Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hitting the campaign
trail in Virginia and Ohio on Friday after Thursday's debate between
Vice President Joe Biden and Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan.
Romney campaigns in Richmond, Virginia, and later will be joined by Ryan
for a rally in Lancaster, Ohio. President Obama is staying in
Initial polls on who won the debate are mixed. A CNN/ORC poll found that
48 percent of respondents who watched thought Ryan won, while 44 percent
named Biden as the winner.
However, a CBS poll says 50 percent of uncommitted voters thought Biden
won. According to that poll, 31 percent gave the victory to Ryan and 19
percent thought the debate was a tie.
Biden and Ryan disagreed early and often on foreign and economic policy
during their feisty, interruption-filled debate in the state of
From the outset of the 90-minute nationally televised debate, both
candidates engaged in animated back-and-forth exchanges.
Looking to regain momentum following Obama's poor debate performance
last week, Biden launched an aggressive defense of White House policies.
He called on Representative Ryan and other Republican lawmakers to "get
out of the way" and let the Obama administration fix the slow economy.
"They talk about this great recession that fell out of the sky, like,
'Oh my goodness, where did it come from?' It came from this man [Ryan]
voting to put two wars on a credit card," said Biden.
But Ryan countered that after nearly four years, President Obama and
Congressional Democrats bear full responsibility for an economy that he
said has left 15 percent of the country living in poverty.
The candidates also opposed each other's foreign policy views, with
Biden declaring that U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan in 2014 and Ryan
saying that such an announcement amounts to weakness.
"We don't want to broadcast to our enemies, 'Put a date on your
calendar. Wait us out and then come back," said Ryan.
On Syria, Biden praised the Obama administration's careful work with
America's allies in pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step
"We are doing it exactly like we need to do to identify those forces
who, in fact, will provide for a stable government and not cause a
regional Sunni-Shia [Shi'ite] war when Bashar Assad falls," he said.
Ryan accused the Obama administration of inaction on Syria, saying it
has allowed tens of thousands to die in the conflict despite mounting
international pressure to act.
On Libya, Ryan criticized the White House for not providing enough
security in Benghazi, where an attack last month killed the U.S.
ambassador. He said the administration was too slow in recognizing that
it was a terrorist attack.
"Our ambassador in Paris has a marine detachment guarding him," said
Ryan. "Shouldn't we have a marine detachment guarding our ambassador in
Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with
Biden called the attack against the U.S. ambassador "a tragedy,"
promising that whatever "mistakes" were made "will not be made again."
Regarding Iran, Ryan said the Islamic Republic has become "brazen"
because the Obama administration has "no credibility" on the issue of
Iran's nuclear program. Biden countered that the U.S. has placed "the
most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions" on Iran.
The candidates also clashed over healthcare. Biden accused Ryan of being
out of touch with working Americans for supporting plans to slash
government spending and to turn the popular Medicare program for seniors
into what the vice president called a "voucher" system.
Ryan shot back, saying Obama's health care plan had diverted $716
billion from Medicare and created a board that could deny coverage to
patients who need it.
Romney and Obama get two more chances to debate each other before the
November 6 election.