By Teresa Welsh |
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan faced off last night in their only debate this election season. Both men argued spiritedly, taking stronger tones and making more forceful arguments than the leaders of the presidential tickets did in their matchup last week.
The debate, moderated by ABC senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, had a heavy focus on foreign policy, Raddatz's area of expertise. She maintained control of the stage, directing hard questions at both of the candidates and several times asking them to clarify vague answers and present specific plans. Ryan seemed to stay composed for most of the debate, while Biden was more animated, at times laughing and often interrupting, actions which many argued did not flatter him on the TV screen.
Ryan criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the diplomatic murders in Libya, and failure to acknowledge the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi as a terrorist attack. The two candidates also engaged in a spirited exchange over a nuclear Iran and the possibility of another war in the Middle East, and the timeline for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
Biden hit Ryan on Mitt Romney's controversial "47 percent" comments, a topic President Barack Obama failed to mention in his weak debate performance against Romney last week. The vice president presented a fierce defense of the administration's stimulus program, pointing out that Ryan criticizes the bill yet asked for stimulus funds for his district. Biden also accused the Republican of making dangerous cuts to Medicare and threatening the future of the program.
Who won the vice presidential debate? Here's the Debate Club's take:
Jamal Simmons Principal at The Raben Group
Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College