Joe Biden and Paul Ryan Clash in Fiery VP Debate
Rep. Paul Ryan, Vice President Joe Biden spar in fiery debate, talking economy, abortion, Iran and religion in Thursday night debate.
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican VP candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin faced off Thursday night in a heated debate that covered foreign wars, tax reform, healthcare, abortion, and their shared faith in the Catholic Church.
During the debate, broadcast live from Centre College in Danville, Ky., Biden flexed his experience with foreign policy when answering questions about ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear arms in Iran and whether to send troops to Syria.
“The last thing America needs is to get in a ground war in the Middle East,” Biden said.
Ryan called the Obama administration’s foreign policy “chaotic,” criticizing the lack of security present during the September attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. He also took Biden to task for not immediately calling the tragic incident a terrorist attack.
The candidates also touched on defense funding and the looming $1 trillion in cuts on the horizon due to sequestration.
“If these cuts go through, our Navy will be the smallest … it has been since before World War I,” Ryan said. “This invites weakness.”
Biden pointed out to viewers that Ryan had supported the deal: the cuts should automatically go into effect if an agreement on reduction allotment can’t be reached, he said.
Biden also pulled a trigger that many Democrats wish President Barack Obama had during last week’s debate in Colorado – Mitt Romney’s remarks behind closed doors about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax. Biden said a Romney administration would care more about the upper class than the middle class.
"It shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives," Biden said. "These people are my mom and dad, the people who I grew up with, my neighbors. They are elderly people ... they are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan."
Virginia Voters React
Viewers in Virginia had different opinions about which topics covered Thursday would matter most to voters in the Commonwealth.
“Ryan standing against radical sequestration will resonate,” said one Patch source in an email immediately following the debate.
Other Virginia residents interviewed after the debate said the candidates' differing views on abortion stood out.
Biden said the current administration supports a woman’s right to choose, though he has personal issues with the practice.
Ryan disagreed, saying he and Romney would oppose abortion except in instances of rape, incest or if the pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger.
“Virginia women will remember that Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan will work to impede a woman's right to choose and limit women's healthcare options,” said one Patch source immediately after the debate.
Remaining presidential debates are set for the following dates:
- Town Hall Meeting Debate on Foreign and Domestic Policy, 9 p.m. Tuesday, between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
- Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy, 9 p.m. Oct. 22, between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.