What Joe Biden accomplished in his debate with Paul Ryan

On foreign policy, Vice President Biden made clear that House Republicans including Paul Ryan are responsible for cutting $300 million for embassy and diplomatic security to pay for more tax cuts, even as they try to score political points off the murder by terrorists of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and other Americans.

Biden made clear that despite constant Republican criticism of U.S. policy towards Iran, Romney and Ryan don’t specify anything different, and that international sanctions are in fact hurting Iran. Romney and Ryan have only been willing to hint at another open-ended U.S. war in another Islamic country in the Middle East, but so far have not yet openly advocated such a war.

On the economy, Biden contrasted the Obama administration’s success in saving the auto industry and millions of American jobs when Romney advocated letting the auto industry go bankrupt.

Biden contrasted the administration’s concern for American workers with Mitt Romney’s stated contempt for the 47% of Americans, including retirees, the military, students, and the unemployed and underemployed, who don’t pay federal income taxes. Romney called them unwilling to assume responsibility for their own lives. Ryan called them “takers”. And Biden rejected Ryan’s suggestion that Romney misspoke by inviting everyone to listen to the tape of Romney’s carefully chosen and scripted words.

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Biden exposed Paul Ryan’s hypocrisy in personally requesting stimulus funds to create jobs in Wisconsin, even as he criticized the stimulus for not creating jobs.

On Social Security and Medicare, Biden asked who should Americans trust to defend those programs, the Democrats who created and defended those programs at every step over Republican opposition, or the Republicans who have never supported those programs and the guarantees they represent.

On the health insurance reform now known as Obamacare, Biden made clear that the Romney-Ryan alternative is for the uninsured to seek health care at hospital emergency rooms, which happens to be the most inefficient and expensive way to try to deliver health care.

On taxes, Biden exposed the absurdity of Romney’s 20% across the board tax cuts, which give the biggest cuts to the rich, to be made deficit neutral by closing of unspecified loopholes and deductions. Which ones? Whose?

Not the capital gains loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay 13% taxes on $20 million in reported income. Romney and Ryan defend that loophole and advocate reducing the capital gains rate as well as the federal estate tax rate, paid only by the very richest decedents, to zero.

On defense, Biden made clear that Ryan and congressional Republicans insisted on the impending sequestration budget cuts they now bemoan, as a condition to raising the debt ceiling, and that Romney and Ryan would have kept American troops in Iraq, and would keep American troops in Afghanistan without the 2014 deadline set by President Obama.

On abortion, Biden made clear that he and the administration are not going to impose their personal religious views on a diverse American society with many differing religious and philosophical beliefs. Conversely, Paul Ryan made clear that he and Mitt Romney, if elected, will try their best to do just that.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President!

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