Election Connection Commentary: Biden takes harsh stance during VP debate
The Vice Presidential Debate last Thursday night was the debate that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney should have had.
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Paul Ryan went back and forth at the stage at Centre College, with Biden attacking Ryan and the Republican platform, something that Obama avoided in the first debate.
The fast-paced 90-minute debate showed the obvious differences of the two sides in the handling of the attack in Libya that left a U.S. ambassador dead, the solution to fixing the economy and the role of government in fixing it.
While Obama and Romney were not a part of the debate, they were at the center of the conversation as their running mates made certain the discussion focused on their respective presidential candidates.
Biden sought to dismiss the concern among Democrats that the president was not assertive enough against Romney in the last debate. A day after Obama conceded he was “too polite,” Biden didn’t hold back against Ryan, often laughing at, heckling and discounting Ryan’s points.
Within the first few minutes of the debate, Biden worked in several attacks against the Republican ticket, Romney’s statement that the housing crisis in America would “run its course,” and his comment about “47 percent” of Americans who Romney said were too reliant on government handouts.
“These guys bet against America all the time,” Biden said, referring to Romney and Ryan.
Ryan, who never seemed to get heated during the debate, rebutted that Romney “misspoke,” during the “47 percent” comments.
“I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way,” Ryan said, taking a subtle jab at Biden.
Biden came back at Ryan, and said he always says what he means, and so does Romney.
Biden and Ryan often talked over each other, but the moderator, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, pressed both candidates at various points to explain themselves further and provide evidence for some of the claims they made.
At one point, Raddatz argued directly with Biden over the feelings that some military members had of the timing of pulling troops out of Afghanistan was in bad timing, since it took place during the warmer months, when fighting is at its highest points. When Biden said the move was not political, Raddatz said, “Trust me. There are people who were concerned about pulling out on the fighting season.”
Ryan offered a rebuttal to the vice president, accusing Obama of lacking “credibility” in his international approach to Iran, because his administration sent mixed signals by softening sanctions on the country, but often speaking out against their actions as well.
Ryan also criticized the administration’s handling of the terrorist strike in Libya that killed the American ambassador.
“It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack,” he said. “Look, if we’re hit by terrorists, we’re going to call it what it is, a terrorist attack.”
Ryan also went after Obama, questioning why the U.S. did not have better protection at the embassy the ambassador was killed at.
“This is becoming more troubling by the day,” he said.
Then Biden came back and said that Ryan and House Republicans cut the budget for the security. Biden then said that Obama has a much better record of foreign policy than Romney, citing the war in Iraq and the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
“The president has led with a steady hand and clear vision; Governor Romney hasn’t,” Biden said. “The last thing we need is another war.”