Importance of Vice-Presidential Debate:
It was also anticipated because it pitted two very strong debaters, Vice-President Joe Biden and and the Republican VP nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan. The moderator was Chief Foreign Correspondent Martha Raddatz of ABC News, who asked nine major questions on both foreign and domestic topics. Here's a summary of how the candidates answered the questions during the debate, and factchecks where available.
1. Was the Handling of the Attack in Libya a Foreign Policy Mistake?:
Ryan: We should have a Marine detachment guarding Ambassadors in areas with known al-Qaeda operatives. We are now projecting weakness abroad, especially with defense spending cuts. Biden: Obama has repaired alliances, and has spent more on defense than any other President.
Raddatz: Should the U.S Apologize for Burning Korans? Ryan: Yes, but we shouldn't apologize for our values.
Raddatz: How Effective Would a Military Strike Against Iran Be? Ryan: We tried to enforce sanctions, but Obama tried to stop us. This makes us look weak in the eyes of the Ayahtollah. Biden: These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions. We could deal a serious blow militarily to Iran. However, they are still a good way away from making a nuclear bomb. They have the material, but no weapons-grade container to put it in. Obama has said we will not let them get a nuclear weapon period. Facts matter: they don't have a nuclear weapon.
2. Can You Get Unemployment Under 6%, and How Long Will It Take?:
Ryan: We are heading in the wrong direction. We need real reforms for a real recovery. Outlined Romney's five point plan: Energy independence, more free trade, training, create a balanced budget, and don't increase taxes on small businesses. Get the economy growing at 4%, and create 12 million jobs in four years. Ryan attacked the Obama economic stimulus program, but asked for stimulus money for his area.
3. Will You Change Benefits for Social Security and Medicare?:
Biden: Cut $716 billion from payments to providers under Medicare Advantage, keeping Medicare solvent till 2033. Biden kept interrupting Ryan to counter various points he made. The Romney/Ryan voucher won't keep pace with health care costs. It will cost the average senior $6,400 more. We won't be part of any plan to privatize Medicare or Social Security.
4. Who Will Pay More in Taxes and Who Will Pay Less?:
Ryan: Revoking Bush tax cuts will raise top level above 40%, and tax 53% of small business income. It will place higher taxes on 1 million small businesses. Even with tax increase, it won't pay for all deficit spending. We need fundamental tax reform. Lower tax rates 20% across the board, and close $5 trillion in loopholes for upper income, without affecting the mortgage deduction for middle income families. Six studies have confirmed the numbers will work.
5. How Can We Raise Defense Spending Without Increasing the Deficit?:
Biden: The Joint Chiefs of Staff asked for a smaller, leaner force.
Raddatz: Why Can't We Leave Afghanistan Now? Ryan: We agree that we should leave in 2014. We have to make sure we have what we need to keep the Taliban out. We don't want to advertise to our enemies that they can just wait us out. We took troops out during the fighting season, leaving our remaining troops vulnerable.
Biden: We went to Afghanistan to get al-Qaeda. We did that. We will help train Afghanistan's military, and then get out by 2014. This will save over $800 billion over the next 10 years. The only way Kabul will step up is if we set a deadline. When we pulled out, we trained Afghan troops to replace us.
6. Why Don't We Do More to Support Syria?:
Ryan: Nobody is proposing boots on the ground. We wouldn't go through the UN, allowing Putin to veto our plans. We should have moved in sooner directly with our allies. Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. We will lose our credibility. Raddatz: What Is Your Criteria for Intervention? Ryan: The strategic national interest of our country. Not humanitarian.
7. What Your Has Your Catholic Religion Played in Your Views on Abortion?:
Biden: My religion defines who I am. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. I accept that life begins at conception, but I don't think the government has the right to impose that on others. We don't have the right to tell women they don't have control of their body. No religious entity has to be a source for abortion or contraception in any healthcare program we've developed.
8. What Would Say to a Veteran About the Negative Tone of This Campaign?:
9. What Would You Bring to the Job of President?: