Paul Ryan opened the vice presidential debate Thursday with tough criticism of the Obama administration over its handling of the Libya terror attack, suggesting it was “projecting weakness” with its response.
“What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy,” Ryan said on the debate stage in Kentucky.
Biden was quick to retort: “With all due respect, that’s just a bunch of malarkey,” he said. “This talk about this weakness, I don’t understand what my friend’s talking about.”
After President Obama’s lackluster debate last week, the pressure was on Biden to recapture the momentum – while equally on Ryan to prevent the Obama ticket from blunting Romney’s surge.
With the moderator, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, opening the debate with a question about the Libya strike, which happened a month ago Thursday, Ryan criticized the administration for waiting more than a week after the strike to call it a coordinated terror attack.
“This is becoming more troubling by the day. They first blamed the YouTube video. Now they’re trying to blame the Romney/Ryan ticket for making this an issue,” he said. Ryan was referring to a claim by an Obama aide earlier Thursday that the only reason the attack had entered the political debate was because of Romney’s criticism – a claim Romney rejected.
Biden also criticized Romney for making a “political statement” – in reference to criticism of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s early response to protests there – on the night of the attack.
The face-off Thursday night was taking on outsized importance for a vice presidential debate.
In a matter of days, Romney has picked up steam in both battleground and national polls. The latest Fox News national poll of likely voters showed Romney edging Obama, 46 percent to 45 percent.
Obama has acknowledged he had a “bad night,” but the campaign indicates it will be more aggressive going forward.
There are two final presidential debates, on Oct. 16 and Oct. 22. The next one will be a town hall format focusing on a range of issues, and the last one will focus exclusively on foreign policy.
Source: Fox News