June 20, 2013
Biden, Ryan clash sharply on foreign policy, economy in debate
Vice President Joe Biden and rival Republican Paul Ryan clashed sharply over foreign policy in a high-stakes debate on Thursday, with Biden aggressively defending the Obama administration's policies and dismissing Ryan's criticism as "malarkey."
Biden took the offensive early, providing the emotion and passion that President Barack Obama was criticized for lacking in last week's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Ryan accused the Obama administration of projecting an image of American weakness to the world.
"With all due respect, that is a bunch of malarkey," Biden retorted, attacking Romney as "not presidential" for holding a news conference on Libya just after a US diplomatic compound was attacked and the ambassador killed.
Democrats were counting on an aggressive performance from Biden to reclaim the momentum in the race for the White House after Obama's poor showing led to Romney taking the lead in polls with less than four weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
Ryan said the Obama administration had given confusing information about the killing last month of the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
"It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack," the Wisconsin congressman said.
Biden vowed the administration would find the perpetrators of the attack and rectify mistakes in security at the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
The two candidates sat across from each other at a table but the proximity did not lessen the conflict, as both candidates aggressively went after each other.