Vice President Joe Biden and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan faced-off in their first and only debate Thursday night, with foreign policy, the economy and Medicare reform the biggest issues of the night. Our Grace Rauh has the story.
DANVILLE, Ky. -- It was the vice presidential candidates' turn to face off on the issues in a debate in Danville, Kentucky. It was Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan's only debate before the November 6th election.
Foreign affairs was the first topic of the night to be addressed, focusing on the attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Ryan said, "It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. He went to the UN and in his speech at the UN, he said six times to talk about the YouTube video. Look, if we're hit by terrorists, we're going to call it for what it is. "
Biden fired back saying that Governor Romney was out making a political statement before he even knew that our Ambassador was killed. Biden touted what the President has accomplished.
"I don't understand what my friend is saying here. This is a President that has gone out and done everything he said he was going to do. He's the guy who repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us now," said Biden.
Biden says he and the President will find and bring justice to those who are responsible for the attack.
Ryan says the U.S. didn't do enough to make sure staff abroad was kept safe.
The poor economy also took over a major portion of discussion.
Biden touted the White House's plans to invest in education to spur the economy and slammed the GOP's push to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. He says the sluggish economy started with past administrations-before President Obama took office.
"They talk about this recession like it fell out of the sky. Like oh, my goodness, where did it come from?” Biden said. “It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to put a prescription card benefit on a credit card. A trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy."
Congressman Ryan cited the 10 percent unemployment in Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania as proof the economy isn't rebounding. The unemployment rate there was at 8.5 percent when Biden and the president took office.
"Did they come in and inherit a tough situation? Absolutely. But we're going in the wrong direction,” Ryan said. “Look at where we are. The economy is barely limping along.
We're growing at 1.3 percent. That's slower than last year and slower the year before."
Ryan says he would take a different path that gets government out of the way for American businesses by removing laws and regulations on business owners.
Biden, meanwhile, says Ryan has stood in the way of making middle class tax cuts permanent.
The two candidates also discussed Medicare.
Ryan says Romney's plan would introduce undetermined subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance or join a government plan modeled on traditional Medicare. Biden, on the other hand, says Obama's health care law cuts Medicare spending for hospitals and other providers and those cuts are being used to provide health insurance to more working age Americans.
"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, more coverage for middle income people and total out of pocket coverage for the poor and the sick," Ryan said.
"We saved $716 billion and put it back and 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 and we extended the life of Medicare to 2024," Biden said.
Biden also says the president would never sign onto the sort of voucher program proposed by Ryan and Romney.
Ryan responded by saying the Republican plan would give seniors more choice in their medical care.