Ryan Wins on Libya But Biden Fights Hard on the Economy

I’m live blogging the vice presidential debate. Here goes:

9:00PM: The first question is about Libya and it goes to Vice-President Biden. He says the

“The last thing we need is another war.”

Ryan: Benghazi is “indicative of a broader problem. What we’re witnessing is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.” He says it’s a sign of American weakness.

We should have stood up for our values—we should always stand up for peace, democracy, and human rights.

Biden: “With all due respect, that’s a lot of malarkey.”

“This talk about weakness I don’t understand what he’s talking about.”

“This is a guy who brought the rest of the world around to the most—“ here he hesitates a lot, very embarrassing.

Answering Martha Raddatz’s questions, Biden said we said what the intelligence community told us. Attacks Mitt Romney for holding news conference at the very beginning.

Ryan: “When it comes to our values, we should not apologize,” he said again.

Martha Raddatz quotes former Defense Secretary Bob Gates as saying a military strike against Iran would be ineffective and “catastrophic.”

Ryan says only strong bipartisan support enabled them to overrule the administration and institute tough sanctions. He says Iran is moving faster to a nuclear weapon “because this administration has no credibility on this issue.” In a Romney administration, we would have credibility.

Biden: “These are the most crippling sanctions in history. Period. Period…Do you want to go to war?”

Ryan: “We want to prevent war.”

Biden: Then what would you do?

Israel and US military intelligence on the same page right now. Both Israelis and US will know when they have a weapon.

“We will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon, period.”

Ryan: “They’re moving faster toward a nuclear weapon, they’re spinning the centrifuges faster.”

The ayatollahs “are not changing their minds.”

Biden: “The ayatollah sees their economy crippled…and he sees the whole world against them.”

“We will not allow the Iranians get a nuclear weapon…They don’t have a weapon to put it into….Iran is totally isolated.”

Ryan: “They’re four years closer to a nuclear weapon.”

Biden: “Facts matter…If we have to take action, we’ll have the whole world behind us.”

I think Ryan won the point on Libya, which is getting worse for the administration.

Scenes from the vice-presidential debate on CSpan.

Now it’s on to Iran.

Ryan: “I think a nuclear armed Iran will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East…”

Biden: “War should be a last resort…These sanctions are crippling.”

Biden wins the point on Iran—he came across as strong but judicious and painted Romney and Ryan as warmongers in front of a very war-weary American public.

Raddatz pivots to the economy, and Biden launches into an attack on the Romney-Ryan ticket over Romney’s 47% remarks, Ryan’s similar remarks, the auto bailout and the taxes on the super wealthy.

Ryan: Did they inherit a tough situation? Absolutely. But we’re going in the wrong direction….This is not what a real recovery looks like. We need a real recovery. Then he rolls out Romney’s five-point plan.

Tells a story about Mitt Romney’s kindness to people, says he cares about 100% of the people.

Biden said Romney cares about people but his policies don’t help them.

Ryan attacks the stimulus, said there were investigations of cronyism.

Biden is particularly tough here—says Ryan asked for stimulus help on two occasions. Ryan is clearly on the defensive here.

Biden makes a very spirited defense of the efficiency of the stimulus in a way the president hasn’t done. Points to him here.

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