‘A Bunch of Malarkey’
The sparks flew early, as moderator and ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz questioned the candidates about last month’s deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. After expressing his shock that Ambassador Christopher Stevens reportedly lacked sufficient security detail, Paul Ryan claimed that Mitt Romney and President Obama had the same reaction to the events on the first day of the attacks. “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey,” the vice president shot back, pointing out that Ryan’s proposed budget cuts embassy security by $300 million. “I don’t understand what my friend is talking about.”
Raddatz Lays Down the Law
We're not in Lehrer country anymore! The debate heated up as Raddatz and the candidates knocked heads over Iran’s nuclear intentions. “Let’s all calm down a little bit here,” Biden said as they discussed the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon. “You’re acting a little bit like they don’t want one,” Raddatz shot back. But Biden wasn’t deterred—he continued on, rejecting the claim that all Iran needs to do is enrich uranium to develop a weapon. “There is no weapon that the Iranians have, at this point,” he said. “They have nothing to put [a nuclear device] in.”
Biden: 'I Always Say What I Mean'!
Finally, the "47 percent" rears its head! “I think the vice president very well knows, sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the way that you mean,” Ryan joked about Romney’s now-infamous remarks (and his rival's knack for gaffes). “I always say what I mean!” Biden shot back.
Ryan Comes Out Swinging on Taxes
Ryan defended his tax plan and took a jab at Obama’s budget in one swoop: “There aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all [the Obama administration's] spending," he said. "That’s why we’re saying we need fundamental tax reform.” Zing! He also rebuffed the Obama administration’s plan to tax Americans who earn above a certain threshold as a solution to the economic crisis: "If you taxed every person and small business making over $250,000 at 100 percent, it'd only run the government for 98 days." And yet, Ryan still failed to quantify how exactly he would cut spending by $5 trillion.
Ryan: No Jack Kennedy?
As their economic debate rages on, the candidates couldn’t quite agree over whether cutting tax rates and eliminating deductions had ever been done before. After a few “yes it has” and “not it hasn’t” jabs, Ryan declared: “It is mathematically possible. Jack Kennedy lowered taxes and raised revenues.” Biden snapped back, rolling his eyes: “Oh now you’re Jack Kennedy? This is amazing.”
A Tale of Two Catholics
Both candidates may have been raised Irish Catholic, but their views toward a woman’s right to choose couldn’t be more different. When asked about the matter, Ryan recalled seeing his first child in the womb, and slammed Obama for infringing on the religious belief that life begins at conception (Fun fact: he nicknamed his daughter "Bean" after seeing her sonogram.) He also clarified Romney’s ever-shifting position: “The policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exception of rape, incest, and life of the mother.” Biden, meanwhile, agreed with Ryan that life begins at conception, but stressed that this belief won’t affect his policies. “I refuse to impose that on equally devout Christians, Muslims, and Jews,” he said. “I do not believe we have a right to tell women how to control their body… I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.”