tv Vice Presidential Debate NBC October 11, 2012 9:00pm-11:00pm EDT
i mean, come on. - i've said it so many times. - you have said it? - it doesn't matter. i love you. good evening and welcome. in just a few moments, we'll go to centre college there in danville, kentucky, southeast of louisville for tonight's debate between joe biden a paul ryan. the vice president and the congressman from wisconsin. this will be the only meeting of these two men who do know each other and have dealt with each other often in washington. paul ryan, in fact, said today he loves joe biden, he just disagrees with him. before this even gets under way, this debate sets the record for the broadest age disparity of any debate. the vice president is 69. congressman ryan is 42.
the chance of real fireworks in that hall tonight was increased after the last debate, when an energized mitt romney got the better of the president, as mr. obama all but later admitted in an interview. it is cold in the venue again, a mutually agreed-upon temperature of 65, to enforce the post-nixon political adage, never let them see you sweat. tonight the candidates will be seated. it will all be very close. they'll be separated only by our moderator tonight. she is martha raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for abc news, and there's pressure on her as well after all the talk about the role of the moderator in the last debate. there are nine segments planned for in the evening, but we saw last time what happened. here's martha raddatz. good evening and welcome to the first and only vice presidential debate of 2012, sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. i'm martha raddatz of abc news and i am honored to moderate
this debate between two men who have dedicated much of their lives to public service of the tonight's debate is divided between domestic and foreign policy issues and i'm going to move back and forth between foreign and domestic since that is what a vice president or president would have to do. we will have nine different segments. at the beginning of each segment, i will ask both candidates a question and they will each have two minutes to answer. then i will encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions. by coin toss, it has been determined that vice president biden will be first to answer the opening question. we have a wonderful audience here at centre college tonight. you will no doubt hear their enthusiasm at the end of the debate. and right now as we welcome vice president joe biden and congressman paul ryan. [ applause ]
okay, you've got your little wave to the families in, that's great. good evening, gentlemen, it really is an honor to be here with both of you. i would like to begin with libya. on a rather somber note, one month ago tonight on the anniversary of 9/11, ambassador chris stevens and three other brave americans were killed in a terrorist attack in benghazi. the state department has now made clear there were no protesters there. it was a preplanned assault by heavily armed men. wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, vice president biden? >> it was. it was a tragedy, martha. chris stevens was one of our best. we lost three other brave americans. i can make absolutely two
commitments to you and all the american people tonight. one, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. and secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever -- wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the american public, because whatever mistakes are made will not be made again. when you're looking at a president, martha, it seems to me that you should take a look at his most important responsibility. that's caring for the national security of the country. the best way to do that is take a look at how he's handled the issues of the day. on iraq, the president said he would end the war. governor romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30 -- governor romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there. with regard to afghanistan, he said he will end the war 2014. governor romney said we should not set a date and with regard to 2014, it depends. when it came to osama bin laden, the president, the first day in
office, i was sitting with him in the oval office. he called in the cia and signed an order saying my highest priority is to get bin laden. prior to the election, prior to the -- him seeing sworn in, governor romney was asked a question about how he would proceed. he said i wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin laden. he didn't understand it was more than about taking a murderer off the battlefield, it was about restoring america's heart and letting terrorists around the world know if you do harm to america, we will track you to the gates of hell if need be. and lastly, the president of the united states has led with a steady hand and clear vision. governor romney, the opposite. the last thing we need now is another war. >> congressman ryan. >> we mourn the loss of these four americans who were murdered. when you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the u.n. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a youtube video.
it took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. he went to the u.n. and in his speech at the u.n., he said six times, he talked about the youtube video. look, if we are hit by terrorists, we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. our ambassador in paris has a marine detachment guarding him. shouldn't we have a marine detachment guarding our ambassadorn benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al qaeda cell with arms? this is becoming more troubling by the day. they first blamed the youtube video. now they're trying to blame the romney/ryan ticket for making this an issue. and with respect to iraq, we have the same position before the withdrawal, which was we agreed with the obama administration. let's have a status of forces agreement to make sure that we secure our gains. the vice president was put in charge of those negotiations by president obama. and he failed to get the
agreement. we don't have a status of force agreement because they failed to get one. that's what we are talking about. and when it comes to our veterans, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for what they have done for us, including your son, beau. but we also want to make sure that we don't lose the things that we fought so hard to get. with respect to afghanistan, the 2014 deadline, we agree with the 2014 transition. but what we also want to do is make sure that we're not projecting weakness abroad, and that's what's happening here. this benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem, and that is what we are watching on our tv screens is the unraveling of the obama foreign policy. which is making it more chaotic and us less safe. >> i just want to talk to you about right in the middle of the crisis. governor romney, and you're talking about this again tonight, talked about the weakness, talked about apologies from the obama administration. was that really appropriate
right in the middle of the crisis? >> on that same day, the obama administration had the exact same position. let's recall that they disavowed their own statement that they had put out earlier in the day in cairo. so we had the same position. but it's never too early to speak out for our values. we should have spoken out right away when the green revolution was up and starting, when iran was attacking their people. we should not call someone a reformer when he's turning his guns on his own people. we should always stand up for peace, democracy and individual rights and we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, it makes us more weak. it projects weakness. when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us and less willing -- >> with all due respect that's a bunch of mularkey. >> why is that so? >> not a single thing he said is
accurate. >> be specific. >> i will be very specific. number one, this lecture on embassy security, the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for, number one. so much for the embassy security piece. number two, governor romney, before he knew the facts, before he even knew that our ambassador was killed, he was out making a political statement which was panned by the media around the world. and this talk about this weakness. i don't understand what my friend is talking about here. this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. this is a guy who's repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. this is a guy who brought the entire world, including russia and china to bring about the most devastating, most devastating -- the most devastating efforts on iran, to make sure that they in fact stop
what they're -- look, i just -- i mean these guys bet against america all the time. >> let me go back to libya. >> sure. >> what were you first told about the attack? why -- why were people talking about protests when people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns? there were no protesters. why did that go on for weeks? >> because that's what we were told by the intelligence community. the intelligence community told us that. as they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment. that's why there's also an investigation headed by tom pickering, a leading diplomat from the reagan years who is doing an investigation as to whether or not there are any lapses, what the lapses were so that they will never happen again. >> and they wanted more security there? >> we weren't told they wanted more security there. we did not know they wanted more security. and by the way, at the time we were told exactly -- we said
exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. that was the assessment. and as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view. that's why i said we will get to the bottom of this. you know, usually when there's a crisis, we pull together. we pull together as a nation. but as i said, even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor is holding a press conference, was holding a press conference. that's not presidential leadership. >> mr. ryan, i want to ask you about the romney campaign talks a lot about no apologies. he has a book called "no apologies." should the u.s. have apologized for americans burning korans in afghanistan? should the u.s. apologize for u.s. marines urinating on taliban corpses? >> oh, gosh, yes. urinating on corpses? >> burning korans? >> what we should not be apologizing for are standing up for our values. what we should not be doing is saying the egyptian people, while mubarak is cracking down on them, that he's a good guy
and then the next week say he ought to go. what we should not be doing is rejecting claims for calls for more security in our barracks, in our marines. we need marines in benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security. there were requests for extra security. those requests were not honored. look, this was the anniversary of 9/11. it was libya, a country we knew we had al qaeda cells there, as we know al qaeda and its affiliates are on the rise in northern africa. and we did not give our ambassador in benghazi a marine detachment? of course there's an investigation so we can make sure that this never happens again. but when it comes to speaking up for our values, we should not apologize for those. here's the problem. look at all the various issues out there and it's unraveling before our eyes. the vice president talks about sanctions on iran. they have got -- >> let's move to iran. i'd actually like to move to iran, because there's really no bigger national security this
country is facing. both president obama and governor romney have said they will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon, even if that means military action. last week former defense secretary bob gates said a strike on iran's facilities would not work, and, quote, could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations. can the two of you be absolutely clear and specific to the american people how effective would a military strike be? congressman ryan. >> we cannot allow iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability. now, let's take a look at where we've come from. when barack obama was elected, they had enough nuclear material to make one bomb. now they have enough for five. they are racing toward a nuclear weapon. they're four years closer to a nuclear weapons capability. we've had four different sanctions from the u.n. on iran, three from the bush administration, one here. the only reason we got it is boss russia watered it down and
prevented the sanctions from hitting the central bank. mitt romney proposed these sanctions in 2007 and in congress i've been fighting for these sanctions since 2009. the administration was blocking us every step of the way. only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough sanctions were we able to overrule their objections an put them in spite of the administration. imagine what would happen if we had these sanctions earlier. you think iran is not brazen? they're stepping up their terrorist attack. they tried a terrorist attack last year when they tried to blow up the saudi ambassador at a restaurant in washington, d.c. talk about credibility. when this administration says all options are on the table, they send out senior administration official that say send all these mixed signals. and so in order to solve this peacefully, which is everybody's goal, you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. look at where they are. they're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. it's because this administration has no credibility on this issue. it's because this administration
watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us from putting tough sanctions in place. now we have them in place because of congress. they say the military option is on the table but it's not being viewed as credible. and the key is to do this peacefully to make sure that we have credibility. under a romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue. >> vice president biden. >> incredible. look, imagine had we let republican congress work out the sanctions. do you think there's any possibility the entire world would have joined us, russia and china, all of our allies? these are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period. period. when governor romney has asked about it, he said we've got to keep these sanctions. we said you're talking about doing more. are you going to go to war? >> we want to prevent war. >> the interesting thing is how they're going to prevent war. how are they going to prevent war if they say there's nothing more that they say we should do than what we've already done,
number one. and number two, with regard to the ability of the united states to take action militarily, it is not in my purview to talk about classified information, but we feel quite confident we could deal a serious blow to the iranians. but number two, the iranians are the -- the israelis and united states military intelligence communities are absolutely the same exact place in terms of how close, how close the iranians are to getting a nuclear weapon. they are a good way away. there is no difference between our view and theirs. when my friend talks about fissal missile, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20% up. then they have to be able to have something to put it in. there is no weapon that the iranians have at this point. both the israelis and we know we'll know if they start the process of building a weapon. so all this bluster i keep
hearing, all this loose talk, what are they talking about? are you talking about to be more credible? what more can the president do, stand before the united nations, tell the whole world, directly communicate to the ayatollah, we will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon. period. unless he's talking about going to war. >> martha? >> congressman ryan. >> let's look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. what do they see? they see this administration trying to water down sanctions in congress for over two years. they're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. they're spinning the centrifuges faster. they see us saying we need more space for their ally, israel. they see president obama in new york city the same day b.b. netanyahu is and instead of meeting with him goes on a daily talk show. they see, when we say that these options are on the table, the secretary of defense walk them back.
they are not changing their mind. that's what we have to do is change their mind so they stop pursuing nuclear weapons. >> look, you both saw benjamin netanyahu hold up that picture of a bomb with a red line and talking about the red line being in spring. so can you solve this, if the romney/ryan ticket is elected, can you solve this in two months before spring and avoid nuclear -- >> we can debate the timeline. we can debate the timeline, whether it's that short of time or longer. i agree that it's probably longer. number two, it's all about -- >> you don't agree with that bomb and what the israelis -- >> look, we both -- >> i don't want to go into classified stuff, but we both agree that to do this peacefully, you've got to get them to change their minds. they're not changing their minds. >> but what do you do -- >> let me tell you what the ayatollah sees. he sees an economy being crippled. the ayatollah sees that there are 50% fewer exports of oil.
he sees the currency going into the tank. he sees the economy going into freefall and he sees the world for the first time totally united in opposition to him getting a nuclear weapon. now, with regard to b.b., he's been my friend for 39 years. the president has met with him many times. he's spoken to b.b. netanyahu as much as he's spoken to anybody. just before he went to the u.n., i was on a conference call with the president with him talking to b.b. for well over an hour. in stark relief and detail of what was going on. this is a bunch of stuff. look, here's the deal -- >> what does that mean, a bunch of stuff? >> it means it's simply inaccurate. >> he's irish. >> we irish call it mularkey. we irish call it mularkey. but last thing, the secretary of defense has made it absolutely -- he didn't walk anything back. we will not allow the iranians to get a nuclear weapon.
what b.b. held up there was when they get to the point where they can enrich uranium enough to put into a weapon. they don't have a weapon to put it into. let's all calm down a little bit here. iran is more isolated today than when we took office. it was on the ascendency when we took office. it is totally isolated. i don't know what world this guy is in. >> thank heavens we have these sanctions in place. they have given 20 waivers to this sanction and all i have to point to are the results. they're four years closer toward a nuclear weapon. i think that case speaks for itself. >> can you tell the american people, what's worse, another war in the middle east -- >> they're not closer to a nuclear weapon. they're closer to getting enough fissal weapon if they had a weapon. >> you're acting like they don't want one. >> no, facts matter, martha. you're a foreign policy expert. facts matter. all this loose talk about them,
all they have to do is get to enrich uranium in a certain amount and they have a weapon. not true, not true. they are more -- and if we ever have to take action, unlike when we took office, we will have the world behind us. and that matters. that matters. >> what about bob gates' statement? let me read that again. could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations. >> he is right, it could prove catastrophic if we didn't do it -- >> congressman ryan. >> what it does is undermines our credibility by backing up the point when we make it that all options are on the table. that's the point. the ayatollahs see these kinds of statements and they think i'm going to get a nuclear weapon. when we see the kind of equivocation that took place because this administration wanted a precondition policy, so when the revolution started up they were silent nine days. when they see us putting
daylight between ourselves and our allies in israel, that gives them encouragement. when they see russia watering down any further sanctions, the only reason we got a u.n. sanction is because russia watered it down and prevented these from being sanctions in the first place. when they see this kind of activity, they are encouraged to continue. >> martha, let me tell you -- >> let me ask you what's worse, war in the middle east, another war in the middle east or a nuclear armed iran. >> i'll tell you what's worse. a nuclear armed iran which triggers a nuclear arms race in the middle east. this is the world's largest sponsor of terrorism. they call us the great satan. and if they get nuclear weapons, other people in the neighborhood will pursue their nuclear weapons as well. we can't live with that. >> vice president biden. >> war should always be the absolute last resort. that's why these crippling sanctions with b.b. netanyahu
says we should continue and governor romney says we should continue. he changes his mind so often, i could be wrong. but the fact of the matter is he says they're working. the fact is that they are being crippled by them and we've made it clear. big nations can't bluff, this president doesn't bluff. >> gentlemen, i want to bring the conversation to a different kind of national security issue, the state of our economy. the number one issue here at home is jobs. the percentage of unemployed just fell below 8% for the first time in 43 months. the obama administration had projected that it would fall below 6% now after the addition of close to a trillion dollars in stimulus money. so will both of you level with the american people. can you get unemployment to under 6% and how long will it take? >> i don't know how long it will take. we can and we will get it under 6%. let's look at -- let's take a look at the facts. let's look at where we were when
we came to office. the economy was in freefall. we had the great recession hit. nine million people lost their job. 1.7 -- $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes and retirement accounts for the middle class. we knew we had to act for the middle class. we immediately went out and rescued general motors. we went ahead and made sure we cut taxes for the middle class. in addition to that, when that occurred, what did romney do? romney said, no, let detroit go bankrupt. we moved in and helped people refinance their homes. governor romney said, no, let foreclosures hit the bottom. but it shouldn't be surprising for a guyho says 47% of the american people are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. my friend recently in a speech in washington said 30% of the american people are takers. these people are my mom and dad, the people i grew up with, my neighbors. they may more effective tax than governor romney pays in his federal income tax.
they are elderly people who in fact are living off of social security. they are veterans and people fighting in afghanistan right now who are, quote, not paying any taxes. i've had it up to here with this notion that 47% -- it's about time they take some responsibility here. and instead of signing pledges to grover norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we're going to level the playing field. we're going to give you a fair shot again. we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for wall street and main street. making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy. they're pushing the continuation of a tax cut that will give an additional $500 billion in tax cuts to 120,000 families. and they're holding hostage the middle class tax cut because they say we won't pass, we won't continue the middle class tax cut unless you give the tax cut
for the super wealthy. it's about time they take some responsibility. >> mr. ryan. >> joe and i are from similar towns. he's from scranton, pennsylvania, i'm from jane, wisconsin. do you know what the unemployment in scranton is today? >> i sure do. >> it's 10%. you know what it is the day you came in? 8.5%. that's how it's going all around america. >> that's not how it is in america, it's going down. >> his two-minute answer, please. >> did they come in and inherit a tough situation? absolutely. but we are going in the wrong direction. look where we are. the economy is barely limping along. it's growing at up wit1.3%. job growth in september was slower than august and august was slower than july. we're heading in the wrong direction. 23 million americans are struggling for work today. 15% of americans are living in
poverty today. this is not what a real recovery looks like. we need real reforms for a real recovery and that's exactly what mitt romney and i are proposing. it's a five-point plan. get america energy independent by the end of the decade. help people who are hurting get the skills they need to get the jobs they want. get this deficit and debt under control. make trade work for america so we can make more things in america and sell them overseas and champion small businesses. don't raise taxes on small businesses because they're our job creators. he talks about detroit. mitt romney is a car guy. they keep misquoting him. but let me tell you about the mitt romney i know. this is a guy who i was talking to a family in northborough, massachusetts, the other day. cheryl and mark nixon. their kids were hit in a car crash. four of them. two of them were paralyzed. the romneys didn't know them. they went to the same church. mitt asked if they could come over on christmas. he brought his boys, his wife
and gifts. later on he said i know you're struggling, mark. don't worry about their college, i'll pay for it. when mark told me this story, because you know what, mitt romney doesn't tell these stories. the nixons told this story. he said it wasn't the help, the cash help, it's that he gave his time and he has consistently. this is a man who gave 30% of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined. mitt romney is a good man. he cares about 100% of americans in this country. and with respect to that quote, i think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way. >> i always say what i mean. and so does romney. >> we want everybody to succeed. we want to get people out of poverty, in the middle class, on to a life of self sufficiency. we believe in tungt and upward mobility. that's what we're going to push for. >> vice president, i have a feeling you have a few things to say here. >> the idea, if you heard that
little 47% that he just made a mistake, then i think you're -- i've got a bridge to sell you. look, i don't doubt his personal generosity, and i understand what it's like. when i was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife and my two sons survived. i have sat in the homes of many people who have gone through what i went through because the one thing that gives people solace is if they know that you've been through it that they can make it. so i don't doubt his personal commitment to individuals. but you know what, i know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. he just let -- he said let it go bankrupt. period. let it drop out. all this talk we saved a million jobs. 200,000 people are working today. i've never met two guys who are
more down on america across the board. we're told everything is going bad. 5.2 million new jobs, private sector jobs. we need more. but 5.2 million. if they'd get out of the way, if they'd get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they'd get out of the way and pass the jobs bill, if they'd get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside down but they never missed a mortgage payment, just get out of the way. stop talking about how you care about people. show me something. show me a policy. show me a policy where you take responsibility. and by the way, they talk about this great recession as if it 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, at the same time put a prescription drug program on the credit card. a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. i was there. i voted against them. i said no, we can't afford that.
and now all of a sudden these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt that they created. >> congressman ryan. >> let's not forget that they came in with one-party control. when barack obama was elected, his party controlled everything. they had the ability to do everything of their choosing and look at where we are right now. they passed the stimulus. the idea that we could borr borrow$831 billion and spend it and that would work out just fine. unkploiemployment would never g above 8%. they said right now if we would just pass the stimulus, the economy would grow at 4%. it's growing at 1.3. >> when could you get it below 6%? >> that's what the entire premise is about. get the economy growing at 4%, creating 12 million jobs over the next four years. look at the $90 billion in stimulus. the vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups.
there are just at the department of energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been launched -- >> martha, look. his colleague runs an investigative committee, spent months and months and months -- >> this is the inspector general. >> months and months. they found no evidence of cronyism. and i love my friend here. i'm not allowed to show letters, but go to our website. he sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of wisconsin. we sent millions of dollars. you know why he said -- >> you did ask for stimulus money. >> sure, he did. >> on two occasions we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. that's what we do. we do that for all constituents applying for grants. >> i love that. i love that. this is such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. his words. and now he's sitting here looking at me.
and by the way, that program, again investigated, what the congress said was it was a model. less than 0.4 of 1% waste or fraud in the program. and all this talk about cronyism. they investigated and they did not find one single piece of evidence. i wish he would just tell -- be a little more candid. >> was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on cars in finland or windmills in china? was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries on china and spend it on all these various different interest groups? >> it was a good idea, moody's and others said this was exactly what we needed to stop us from going off the cliff. it set the conditions to be able to grow again. we have in fact 4% of those green jobs didn't go under -- went under, didn't work. it's a better batting average than investment bankers have. they had about a 40% loss. >> where are the five million green jobs? >> i want to move on here to medicare and entitlements.
i think we've gone over this quite enough. >> by the way, any letter you send me, i'll entertain. >> i appreciate that, joe. >> let's talk about medicare and entitlements. both medicare and social security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. will benefits for americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive? mr. ryan. >> absolutely. medicare and social security are going bankrupt. these are indisputable facts. look, when i look at these programs, we've all had tragedies in our lives. i think about what they have done for my own family. my mom and i had my grandmother move in with us who was facing alzheimer's. medicare was there for her, just like it's there for my mom right now who's a florida senior. after my dad died, my mom and i got social security survivor benefits. helped pay for my college and helped her go back to college in her 50s where she started a small business because of the new skills she got. she paid all her taxes on the promise these programs will be
there for her. we will honor these programs. if you reform these programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they won't change for people in or near retirement, which is precisely what we are proposing. look what obama care does. it takes $716 billion from medicare to spend on obama care. even their own chief at medicare backs this up. he says you can't spend the same dollar twice. you can't claim this goes to medicare and obama care. and then they put this new obama care board in charge of cutting medicare each and every year in way that say will lead to denied care for current seniors. this board, by the way, is 15 people. the president is supposed to appoint them next year. and not one of them even has to have medical training. and social security, if we don't shore up social security, when we run out of the ious and the program goes bankrupt, a 25% across the board benefit kicks
in. we're going to stop that from fr happening. they haven't put a credible solution on the table. he'll tell you about vouchers. he'll say all these things to try and scare people. here's what we're saying. give younger people when they become medicare eligible guaranteed coverage options that you can't be denied, including traditional medicare. choose your plan and then medicare subsidizes your premiums. not as much for the wealthy people, total out of pocket coverage for the poor and the sick. choice and competition. we would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what, if, where, when they get it. >> vice president biden. >> i know, i heard that death panel argument from sarah palin. it seems every vice presidential debate i hear this kind of stuff about panels. but let's talk about medicare. what we did is we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to medicare. we cut the cost of medicare. we stopped overpaying insurance
companies. doctors and hospitals. the ama supported what we did. aarp endorsed what we did. an it extends the life of medicare to 2024. they want to wipe this all out. it also gave more benefits. any senior out there, ask yourself. do you have more benefits today? you do. if you're near the doughnut hole, you have $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. you get wellness visits without co-pays. they wipe all of this out and medicare becomes insolvent in 2016, number one. number two, guaranteed benefit. it's a voucher. when they first proposed -- when the congressman had his first voucher program, the cbo said it would cost $6,400 a year, martha, more for every senior 55 and below when they got there. he knew that, yet he got all the guys in congress and women in the republican party to vote for it. governor romney knowing that said i would sign it were i
there. who do you believe? the ama, me, a guy who's fought his whole guy for this or somebody who would actually put in motion a plan that knowingly cut -- added $6,400 a year more to the cost of medicare? now they have got a new plan. trust me, it's not going to cost you any more. folks, follow your instingts on this one. with regard to social security, we will not privatize it. if we had learned to governor romney and the congressman during the bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money would have been in the market. their ideas are old and their ideas are bad and they eliminate the guarantee of medicare. >> here's the problem. they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar turning medicare into a piggy bank for obama care. their own actuary from the administration came to congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a
result of this. 7.4 million seniors are projected to lose the current medicare advantage they have. that's a $3200 benefit cut. >> that didn't happen. more people signed up for medicare advantage after the change. nobody is -- >> mr. vice president -- mr. vice president i know you're under a lot of duress to make up lost ground. but i think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other. >> well, don't take all the four minutes then. >> we're saying don't change benefits for people 55 and above. they already organized their retirement around this. >> let me ask you this. what is your specific plan for seniors who really can't afford to make up the difference in the value of what you call a premium support plan and others call a voucher? >> 100% coverage for them. so we're saying income adjust these premium support payments by taking down the subsidies for wealthy people.
this is a plan -- by the way, that $6400 number is misleading then and is totally inaccurate now. this is a plan that's bipartisan. i put it together with a democr democrat. our partner is a democrat from oregon. >> and he no longer supports you. >> we put it together with the former clinton budget director. >> he disavows it. >> this idea came from the clinton commission to save medicare chaired by senator john row. if we don't fix this problem pretty soon, current seniors get cut. 10,000 people are retiring every single day today and they will for 20 years. >> martha, if we just did one thing. if they just allow medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like medicaid can, that would save $156 billion right off the bat. >> and it would deny seniors choices. >> seniors are not denied choices. they are not denied -- look,
folks, all you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? have you lost medicare advantage? >> vice president biden, let me ask you, if it could help solve the problem, why not very slowly raise the medicare eligibility age by two years, as congressman ryan suggests? >> look, i was there when we did that with social security in 1983. i was one of eight people sitting in the room that included tip o'neill negotiating with president reagan. we all got together and everybody said as long as everybody is in the deal, everybody is in the deal and everybody is making some sacrifice, we can find a way. we made the system solvent to 2033. we will not, though, be part of any voucher plan eliminating -- the voucher says, mom, when you're 65, go out there, shop for the best insurance you can get. you're out of medicare. you can buy back in if you want with this voucher, which will not keep pace, will not keep
pace with health care costs. because if it did keep pace with health care costs, there would be no savings. that's why they go the voucher. we will be no part of a voucher program or the privatization of social security. >> the voucher, if you go to your mailbox, get a check and buy something, nobody is proposing that. barack obama four years ago running for president said if you don't have any fresh ideas, use stale tactics to scare voters. if you don't have a good record to run on, paint your opponent as someone people should run from. >> you were one of the few lawmakers to stand with president bush when he was seeking to partially privatize social security. >> for younger people. what we said then and what i've always agreed is let younger americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the social security system. >> you saw h well that worked. >> that's not what mitt romney is proposing. we're saying no changes for people 55 and above and then the
changes we're talking about for younger people like myself is don't increase the benefits for wealthy people as fast as everybody else. slowly raise the retirement age over time. it wouldn't get to 70 until 2103. >> quickly, vice president. >> quickly, the bottom line is that all the studies show that if we went with the social security proposal made by mitt romney, if you're in your 40s now, you'll pay $2600 a year -- you get $2600 a year less in social security. if you're in your 20s you get $4700 a year less. the idea of changing, and change being in this case to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you can do to make it work is absolutely the wrong way. look, these guys haven't been big on medicare from the beginning. their party has not been big on medicare from the beginning. and they have always been about social security as little as you can do. look, folks, use your common sense. who do you trust on this, a man who introduced a bill that would
raise it $6400 a year, knowing it and passing it and romney saying he'd sign it or me and the president. >> that statistic was completely misleading -- >> that's the facts. >> this is what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on. try to scare people from voting for you. if you don't get ahead of this problem, it's going to a -- >> medicare beneficiaries -- >> we're going to move on. >> medicare and social security did so much for my own family, we are not going to jeopardize this program, but we have to save it. >> you are jeopardizing the program. you're changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to a premium support, whatever you call it. the bottom line is people will have to pay more money out of their own pocket and the families i know and come from don't have the money to pay more out of their pocket. >> that's why we're saying more for lorin come people and less for higher income people. >> gentlemen, i would like to move on to a very simple question for both of you and
something tells me i won't get a simple answer. >> i gave you a simple answer, he's raising the cost of medicare. >> on to taxes. if your ticket is elected, who will pay more in taxes, who will pay less and we're starting with vice president biden for two minutes. >> middle class will pay less and people making a million dollars or more will contributing slightly more. let me give you one concrete example. the continuation of the bush tax cuts. we are arguing that the bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. of the bush tax cuts for the wealthy, $800 billion of that goes to people making a minimum of a million dollars. we see no justification in these economic times for those, and they're patriotic americans. they're not asking for this continued tax cut. they're not suggesting it. but my friends are insisting on it. 120,000 families by continuing that tax cut will get an additional $500 billion in tax relief in the next ten years and their income is an average of $8 million. we want to extend permanently
the middle class tax cut for -- permanently, the bush middle class tax cut. these guys won't allow us to. we say let's have a vote. let's have a vote on the middle class tax cut and let's have a vote on the upper tax cut. let's go ahead and vote on it. they're saying, no. they're holding hostage the middle class tax cut to the super wealthy. and on top of that, they have got another tax cut coming. it's $5 trillion that all of the studies point out will in fact give another $250 million -- $250,000 a year to those 120,000 families and raise taxes for people who are middle income with a child by $2,000 a year. this is unconscionable. there is no need for this. the middle class got knocked on their heels. the great recession crushed them. they need some help now. the last people who need help are 120,000 families for another, another $500 billion
tax cut over the next ten years. >> congressman. >> our entire premise of these tax reform plans is to grow the economy and create jobs. it's a plan that's estimated to create seven million jobs. now, we think that government taking 28% of a family and business's income is enough. president obama thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8% of a small business's income. look, if you taxed every person in successful small business making over $250,000 at 100%, it would only run the government for 98 days. if everybody who paid income taxes last year, including successful small businesses doubled their income taxes this year, we'd still have a $300 billion deficit. you see, there aren't enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending. and so the next time you hear them say don't worry about it, we'll get a few wealthy people
to pay their fair share, watch out, middle class, the tax bill is coming to you. that's why we're saying we need fundamental tax reform. let's take a look at it this way. eight out of ten businesses, they file their taxes as individuals, not as corporations. and where i come from overseas, which is lake superior, the canadians, they drop their tax rates to 15%. the average tax rate on businesses in the industrialized world is 25%. and the president wants the top effective tax rate on successful small businesses to go above 40%. two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. this one tax would actually tax about 53% of small business income. it's expected to cost us 710,000 jobs. you know what? it doesn't even pay for 10% of the proposed deficit spending increases. what we are saying is lower tax rates across the board and close loopholes primarily to the higher income people. we have three bottom lines.
don't raise the bdeficit, don't raise taxes on the middle class and don't lower the share of income that is born by the high income earners. he'll keep saying this $5 trillion plan. it's been discredited by six other studies and even their own deputy campaign manager acknowledged that it wasn't correct. >> well, let's talk about this 20%. you have refused, and again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20% across the board tax cut. do you actually have the specifics or are you still working on it and that's why you won't tell voters? >> different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. you see, i understand -- >> do you have the specifics? do you know exactly what you're doing? >> look at what mitt romney -- look at what ronald reagan and tip o'neill did. they worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base and worked together to fix that. what we're saying is here's our framework. lower tax rates 20%. we raise about $1.2 trillion
through income taxes. we forego $1.1 trillion in loopholes and deductions. what we're saying is deny those loopholes and deductions to higher income taxpayers so more of their income is taxed which has a broader base of translation so we can lower tax rates across the board. here's why i'm saying this. what we're saying -- >> i hope i get time to respond. >> you'll get time. >> we want to work with the congress on how best to achieve this. that means successful -- >> no specifics again. >> what we're saying is lower tax rates 20%, start with the wealthy. work with congress to do it. >> you guarantee this math will add up. >> six studies have guaranteed -- six studies have verified this would add up. >> vice president biden. >> i'll come back in a second then, right? >> first of all, i was there when ronald reagan was there. he gave specifics of what he was going to cut, number one, in terms of tax expenditures. number two, 97% of the small businesses in america make less
than $250,000. let me tell you who some of those other small businesses, hedge funds that make $600, $800 million a year. they dhunt as small business. let's look at how sincere they are. governor romney on "60 minutes" about ten days ago was asked, governor, you pay 14% on $20 million. someone making $50,000 paid more than that. do you think that's fair? he said oh, yes, that's fair. that's fair. and they're going to talk -- you think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes? the biggest loophole they take advantage of is the carried interest loophole and capital gains loophole. they exempt that. now, the reason why. aei study, the american enterprise institute study, the tall policy center study, the reason they say taxes are going up on the middle class, the only way you can find $5 trillion in loopholes is cut the mortgage deduction for middle class people, cut the health care
deduction for middle class people, take away their ability to get a tax break to send their kids to college. that's why -- >> is he wrong about that? >> he is wrong about that. >> how is that? >> you can cut tax rates by 20% and still preserve these important preferences for middle class taxpayers. >> not mathematically possible. >> it is mathematically possible. it's been done before. it's precisely what we're proposing. >> it's never been done before. >> it's been done a couple of times before. jack kennedy lowered tax rates. >> now you're jack kennedy. >> ronald reagan -- republican and democrats -- republicans and democrats have worked together on this. i understand you guys aren't used to doing bipartisan deals. >> when we did it with reagan, he said here are the things we're going to cut. >> we're going to fill in the details. >> fill in the details. >> that's how you get things done. look, let me say it this way. >> that coming from a republican congress working bipartisanly? 7% rating? come on. >> mitt romney was governor of massachusetts where 87% of the legislators he served with were
democrats. he didn't demonize them, he didn't demagogue them, he met with the party leaders every week. he reached across the aisle, he didn't compromise principles -- >> and you saw what happened. >> and he balanced the budget. >> he did such a great job. >> vice president -- >> why isn't he even contesting massachusetts? >> what would you suggest -- what would you suggest beyond raising taxes on the wealthy that would substantially reduce it long term? >> just let taxes expire like they're supposed to on those millionaires. we can't afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum of a million dollars. they do not need it, martha. those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. middle class people need the help. why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? >> can you declare anything off limits? >> we're saying close loopholes on high interest people. >> all mortgage deductions. >> for higher income people.
>> can you guarantee that no one making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage deduction impacted? >> he is taxing millions in small businesses. he's trying to make it think it's some movie star, hedge fund guy. >> 97% of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year. would not be affected. >> this taxes a million people. a million small businesses. >> does it tax 97% of the small businesses? >> it taxes small businesses who are the greatest job creators. >> and you're going to increase the defense. >> we're not going to cut the defense budget. >> you increased it $2 trillion. >> so no massive -- >> we're. >> -- defense increase? >> you want to get into defense now? >> yes, i do. i do. that's another math question. how do you do that? >> they propose a $478 billion cut to defense to begin with. now we have another $500 billion cut to defense that's lurking on
the horizon. they insisted upon that cut being involved in the debt negotiations and so now -- >> let's put the automatic defense cuts aside, okay. let's put those aside. no one wants that. but i want to know how you do the math and have this increase in defense spending. >> if you don't cut defense by a trillion dollars, that's what we're talking about. >> and what national security issues justify an increase? >> we're going to cut 80,000 soldiers, 20,000 marines, 120 cargo planes? we're going to -- >> drawing down in one war and one war -- >> if these cuts go through, our navy will be the smallest it has been since before world war i. this invites weakness. look, do we believe in strength? you bet we do. that means you don't impose these devastating cuts on our military. so we're saying don't cut the military by a trillion dollars. not increase it by a trillion, don't cut it by a trillion dollars.
>> quickly, vice president, on this. i want to move on. >> we don't cut it. this so-called i know we don't want to use defense words to question this automatic cut, that was part of a debt deal they asked for. let me tell you what my friend said at a press conference announcing his support of the deal. he said we've been looking for this moment for a long time. >> can i tell you what that meant? we've been looking for bipartisanship for a long time. >> so the bipartisanship is what he voted for, the automatic cuts in defense if they didn't act. and beyond that they asked for another -- look, the military says we need a smaller, leaner army. we need more special forces. we need -- we don't need more m-1 tanks, what we need -- >> some of the military. >> not some of the military, that was the decision of the joint chiefs of staff. recommended to us and agreed to by the president. >> who answers to a civilian leader. >> they made the recommendation first. >> okay. let's move on to afghanistan. >> can i get into that? >> i'd like to move on to
afghanistan, please. and that's one of the biggest expenditures this country has made in dollars and more importantly in lives. we just passed the sad milestone of losing 2,000 u.s. troops there in this war. more than 50 of them were killed this year by the very afghan forces we are trying to help. now, we've reached the recruiting goal for afghan forces. we've degraded al qaeda. so tell me why not leave now? what more can we really accomplish? is it worth more american lives? >> we don't want to lose the gains we've gotten. we want to make sure that the taliban does not come back in and give al qaeda a safe haven. we agree with the administration on their 2014 transition. look, when i think about afghanistan, i think about the incredible job that our troops have done. you've been there more than the two of us combined. the first time i was there in 2002, it was amazing to me what they were facing. i went to the valley in kandahar before the surge and i sat down
with a young private in the 82nd from an indian reservation who would tell me what he did every day and i was in awe. to see what they had in front of them. then to go back there in december, to go throughout helmand with the marines and see what they have accomplished, it's nothing short of amazing. what we don't want to do is lose the gains we've gotten. now, we've disagreed from time to time on a few issues. we would have more likely taken into account the recommendations from our commanders, general petraeus on troop levels throughout this year's fighting season. we've been skeptical about negotiations with the taliban, especially while they're shooting at us. but we want to seat 2014 transition be successful, and that means we want to make sure our commanders have what they need to make sure that it is successful so that this does not once again become a launching pad for terrorists. >> vice president biden. >> martha, let's keep our eye on the ball. i've been in afghanistan and iraq 20 times.
i've been up in the -- i've been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter and sometimes in a vehicle. the fact is we went there for one reason. to get those people who killed americans. al qaeda. we decimated al qaeda central. we have eliminated osama bin laden. that was our purpose. and in fact in the meantime what we said we would do, we would help train the afghan military. it's their responsibility to take over their own security. that's why with 49 of our allies in afghanistan, we've agreed on a gradual drawdown so we're out of there by the year 20 -- in the year 2014. my friend and the governor say it's based on conditions, which means it depends. it does not depend for us. it is the responsibility of the afghans to take care of their own security.
we have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. there have been more than two dozen cases of green on blue where americans have been killed. if we -- if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols. we will not train in the field. we'll only train in the army bases that exist there. but we are leaving. we are leaving in 2014. period. and in the process, we are going to be saving over the next ten years another $800 billion. we've been in this war for over a decade. the primary objective is almost completed. now all we're doing is putting the kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. it's their responsibility, not america's. >> what conditions could justify staying, congressman ryan? >> we don't want to stay.
look, one of my best friends in janesville, a reservist, is at a forward operating base in eastern afghanistan right w. our wives are best friends, our daughters are best friends. i want him and all of our troops to come home as soon and safely as possible. we want to make sure that 2014 is successful. that's why we want to make sure that we dwgive our commanders wt they say they need to make it successful. we don't want to extend beyond 2014, that's the point we're making. you know, if it was just this, i feel like we would be able to call this a success. but it's not. what we are witnessing as we turn on our television screens these days is the absolute unraveling of the obama foreign policy. problems are growing at home but -- problems are growing abroad, but jobs aren't growing here at home. >> let me go back to this. he says we're absolutely leaving in 2014. you're saying that's not an absolute, but you won't talk
about what conditions would justify it? >> do you know why we say that? because we don't want to broadcast to our enemies, put a date on your calendar, wait us out and then come back. >> but you agree with the timeline. >> we do -- we do agree with the timeline and the transition, but what we -- what any administration will do in 2013 is assess the situation to see how best to complete this timeline. >> we will leave in 2014. >> what we do not want to do is give our allies reason to trust us less and our enemies more -- we don't want to embolden our enemies to hold and wait out for us and then take over. >> martha, that's a bizarre statement since 49 of our allies, hear me, 49 of our allies signed on to this position. >> and we're reading that they want -- >> 49. 49 of our allies said out in 2014. it's the responsibility of the afghans. we have other
responsibilities -- >> but we have -- we have soldiers and marines, we have afghan forces murdering our forces over there. the taliban is, do you think, taking advantage of this timeline? >> look, the taliban -- what we found out, and you saw it in iraq, martha. unless you set a timeline, baghdad in the case of iraq and kabul in the case of afghanistan will not step up. they're happy to let us continue to do the job. international security forces do the job. the only way they step up is say, fellas, we're leaving. we've trained you. step up. step up. >> let me go back -- >> that's the only way it works. >> let me go back to the surge troops that we put in there. and you brought this up, congressman ryan. i have talked to a lot of troops. i've talked to senior officers who were concerned that the surge troops were pulled out during the fighting season and
some of them saw that as a political move. so can you tell me, vice president biden, what was the military reason for bringing those surge troops home? >> by the way, when the president announced the surge, you'll remember, martha, he said the surge will be out by the end of the summer. the military said the surge will be out. nothing political about this. before the surge occurred, so you be a little straight with me here too, before the surge occurred, we said they'll be out by the end of the summer. that's what the military said. the reason for that is -- >> the military follows orders. trust me, there are people who were concerned about pulling out. >> there were people that were concerned but not the joint chiefs. that was their recommendation in the oval office to the president of the united states of america. i sat there. i'm sure you'll find someone who disagrees with the pentagon. i'm positive you'll find that within the military. but that's not the case here.
and secondly, the reason why the military said that is you cannot wait and have a cliff. it takes, you know, months and months and months to draw down forces. you cannot wait. >> let me illustrate the issue here because i think this can get a little confusing. we've all met with general allen in afghanistan to talk about fighting seasons. here's the way it works. the mountain passes fill in with snow. the taliban and the terrorists and others come over from pakistan to fight our men and women. when it's filled with snow, they can't do it. in the warm months, fighting gets really high. in the winter, it goes down. and so when admiral mullen and general petraeus came to congress and said if you pull these people out before the fighting season ends, it puts people more at risk. that's the problem. yes, we drew 22,000 troops down last month, but the remaining
troops that are there, who still have the same mission to prosecute counterinsurgency are doing it with fewer people. that makes them less safe. we're sending fewer people out in all these hot spots to do the same job that they were supposed to do a month ago because we took 22,000 people out. >> we turned them over to the afghan troops we trained. no one got pulled out that didn't get filled in by trained afghan personnel. and he's confusing two issues. the fighting season that petraeus was talking about and admiral mullen was the fighting season this spring. that's what he was talking about. we did not -- we did not pull them out. >> the calendar works the same every year. >> it does work the same every year. >> winter, spring, summer, fall, it's warm or it's not. they're still fighting us, they're still coming over the passes, they're still coming in
to kunar, to all of these areas, but we are sending fewer people to the front to fight them. >> that's right, because that's the afghan responsibility. we've trained them. >> not in the east. >> let's move to another war. >> not in the east? that's the most dangerous place in the world. that's why we should send americans in to do the job -- you'd rather americans be going in doing the job? >> no, we are already sending americans to do the job but fewer of them. >> that's right. we're sending in more afghans to do the job. afghans to do the job. >> let's move to another war, the civil war in syria. there are estimates that more than 25,000, 30,000 people have now been killed. in march of last year, president obama explained the military action taken in libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. so why doesn't the same logic apply in syria?
vice president biden. >> it's a different country. it's a different country. it is five times as large geographically. it has one-fifth the population, that is libya. one-fifth the population, five times as large geographically. it's in a part of the world where they're not going to see whatever would come from that war would seep into a regional war. you are in a country that is heavily populated in the midst of the most dangerous area in the world. and if in fact it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars. we are working hand in glove with the turks, with the jordanians, with the saudis and with all the people in the region, attempting to identify the people who deserve the help so that when assad goes, and he will go, there will be a legitimate government that follows on, not an al qaeda-sponsored government that follows on.
and all this loose talk of my friend, governor romney, and the congressman about how we are going to do -- we could do so much more in there. what more would they do other than put american boots on the ground? the last thing america needs is to get in another ground war in the middle east, requiring tens of thousands, if not well over 100,000 american forces. they are the facts. they are the facts. now, every time the governor is asked about this, he doesn't say anything -- he goes up with a whole lot of verbiage, but when he gets pressed, he says, no, he would not do anything different than we are doing now. are they proposing putting american troops on the ground? putting american aircraft in the airspace? is that what they're proposing? if they do, they should speak up and say so. but that's not what they're saying. 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 war when bashir assad falls. >> congressman ryan. >> nobody is proposing to send troops to syria, american troops. now, let me say it this way. how would we do things differently? we wouldn't refer to bashir assad as a reformer when he's killing his own civilians with his russian-provided weapons. we wouldn't be outsourcing our foreign policy to the united nations, giving vladimir putin veto power over our efforts to try and deal with this issue. he's vetoed three of them. hillary clinton went to russia to try and convince him not to do so. they thwarted their efforts. she said they were on the wrong side of history. she was right about that. this is one more example of how the russia reset is not working. so where are we? after international pressure mounted, then president obama said bashir assad should go. it's been over a year. the man has slaughtered tens of
thousands of his own people. and more foreign fighters are spilling into this country. so the longer this has gone on, the more people -- groups like al qaeda are going in. we could have more easily identified the free syrian army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the turks, the qataris, the saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with working through our allies. but no, we waited for kofi annan to try to come up with an agreement through the u.n. that bought bashir assad time. we gave russia veto power over our efforts through the u.n. and meanwhile about 30,000 syrians are dead. >> what would my friend do differently? if you notice, he never answers the question. >> no. we would not be going through the u.n. in all of these things. >> you don't go through the u.n. we are in the process now and have been for months in making sure that help, humanitarian aid
as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the turks believe, the jordanians believe, the saudis believe are the free forces inside of syria. that is under way. our allies were all on the same page. nato as well as our arab allies in terms of trying to get a settlement. that was their idea. we're the ones that said enough. with regard to the reset not working, the fact of the matter is that russia has a different interest in syria than we do, and that's not in our interest. >> what happens if assad does not fall? congressman ryan. what happens to the region? what happens if he hangs on? what happens if he does? >> then iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. he's a sponsor of terrorism. he'll probably continue slaughtering his people. we in the world community will lose our credibility on this. look, he mentioned -- >> so what would romney/ryan do about that credibility?
>> well, we agree with the same red line they do on chemical weapons. but not putting american troops in other than to secure those chemical weapons. they're right about that. but what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in syria. we should not have called bashir assad a reformer. >> what's your criteria -- what's your criteria -- >> we should not have waited for russia to give us the green light at the u.n. to do something about it. they're still arming the man. iran is flying flights over iraq -- >> and the opposition is being armed. >> to help bashir assad. by the way, if we had the status of forces agreement that the vice president said he would bet his vice presidency on in iraq we probably would have been able to prevent that. but he failed to achieve that as well again. >> let me ask you again what's your criteria for intervention? >> in syria? >> worldwide. >> what is in the national interests of the american people. >> how about humanitarian interest.
>> it's got to be in the strategic national interests of our country. >> no humanitarian? >> each situation will come up with its own set of circumstances, but putting american troops on the ground, that's got to be within the national security interests of the american people. >> i want to -- we're almost out of time here. >> 'embargoes and sanctions dont put american troops on the ground. if your talking about putting american troops on the ground, noenl our national security interests. >> i want to move on and return home for these last few questions. this debate is indeed historic. we have two catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this. and i would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. please talk about how you came to that decision. talk about how your religion played a part in that and
please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country, please talk personally about this, if you could. congressman ryan. >> i don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. our faith forms us in everything we do. my faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, how to make sure that people have a chance in life. now you want to ask basically why i'm pro-life? it's not simply because of my catholic faith. that's a factor, of course. but it's also because of reason and science. you know, i think about ten and a half years ago, my wife and i went to mercy hospital in janesville where i was born for our seven-week ultrasound for our first-born child and we saw that heartbeat. our little baby was in the shape
of a bean and to this day we have nicknamed our first born child, liza, bean. now, i believe that life begins at conception. that's why those are the reasons why i'm pro-life. now, i understand this is a difficult issue and i respect people who don't agree with me on this. but the policy of a romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. what troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. look at what they're doing through obama care with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. they're infringing upon our first freedom. the freedom of religion by infringing on catholic charities, catholic churches, catholic hospitals. our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liber tees. with respect to abortion, the
democratic party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare. now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. taxpayer funding in obama care, taxpayer funding in foreign aid. the vice president himself went to china and said that he sympathized or wouldn't second guess their one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. that to me is pretty extreme. >> vice president biden. >> my religion defines who i am. and i've been a practicing catholic my whole life. and it has particularly informed my social doctrine. catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. with regard to -- with regard to abortion, i accept my church's position on abortion as a d
de fite doctrine. life begins at conception, i accept it in my personal life. but i refuse to impose it on equally devout christians and muslims an jews. i just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. i do not believe that we have a right to tell other people, women, they can't control their body. it's a decision between them and their doctor in my view. and the supreme court, i'm not going to interfere with that. with regard to the assault on the catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear. no religious institution, catholic or otherwise, including catholic social services, georgetown hospital, mercy hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they
provide. that is a fact. that is a fact. now, with regard to the way in which we differ, my friend says that he -- well, i guess he accepts governor romney's position now because in the past, he has argued tt there was rape and forcible rape. he's argued that in the case of rape or incest it was still -- it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. i just fundamentally disagree with my friend. >> congressman ryan. >> all i'm saying is if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn't change the definition of life. that's a principle. the policy of a romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. now, i've got to take issue with the catholic church and religious liberty. >> you have on the issue of catholic social doctrine taken issue.
>> why would they keep suing you? it's a distinction without a difference. >> i want to go back to the abortion question here. if the romney/ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried? >> we don't think that unelected judges should make this decision, that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination. >> the court -- the next president will get one or two supreme court nominees. that's how close roe v. wade is. just ask yourself, with robert bork being the chief adviser on the court for, for mr. romney, who do you think he's likely to appoint? do you think he's likely to appoint someone like scalia or someone else on the court far right that would outlaw abortion? i suspect that would happen.
i guarantee you that will not happen. we pick two people. we pick people who are open-minded. they have been good justices. >> was this a limits test on them? >> there was no limits test. we picked people who had an open mind, did not come with an agenda. >> i'm going to move on to this closing question because we are running out of time. certainly known, you've said it here tonight that the two of you respect our troops enormously. your son has served and perhaps some day your children will serve as well. i recently spoke to a highly decorated soldier who said that this presidential campaign has left him dismayed. he told me, quote, the ads are so negative and they are all tearing down each other rather than building up the country. what would you say to that american hero about this campaign? and at the end of the day, are you ever embarrassed by the tone? vice president biden. >> i would say to him the same
thing i say to my son who did serve a year in iraq. that we only have one truly sacred obligation as a government. that's to equip those we send into harm's way and care for those who come home. that's the only sacred obligation we have. everything else falls behind that. i would also tell him that the fact that he, this decorated soldier you talked about, fought for his country, that that should be honored. he should not be thrown into a category of the 47% who don't pay their taxes while he was out there fighting and not having to pay taxes and somehow not taking responsibility. i would also tell him that there are things that have occurred in this campaign and occur in every campaign that i'm sure both of us regret anyone having said, particularly in these, these special new groups that can go
out there, raise all the money they want, not have to identify themselves and say the most scurrilous things about the other candidate. it's an abomination. but the bottom line here is i'd ask that hero you referenced to take a look at whether or not governor romney or president obama has the conviction to help lift up the middle class, restore them to where they were before this great recession hit and they got wiped out, or whether or not he's going to continue to focus on taking care of only the very wealthy, not asking them to make -- pay any part of the deal to bring back the middle class, the economy of this country. i would ask him to take a look at whether the president of the united states has acted wisely in the use of force and whether or not the slipshod comments being made by governor romney serve our interests very well. but there are things that have
been said in campaigns that i find not very appealing. >> congressman ryan. >> first of all, i'd thank him for service to our country. second of all, i'd say we are not going to impose these devastating cuts to our military which compromises our mission and their safety. and then i would say you have a president who ran for president four years ago promising hope and change who has now turned his campaign into attack, blame and defame. you see, if you don't have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone to run from. that was what president obama said in 2008. that's what he's doing right now. look at all the string of broken promises. if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. try telling that to the 20 million people who are projected to lose their health insurance if obama care goes through or the 7.4 million seniors who are going to lose it. or remember when he said this. i guarantee if you make less than $250,000, your taxes won't
go up. of the 21 tax increases in obama care, 12 of them hit the middle class. or remember when he said health insurance premiums will go down $2500 per family her year. they have gone up $3,000 and are expected to go up another $2400. or remember when he said i promise by the end of my first term i'll cut the deficit in half in four years. we've had four budgets, four trillion dollar deficits. a debt crisis is coming. we can't keep spending and borrowing like this. we can't keep spending money we don't have. leaders run to problems to fix problems. president obama has not even put a credible plan on the table in any of his four years to deal with this debt crisis. i passed two budgets to pass this. mitt romney has put ideas on the table. we've got to tackle this debt crisis before it tackles us. the president likes to say he has a plan. he gave a speech. we asked his budget office. can we see the plan? they sent us to his press secretary. he gave us a copy of the speech. we asked the congressional
budget office, tell us what president obama's plan is to prevent a debt crisis. they said it's a speech, we can't estimate speeches. you see, that's what we get in this administration, speeches. we're not getting leadership. mitt romney is uniquely qualified to fix these promises. his lifetime of experience, his proven track record of bipartisanship and what do we have from the president? he broke his big promise to bring people together to solve the country's biggest problems. what i would tell him is we don't have to settle for this. we can do better than this. >> i hope i'll get equal time. >> you will get just a few minutes here. a few seconds really. >> the two budgets the congressman introduced have eviscerated all the things that the middle class cares about. it will knock 19 million people off medicare. it will kick 200,000 children off of early education. it will eliminate the tax credit people have to be able to send their children to college. it cuts education by $450
billion. it does virtually nothing except continue to increase the tax cuts for the very wealthy. and, you know, we've had enough of this. the idea that he's so concerned about these deficits, i pointed out, he voted to put two wars on a credit card. >> we're going to -- we're going to the closing statements in a minute. >> just a second. not raising taxes is not cutting taxes and by the way, our budget -- >> we have not raised taxes. >> went up 3% a year instead of 4.5%. >> let me calm down things here just for a minute and i want to talk to you very briefly before we go to closing statements about your own personal character. if you were elected, what could you both give to this country as a man, as a human being, that no one else could? >> honesty. no one else could? there are plenty of fine people who could lead this country. but what you need are people who when they say they're going to do something, they go do it.
what you need are when people see problems, they offer solutions to fix those problems. we're not getting that. look, we can grow this economy faster. that's what our five-point plan for a stronger middle class is about. it's good betting 12 million jobs, getting people out of poverty into the middle class. that means going with proven, pro-growth policies that we know works to get people back to work. putting ideas on the table. working with democrats. that actually works sometimes -- >> mr. vice president, can you get to that issue of what you can bring as a man, a human being? i'm going to keep you to 15 seconds. >> he gets 40, i get 15? >> he didn't have 40. >> let me tell you, my record stands for itself. i never say anything i don't mean. everybody knows whatever i say, i do. and my whole life has been devoted to leveling the playing field for middle class people, giving them an even break, treating main street and wall street the same, holding the same responsibility.
look at my record. it's been all about the middle class. they're the people who grow this country. we think you grow this country from the middle out, not from the top down. >> okay. we now turn to the candidates for their closing statements. thank you, gentlemen, and that coin toss, again, has vice president biden starting with the closing statement. >> well, let me say at the outset that i want to thank you, martha, for doing this and centre college. the fact is that we're in a situation where we inherited a god-awful circumstance. people are in real trouble. we acted to move to bring relief to the people who need the most help now. and in the process we, in case you haven't noticed, we have strong disagreements, but you probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the american people. my friend says that 30% of the american people are takers. romney points out 47% of the
people won't take responsibility. he's talking about my mother and father. he's talking about the places i grew up in, my neighbors in scranton. he's talking about the people that built this country. all they're looking for, martha, all they're looking for is an even shot. whenever you give them a shot, they have done it. they have done it. whenever you level the playing field, they have been able to move and they want a little bit of peace of mind. and the president and i are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled. they in fact have a clear shot and they have peace of mind. until they can turn to their kids and say with a degree of confidence, honey, it's going to be okay. it's going to be okay. that's what this is all about. >> congressman ryan. >> i want to thank you as well, martha. danville, kentucky, centre college, and i want to thank you, joe. it's been an honor to engage in this critical debate. we face a very big choice. what kind of country are we
going to be? what kind of country are we going to give our kids? president obama, he had his chance. he made his choices. his economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. it's not working. it's failed to create the jobs we need. 23 million americans are struggling for work today. 15% of americans are in poverty. this is not what a real recovery looks like. you deserve better. mitt romney and i want to earn your support. we're offering real reforms for a real recovery for every american. mitt romney, his experience, his ideas, his solutions is uniquely qualified to get this job done. at a time when we had a jobs crisis in america, wouldn't it be nice to have a job creator in the white house? the choice is clear. a stagnant economy promotes more
government dependency or a dynamic growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs. mitt romney and i will not duck the tough issues. and we will not blame others for the next four years. we will take responsibility, and we will not try to replace our founding principles. we will reapply our founding principles. the choice is clear, and the choice rests with you and we ask you for your vote. thank you. >> and thank you both again. thank you very much. this concluding the vice presidential debate. please tune in next tuesday for the second presidential debate at hofstra university in new york. i'm martha raddatz of abc news. i do hope all of you go to the polls. have a good evening. [ applause ] >> as the two men get up to now shake hands and members of their family will traditionally join them up on stage as they thank
each other, a very interesting debate. a very serious discussion. more tightly moderated, between two men with a lot in common in terms of background, as you may know, as you might have heard, but an obvious gulf in terms of age and experience and obviously a gulf in terms of policy, as we watch this and let this scene play out as the two families mingle on stage. we'll take this to our political team, watching along with us, starting with david gregory, moderator of "meet the press." david, a lot will be said about the job joe biden did tonight that perhaps was unfinished, being charitable in the last debate. people on social media especially are already talking about this as a visual event on television. most of that having to do with joe biden. >> the smile, the laugh, i think a lot of people may view that and think that he was a little too hot, too aggressive, maybe
condescending. i think supporters of the president and joe biden will say hey, this is refreshing. he was fiesty, he was aggressive. he was singhi he was seeking to belittle him -- there's no question biden offered a strong emotional defense of the president and his record. he did some things with the 47% to the issue of abortion and foreign policy to go on the offense. it will be interesting to see how he was veed. was he reaching out to undecided voters or fire up the base that was really disappointed after the president's performance. >> another member of our team of five, veteran white house correspondent savannah guthrie watching along with us. savannah, given all the debate prep that went on, in hockey parlance and soccer parlance, i guess, there were a couple open nets early on. paul ryan raised the notion of car accident victims when, of course, it's part of joe biden's
family narrative. talked about the auto industry when we know the recent history of that. even stimulus jobs, when some folks knew there were letters on file from paul ryan asking for green stimulus jobs in his district. >> i was struck by how fiery and at times acrimonious this debate was and there were certainly moments when both candidates had prime opportunities, prime targets, you named just a couple of them. with regard to biden laughing, i'm starting to think how to react, what to do when you're not speaking must be the most difficult task in these debates because we see time and time again candidates having such a hard time with it. i think the fundamental question here remains, though, is anything that was said here tonight persuasive at all to independent voters, those who haven't made up their minds. i think there were moments in this debate where it felt like the candidates were having this extended conversation with themselves and almost forgot the audience at home and that they are also supposed to be having a conversation with america. >> and, tom, if you're the
audience at home, what were the big points they were going after on the persuadables? >> i think probably a lot of people at home say we now know what happened to the president's playbook, he left it in the vice president's office. that was the difference between joe biden's appearance tonight and his ability to carry the brief. at 9:25 i made a little list of and just one riff he got to the president will not cut taxes on the middle class -- i mean he will cut taxes on the middle class and he raised the threshold to a million dollars where people will have their taxes raised. he went after romney on the 47% comment. he talked about the gm bailout and he talked obviously about taxes on the rich. he said we're going to level the playing field for the middle class. and i agree with savannah and david both. they both played to their constituencies. it's what happens in the middle. >> these vice presidential debates, as entertaining as they are and as reassuring as these two men were, because they both can be a heartbeat away from the
presidency, and people will have confidence that they can could the job. do they move the needle? that's a tougher question. and the people out there tonight will be deciding that who are in that great middle trying to decide and they're going to be mostly looking forward to next week when the two presidential candidates get together. >> it's a good starting point for chuck todd, our current political director and current chief white house correspondent, who's at the venue in danville, kentucky, tonight. chuck, neither name is at the top of the ticket. maybe some day, but not this time. though this has impact, it does speak for the team and a big gaffe or mistake can certainly dissuade voters. >> well, there wasn't any of that, but it was a very fired-up joe biden. i think one of the ways you could sort of take notice of who controlled the debate, notice how many times i'm going to come up with an exact count soon, but how many times joe biden uttered the word romney versus how many times ryan uttered the word president obama or president.
it was clear biden wasn't going to clooleave anything on the ta. pick your cliche. he threw it all out there. at times i think he was a little too amped up. as someone joked on twitter, it's as if he took one too many red bulls and by the end the red bull went through him and he found his right rhythm i would say somewhere about halfway through the debate. but he kept ryan on the defensive. to ryan's credit, i think he kept his cool. don't forget sort of the basic threshold question of a vp debate that we miss sometimes is some viewers are looking at can this person be president. biden has already i think passed that test for a lot of people. i think ryan did pass that test tonight. again, he kept his cool. he seemed to play it safe. took the bait a few times. i think at the end you're going to hear a lot of spinning back and forth between the campaigns. obama campaign feels like that they got something on the women's issues and abortion against romney/ryan and i think you'll see the romney/ryan folks
try to make a lot of the facial expressions and body language thing because they know that biden on point was pretty aggressive tonight. >> all right, chuck todd at the venue. that spin you're talking about begins now with david axelrod. senior counselor to president obama and a guy who was involved now for the second time in debate prep. david, you know the plot line emerged in the first couple of minutes, that your number two guy did a lot of the heavy lifting that was expected of your number one guy when we were last at this a week ago. you prepared to accept that premise tonight? >> look, all i'm prepared to do is declare a decisive victory for joe biden. i thought he was tremendous tonight. it was a battle of facts and conviction versus well rehearsed glib lines and empty promises. one of the most remarkable things i saw was that congressman ryan after all this time still can't explain how they're going to pay for this $5 trillion tax cut skewed to the wealthy. said we'll give you the details later. he walked away from governor
romney's promise to spend $2 trillion more on defense money. by the way, the pentagon isn't asking for it. when he was asked about why governor romney opposed the auto bailout that was so important for so many people across this country, he talked about how charitable governor romney is. but that wasn't a very charitable position for the million or more autoworkers whose jobs would have been lost if the president hadn't intervened. so i think this was a great night for our ticket. i think the vice president was strong in making the case for an economy that's built around the middle class, not from the top down. it was good all around. >> david, this one's in the books. people will agree or disagree about how either man did. as one of our colleagues just put it, all attention now is on the next presidential. it's town hall format with a moderator. after the last debate, we went off the air. i was asking you is there anything you would tweak about the president's performance?
you refused to answer. the president, now that your boss himself has taken on his own performance, can you answer it tonight? >> brian, i'm trying to build audience. i'm just saying stay tuned. but one thing i hope that happens on tuesday night is that governor romney explains further what congressman ryan said tonight, that they can commit to removing our troops from afghanistan by 2014. that actually was the one thing he was willing to say. he ran away from mostly everything else. maybe we can resolve that on tuesday. >> david axelrod on site tonight in kentucky. david, thanks. we're now joined by the republican senator from one of two host senators in kentucky from tonight, mitch mcdonnell, leader in the senate. mr. leader, first off, i'm curious to get especially following what chuck todd predicted would be the gop reaction perhaps, i'm curious to get your reaction to the debate
tonight. >> it reminded me of al gore in 2000 walking over and standing by president bush, sort of getting in his face. the vice president was interrupting, talking over congressman ryan. congressman ryan was very respectful and made the point, which is this is an election that involves a huge choice. the fundamental question for the american people is do you want four more years like the last four years? an i think paul ryan got that point across very effectively. for those independent voters who like a more respectful exchange, i think the vice president constantly talking over and interrupting and making facial expressions as if he wished he were somewhere else will probably not go down to the benefit of the democratic ticket. >> when congressman ryan was talking, can you name an area where in your view, senator, he advanced the ball for the ticket? >> i think he stated very
effectively the differences between how a new romney/ryan administration -- the direction they would take america and where we've been over the last four years. you know, 48 months of 8% unemployment or more, a debt now the size of our economy, which makes us a look a lot like greece. we need to go in a dramatically different direction, and nobody explains that better in my view than paul ryan. i thought he did a spectacular job of laying that out tonight. >> all right, senator mitch mcconnell, one of two host senators, as we said, from the state of kentucky. through the mysterious ways of the presidential debate commission, you've been able to host two of these in a decade's time there in the great state of kentucky. senator, thank you for your time tonight. for our team, we're going to fit in a quick break here. and when we come back, you might have heard a whole slew of facts thrown around on that kentucky stage tonight. andrea mitchell is standing by with our fact check, some of what we heard tonight.
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we're back. this is our continuing nbc news live coverage of the only time these two men will meet this presidential cycle. the vice presidential debate tonight in danville, kentucky, and it is true, you could take any question tonight, any question from any of these debates, and go through the answers and find facts and find differences between the two sides. we've winnowed down a couple of them. andrea mitchell heading up our truth squad team on site tonight in danville. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, brian. they started right off on foreign policy. they started talking about libya and right away made points that need careful checking. first of all, that terror attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi one month ago that killed ambassador chris stevens
and three other americans in an armed assault on the compound, that we now know was the work of terrorists. well, paul ryan accused the obama administration tonight of not properly protecting the ambassador. >> what we should not be doing is rejecting claims for calls for more security in our barracks, in our marines. we need marines in benghazi. when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security. there were requests for extra security. those requests were not honored. >> vice president biden called the death a tragedy but then claimed that the obama administration did not know that ambassador stevens and other personnel on the ground had been asking for more security help. >> we weren't told they wanted more security. we did not know they wanted more security again. and by the way, at the time we were told exactly -- we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. that was the assessment.
>> it was an assessment but the state department did know in realtime from video that requests from security sources had been made and were turned down. a state department official acknowledged testifying on capitol hill only yesterday. the vice president was right, though, when he argued tonight that congressman ryan and republicans in the house had both voted to cut the federal budget for state department security around the world. >> this lecture on embassy security, the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for. >> on iran, ryan accused the administration of watering down sanctions and blocking congress every step of the way. joe biden came back hard. >> imagine up we'd let a republican congress work out the skang sanctions. do you think there's any possibility the entire world would have joined us, russia and
china, all of our allies? these are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period. period. >> in fact biden is mostly correct on this. even if they did martial international support for the most crippling sanctions although they did want to sanction the central bank later, congress forced them to do it. the p president signed that bill. the vice president accused ryan of being a big government spender. ryan voted for the bush tax cuts, the wars in iraq and afghanistan and the expansion of medicare to cover prescription drugs. all of which biden says added to the deficit. >> by the way, they talk about this great recession as if it 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, at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card. a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. i was there. i voted against them. i said, no, we can't afford that.
>> but take a look at biden's own senate vote. when he was in the senate, he voted for an early version of that medicare prescription drug coverage. later, biden did not support the final medicare drug benefit that president bush signed into law. and the vice president was not correct when he suggested tonight that he did not support the two wars because the country could not afford them. biden did vote for both wars. there was also a sharp disagreement tonight over medicare. biden charged that ryan's original plan would raise out of pocket costs for most seniors. >> look, folks, use your common sense. who do you trust on this, a man who introduced a bill that would raise it $6400 a year, knowing it and passing it and romney saying he'd sign it, or me and the president? >> ryan objected. >> that statistic was completely misleading, but more importantly -- >> those are the facts. >> this is what politicians do when they don't have a record to
run on. try to scare people from voting for you. >> in fact on this, biden is right. the congressional budget office said that ryan's first budget plan would force most future seniors to pay increased costs out of pocket. that amount or more. whether a revised plan would cost more is still uncertain. so a lot of facts, a lot of arguments tonight. we've looked at a few, we'll keep looking at it. >> the tip of the iceberg were all the facts that were slung around there were concerned. andrea mitchell, thanks. back to our panel here. david gregory, a question we took a glancing blow at earlier, how much did this matter tonight? >> well, i'm hearing from a lot of people on twitter who see this as basically a tie. maybe some points biden, maybe some points to ryan. i think you said it before, this is really about next tuesday. i think it's going to be k difficult for the president to be as aggressive as his vice president was, but i think this was a proxy fight. i think this is laying the
groundwork for the president of the united states to come out as a different candidate when he faces off against governor romney gechbagain. the threshold question, you know, we have a sitting vice president, can paul ryan handle himself? yeah, they were both knowledgeable, they both were prepared, they both gave strong defenses. this is really about next tuesday. >> you mentioned twitter. it's called social media, people get to be concerned with whatever they get to be concerned with, including the issue of lapel pins. take a look at this. a curious similarity. the democrats, they're all wearing american flags, the democrats chose a smaller plain american flag motif in addition to blue ties for the democrats, red for the republicans. republicans, and this is what got so much attention on social media, people were asking not only is the flag larger, what is that symbol in the middle of the field of stripes? and that is the secret service pin, the u.s. secret service
hands these out to friends and of course their protectees, if you have a secret service detail, it's always been considered a tip of the hat to them. we wanted to clear this up because believe it or not there's been a lot of traffic on social media about it. so how, savannah guthrie, if you are team obama and team romney, the romney campaign put out a picture of mitt romney and i guess senator portman watching in a hotel suite tonight. president obama was in the air on air force one for part of this tonight. how does this change prep for tuesday? >> well, i think we'll see certainly a more aggressive president obama. i think the interesting thing about it, we all kind of agree that this was probably a draw, which just draws attention to the fact of how rare it was last week when you had such a lopsided victory that everyone saw almost immediately and the president himself had to finally acknowledge. and then the question is if you have a draw, then who really wins ultimately? and you could say the republicans do because they're the ones who came in with momentum.
but vice president biden was out there to stir up the base, to fire up the base. and if that was his objective tonight, he probably accomplished that. >> and tom brokaw, one of the elephants in the room, of course, is the business of moderating. a lot of talk about the job jim lehrer did. i think it will be mutually agreed that martha raddatz did a good job tonight and moved that conversation along. >> she did an excellent job. however, being in that chair i know how hard it is. once they decide not to play by their own rules, and that's what happened to jim lehrere i don't think he was as clear about what he had in mind and what he talked to the two candidates about. i'm going to ask an open question and i want you to debate. they were to play by the rules when it came to timing and of course they ran all over the top of him. you can't really crawl up on the stage and try to break it up because that comes back at you. but martha did an excellent job of -- both in terms of tone and content. we covered a wide range of issues here tonight.
next week it will be much different for candy crowley because she's going to have questions not only from people in the room with her but also online questions. having reviewed a lot of those four years ago, a lot of those online questions come from large, special interest groups that organize themselves and try to flood the zone, as it were. it's pretty tricky. can i just say one more thing about vice presidential debates. i asked a question of dan quayle that elicited the response from senator benson, i knew john kennedy, he was a friend of mine. the seek convention bwas starte by brett hugh. he went on to become the vice president. and benson went back to texas as a senator. so we ought noto get too caught up in how this will alter the outcome of something. >> chuck todd, back at the venue. there was no "you're no jack kennedy" moment tonight. we did hear jack kennedy, we heard a couple of tip o'neills,
big night to be an irish catholic because those separately discussed. >> and don't would get mularkey and stuff. they said that was irish for mularkey. i'm not an irishman, brian, you are, but i didn't know that's what stuff stood for. but i'll leave it at that. i think if you were the debate coaches at a university, probably here at centre college, you'd have to say on points biden did win this debate because he kept ryan on the defensive. he controlled the agenda. he did his best to sort of fire a lot of bullets. i think the stylistic issues of biden, did he come across too hot, was there odd laughter smirking and erupting, and i think you're seeing that's why the republicans are pushing this because on substance they were on the defensive tonight, but you've got to give ryan credit, they had their own plan which was to play it safe. he did play it safe. don't take too much of the bait. they knew they were going to get fired at a lot by biden. and so -- and i think that's why you're seeing this sort of, well, it's kind of a draw.
but you have to sit there and say on substance, on the debate stage there, biden did sort of control the agenda and control what he wanted to get out there. >> we have a bit of news, and that is since we've been talking the president has landed at andrews air force base and went over to a camera and said he couldn't be prouder. you say they get live television on his aircraft. couldn't be prouder of joe biden and that he had placed a call, a postgame telephone call to the vice president. andrea mitchell, if you're a national television audience watching as we all were, it is bracing to hear the congressional speak that you are very used to being a washington veteran, just about every time he referred to paul ryan, as they do on the floor of the house and senate, he said my friend, joe biden did. >> well, and the smiles and trying to project this kind of friendship and comedy. that comedy meaning the relationship, the polite relationship among people o
capitol hill. i think that that was a deliberate aspect of what joe biden's strategy was tonight and also paul ryan was trying to show respect to the sitting vice president. so you had a respectful debate, even though it was a very forceful debate. and i think that it was really a burden on paul ryan tonight, that he had to take on the whole ryan budget, the history of the ryan budget. he knew that joe biden was going to be very aggressive about it. people are scoring it a lot of different ways. i'd like to take another look at it later tonight, but i think that joe biden certainly came with a game, with a narrative, exactly what the president did not have last week. >> and, david, andrea correctly puts the burden -- mentions the burden on ryan, but the burden on biden as we've been saying, to make up for some admittedly lost ground last week. >> yeah, and i think that's why early on you saw the advantage. again, it could be interpreted as being rude or condescending, but he was swarming all over ryan. notice what he did tonight. he would not let anything pass
to go up challenged. he made a deliberate effort to say i'm going to correct you here. here are the facts. he kept doing it over and over again. as a debating matter, it sort of stopped ryan's flow. again, a lot of the president's backers wanted to see that kind of assertiveness. i still think the president will probably take it a step back when he gets to it. >> the visual of joe biden already a subtheme on the web tonight. it will continue into tomorrow as "the new york times" asks the question did it project confidence or conned sengs. for all the members of our team, our thanks. more of course in the morning on "today" with our friend savannah. your late local news coming up. >> you are watching wbal-tv 11. this is 11 news tonight at 11:00 p.m. p.m.