Biden, Ryan Square Off on Economy, Middle East

    Vice President Joe Biden (l) and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, Oct. 11, 2012.Vice President Joe Biden (l) and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, Oct. 11, 2012.
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    Vice President Joe Biden (l) and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, Oct. 11, 2012.
    Vice President Joe Biden (l) and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, Oct. 11, 2012.
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and the Republican vice presidential candidate, Representative Paul Ryan, presented stark political differences in their only planned debate before the November election.

    During the nationally televised event at a small college in Kentucky,  Ryan said Americans are watching the "absolute unraveling" of the Obama administration at a time when "problems are growing abroad but jobs aren't growing at home."

    When discussing the U.S. financial crisis, Biden called on Republicans in Congress, including Representative Ryan, to "get out of the way" and let the Obama administration fix the economy.

    "They talk about this great recession that fell out of the sky, like, 'Oh my goodness, where did it come from?' It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card," the vice president said.

    Ryan fired back by asserting that President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats came into office in 2008 with "one-party control" that gave them the ability to do "everything of their choosing." He said that the administration told Americans that if a stimulus was passed, the economy would grow at four percent, but it is only growing at 1.3 percent.

    Divisions over Afghanistan, Middle East

    With regard to America's foreign policy, Ryan and U.S. Vice President Biden opposed each other's position on Afghanistan, with Biden declaring that U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan in 2014 and Ryan taking a more circumstantial approach to withdrawal.

    "We don't want to broadcast to our enemies, 'Put a date on your calendar. Wait us out and then come back,'" Ryan said.

    On Syria, Biden praised the Obama adminstration's careful work with America's allies in pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

    "We are doing it exactly like we need to do to identify those forces who, in fact, will provide for a stable government and not cause a regional Sunni-Shia (Shi'ite) war when Bashar Assad falls," Biden said.

    Ryan said it has been over a year since international pressure mounted and President Barack Obama said the Syrian president should go. He said the Obama administration should have "had a better plan in place" that "more easily identified" Syrian allies, but instead allowed tens of thousands to die in the conflict and more foreign fighters to "spill into" the country.

    On Libya, Biden called last month's attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, "a tragedy," promising that whatever "mistakes" were made "will not be made again."

    Ryan slammed the Obama administration for not providing enough security in Benghazi and for taking "two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack."

    "Our ambassador in Paris has a marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with arms?," he said.

    The vice president argued that President Barack Obama was not told that the consulate wanted more security.

    On Iran, Ryan said the Islamic Republic has become "brazen" because the Obama administration has "no credibility" on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. Biden countered this claim, asserting that the U.S. has placed "the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions" on Iran.

    The 69-year-old Biden is widely regarded as an experienced debater and skilled politician, based on his 36 years in the Senate before becoming vice president in 2009. Ryan, a 42-year-old congressman from the midwestern state of Wisconsin, is considered a rising star among conservative Republicans.  

    Candidates fight for battleground states

    The debate late Thursday comes as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is gaining momentum in voter opinion polls after his strong performance in last week's debate against the Democratic incumbent, President Obama.  

    The presidential contenders were back on the campaign trail Thursday, with Obama rallying supporters in the southeastern state of Florida. Romney addressed supporters in North Carolina before plans to crisscross the battleground states of Virginia and Ohio on Friday.  Those four states hold a combined 75 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the November 6 election.

    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her bylines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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    by: geral from: usa
    October 16, 2012 1:29 PM
    The types of crimes committed by the fbi/cia/dod,etc., as I have witnessed over the course of my lifetime are not new to mankind; indeed, for as long as man has walked on the face of the earth he has been confronted with his own savagery and inhumanity to fellow man. War has become legal; fbi/cia covert intelligence operations (including mass murder and other assassinations & tortures) are well known by many but never spoken about in polite conversations because they are also legal by awful custom. Thus, the end game for man is now being shaped by the most barbaric feature of his character: men's criminal urge to destroy one another for myriad purposes. Mark Twain perhaps captured this truth as he said, " A crime preserved in a thousand centuries ceases to be a crime, and becomes a virtue. This is the law of custom, and custom supersedes all other forms of law."


    by: Observer from: Southeastasia
    October 12, 2012 11:20 AM
    He is much older and experienced as a vice president, but what a shame Biden's emotions took control over him throughout the whole debate against his much younger opponent. In fact this guy should have never been appointed by Obama as the vice president. Obama just made a wrong choice. Rationality and soberness were markedly absent from his thinking and speaking and acting. He has impaired Obama's chance of being re-elected. Ryan and Romney really match each other and will certainly make better leaders for the US in the coming years.

    by: Observer from: Southeastasia
    October 12, 2012 8:12 AM
    Obama is a megalomaniac; I knew this from the beginning after listening to his 2008 speeches, and speeches after speeches. Now, after vice presidential debate, I know for sure that Biden is a big clown. These current two top leaders of the US are timid towards leaders of other big powers, that is why Chinese, Russian leaders, and leaders of other countries hostile to the US now take them lightly.Don't give them one more day to continue in the White House when their present term ends.Listen Americans! Dont repeat the mistake of ever voting for these two guys to the White House.

    by: Anonymous
    October 12, 2012 2:28 AM
    I find President Obama has done well in military issue for the Middle East and Iran. It is a wise choice not only to reduce the cost of too much military involved but also calmed the violence from Middle East. For economy, maybe there is some issue with the taxes, but overall, because of European financial crisis, it is inevitable to affect globally including Asia.

    Russia and China did anything to gain respect? I do not think American loose respect to others country compared with Russia and China..
    A world with a peaceful growth is everyone's desire. Don't spend too much for wasteful things. The things should be valuable and everyone appreciate rather than showing face.

    To me President Obama has done okay during world financial crisis

    by: Roger K. from: Ontario, Canada
    October 12, 2012 12:50 AM
    They say that laughter is the best medicine, however, in this debate I think laughter will prove to be poison for Biden.and will also provide fodder for the TV late show comedians.

    by: Observer from: Southeastasia
    October 11, 2012 11:43 PM
    Under Obama administration, the US and the americans have lost much respect overseas and the US is being treated as just of th very ordinary countries in the world. China and Russia have gained more respect over the US. It is a pity. The whole world is now looking for another country to take charge of the global leadership. Obama and his his administration does not command respect in the world.

    by: kk from: Newark
    October 11, 2012 10:46 PM
    VP Biden spoke with experience and heart felt conviction. He was to the point and and believeable. Ryan was some what avoiding the real answers to the questions. I did know it was storybook time during the debate, because Ryan told alot of stories. He told some fictional and some true. He also was acting out commercials like his closing remarks. I know for sure Romney and Ryan are flip floping with each other like salad. LIARS LIARS LIARS!!

    by: Gil from: Los Angeles
    October 11, 2012 7:51 PM
    You write about Ryan's 14 years of Washington Political experience as if it is NOT enough; my Lord man, it is far too much. When will these hypocrites finally cap the amount of time in Washington to 8-10 years and then get the HALE out of Dodge!

    by: Kevin from: San Diego
    October 11, 2012 7:46 PM
    Having served "for just 14 years." Ummm. Fourteen years is a long time. Now maybe 14 months, but not 14 years. They're both political hacks for their respective parties.

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