would lose Medicare Advantage.
Ryan would like to take down subsidies for the rich and fix the problems; otherwise
seniors will experience cuts to Medicare. Ryan would raise the eligibility age to 70
by 2103. Ryan stated that the Social Security would be greater for low income people
and less for the upper income people.

Biden stated that $716 billion dollars will be saved by Medicare simply by not
overpaying insurance companies for services. Besides, AARP approved what
we did. In addition, we will have wellness visits without a copay. Biden stated
that social security should never be privatized. He explained that privatization
could have cost medicare recipients dearly in the market crash.

Biden praised the fact that Medicare can now bargain for drugs with much
greater concentrated purchasing power than before. He stated that in the
'80s we made the program solvent until 2033. In addition, Biden worried that
vouchers could not keep pace with healthcare costs. In addition, he criticized
Republicans for wanting to do the least on Social Security. He stated that we
will not jeopardize the Social Security Program.

The moderator posed a question about the payment of taxes and how to pay
for a tax cut.

Biden criticized holding hostage tax cuts to the middle class. He criticized
120 thousand families getting a half trillion dollars in tax relief over 8 years
despite the fact that they had over a million dollars in income. He stated
that former President Reagan gave specifics on tax cuts. He stated that
what Ryan proposes has never been done before. At bottom, tax cuts
cannot be given to people making $8 million dollars a year.

Ryan indicated that their administration would create 7 million new jobs.
He stated that taking 28% from small business profits was enough. The
Canadians only take 15% from small business. He stated that Obama wants
a 40% tax on small business. Ryan stated that the deficit should not be
raised. He would lower rates and forgo $1.2 trillion dollars in deductions
to the rich. Ryan stated that Romney would work with Congress as he did
in Massachusetts where 87% of the legislature consisted of Democrats.
Ryan indicated that 97% of small businesses make under $250 thousand
dollars a year. He fears overtaxing small business.

The moderator posed a question about cuts to the defense budget and where
the line should be drawn.

Ryan stated that the defense budget shouldn't be cut by a trillion dollars.
The navy will be the smallest since before World War I.

Biden stated that there would be automatic cuts to defense if the military didn't act.
Besides, the Joint Chiefs of Staff made the recommendations on the automatic

The moderator asked whether or not the recruitment goal had been reached in

Ryan stated that if the Taliban haven't come back, the 2014 date for withdrawal
would be agreeable. He stated that the job there was short of amazing and that
he would take the recommendation of General Petraeus. Ryan would make sure that
the commanders have what they need to get the job done. He feared the
unraveling of the Obama policy by broadcasting a date to the enemies and
emboldening them. Ryan explained that when it snows - the Taliban are contained.
He cautioned not to pull out before the mission has ended. Ryan doesn't want to
be stuck doing the counterinsurgency with fewer people. He decried the fact
that we are sending fewer people in the East ( front of the engagement in Afghanistan)

Biden stated that he was in Afghanistan and that Al Qaeda was decimated. He
stated that the training of the Afghan army was centralized. Biden believed that
we can be out by 2014 and 49 of our allies agree.  He stated that Afghanistan
should take care of its own security. In addition, the United States will save
$800 billion dollars. Biden admitted that it would take months to draw down our forces.
He stressed that we trained the Afghan forces to take over. Biden wants to send
more Afghan troops to do the job.

The moderator commented on the large number of people killed in Syria and asked
for commentary.

Biden pointed to a huge geographic area with a fifth the population. The biggest
population in Syria is in the most dangerous area. The United States is working
with the Turks, Jordanians and Saudi Arabians on a post Syria. Biden hypothesized
that 100 thousand of our troops would be needed if the situation deteriorated and
that Romney probably wouldn't do anything differently. Biden indicated that we
don't go through the UN and that our allies were on the same page as far as
getting a settlement.

Ryan criticized outsourcing our policy implementation to the United Nations.
He fears that countries like Russia would thwart our efforts. Ryan criticized Assad
for slaughtering his own people. At bottom, we need a better plan from our allies.
If we wait for the UN, more Syrians will die. The United States should not put our
troops in unless to secure chemical weapons. He criticized Iran for flying over Iraq
to supply the Syrians with weaponry. Ryan supports the embargo and sanctions.

The moderator asked about the role of religion on questions like abortion.

Ryan explained that he could not separate public from private life. He would like
people to have a chance at life. He cited seeing his own first born just 7 weeks
into life. Ryan opposes abortion except with rare exceptions like rape. He fears
infringement on Churches who might be required to sue the government.
In addition, Ryan fears unelected judges making abortion decisions.

Biden indicated that he is a practicing Catholic but he cannot tell women what
to do with their own bodies. He stated that no Catholic hospital is required to
pay for contraception and that's a fact.

The moderator asked for closing arguments.

Biden indicated that there was a sacred obligation not to put people into
harm's way. He challenged the audience to think about whether or not
Romney or Obama can restore the middle class. Biden criticized Ryan
budgets which cut Medicare and took $450 billion dollars out of

He criticized increased tax cuts to the wealthy and two wars
put on our credit card. Biden stated that whatever he says he will do.
He would like to level the playing field for the middle class. Biden would
bring relief to people who need our help.

Ryan indicated that huge cuts would not be imposed on the military
which might endanger them. He stated that Obama runs from his record.
Ryan fears that 7 million people will lose their health care and that
premiums will rise by $3 thousand dollars. Ryan indicated that $4 trillion
dollar deficits could not go on. He stated that there is no credible plan
from this Administration to deal with the debt crisis or the deficit and that
we can do better.

Ryan called for a pro-growth policy to get people back to work. He felt that
23 million out of work was bad. The American people deserve better. Ryan
called for a real recovery. He cited Romney as having the business experience
to create jobs. Ryan called for opportunity and jobs instead of blaming others.
In closing, he asked for votes from the public.

Overall, the debate was very lively. The participants were in command of many facts, although extensive fact checking needs to be done well before election day. Vice President Biden emphasized his concern for the middle class, the conduct of two prior wars on the credit card, the dangers of privatizing social security, the creation of 5 million new jobs, saving the auto industry and getting out of Iraq and the commitment to leave Afghanistan by 2014 which is agreed to by our allies consisting of 49 nations. Biden wouldn't interfere with a woman's right to choose.

Rep. Ryan decried the high numbers of people out of work. He indicated that Romney has the business experience to create 7 million new jobs. He cited Romney's record in Massachusetts with a predominantly Democratic legislature. He feared the high deficit spending and huge cuts to the military.
Ryan understood abortion only in the context of rare exceptions such as rape. Ryan feared Iran getting nuclear weapons, although Biden indicated that a delivery capability is needed to actualize the threat. Ryan expressed concern that Social Security would go bankrupt unless action is taken primarily for people under age 55. He indicated that people over 55 would experience essentially no changes. In addition, Ryan fears overtaxing small business.

There were differences on what the $716 billion cuts or cost savings would mean to Medicare beneficiaries. Biden believes that insurance companies are being overpaid and that the cuts are simply a reflection of what should be paid to the insurance companies. Ryan disagrees.

Martha Raddatz of ABC did a splendid job of moderating the debate. The voters have a considerable amount of information in which to make an informed decision this Election Day.

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics
A Splendid Job Done By Martha Raddatz of ABC

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October 16, 2012
EXCELLENT write up on this, anyone who missed it should check this out. I was able to catch the whole thing thankfully.
October 18, 2012
Thanks a lot!
October 14, 2012
I caught the beginning and the end of the debate. I agree, the moderator this time was knowledgeable and maintained control of the debate. Very nice.
October 16, 2012
Thanks a lot , Bill. I wish everyone would read these commentaries to become more knowledgeable on what's happening in Washington DC.
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