Menu
Home

Politics

Biden and Ryan spar in post-debate messaging

Arlington, Va. - It was Joe Biden and Paul Ryan's turn to jump into the sparring ring after the second presidential debate, albeit via separate interviews on network morning shows and not on the same stage.

In post-debate messaging, the vice president accused Mitt Romney of being "sketchy" about his tax proposals, while Ryan accused the president of offering no agenda specifics on what he hopes to accomplish in his second term.

President Obama "clearly changed his tactic," Ryan said on NBC's "Today Show." "They said that he would change his tactic but his answers didn't change. He didn't offer new idea about how the next four years would be any different than the last four years."

Both vice presidential candidates rounded three network shows: ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today Show," and CBS' "This Morning."

Much of each show was devoted to looking at the debate moment when Romney challenged the president's version of how his administration responded to the attack in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans.

"Nobody believed at that Rose Garden speech that the president was suggesting that that particular attack was an act of terror," Ryan told ABC, referring to Obama's assertion in the debate that he had immediately branded the assault a terrorist attack.

"If that was the case, then why would the administration send their U.N. ambassador to the Sunday shows (five) days later to suggest that it was the result of a mob and a YouTube video reaction?" Ryan continued. "Why would he still go on national TV two other times in the next two weeks to not claim that it was not an act of a terrorist attack? That story just doesn't hold up."

Ryan told CBS that he "totally disagrees" with the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which deemed the Libya exchange Romney's weakest moment in Tuesday's debate. He pointed out that debate moderator Candy Crowley -- who interjected herself into the back-and-forth between the candidates to affirm that the president had used the words "act of terror" in the Rose Garden -- has since "backtracked" to say the words hadn't been used in the context the president was suggesting.

Both tickets are courting women voters, and Mitt Romney's comments that as Massachusetts governor he sought out "binders full of women" when all the applicants for his Cabinet "seemed to be men," drew a jab from the vice president.

"I've never had any problem when there's a job opening having as many women apply as men," Biden said on CBS.

Said Ryan: "All (Romney) simply meant was that he went out of his way to try to recruit qualified women to serve in his administration when he was governor." CBS News' Anthony Mason asked Ryan to circle back to the question that prompted Romney's comment, which was about ensuring equal pay for women, and called on the congressman to defend his vote against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

"Equal pay was already established in previous administration," Ryan said. "We agree with equal pay. What Lilly Ledbetter did was it opened the statute of limitations for lawsuits that could have occurred decades after alleged abuses occurred even after people have already not worked at a place anymore. The point is, Lilly Ledbetter was not an equal pay law. It was about opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations. It wasn't an equal pay law. And of course we support equal pay."

The running mates also had the opportunity to revisit the vice presidential debate. Asked to explain his laughing, which was most notably panned on Saturday Night Live, Biden said he "laughed my head off watching the guy playing me."

"I wasn't laughing at Paul Ryan," Biden said. "I was laughing at the assertions being made by Paul Ryan."

Biden also argued the House Budget Committee chairman has "run away" from his budget and Medicare reform proposals.

Ryan passed up the opportunity to weigh in on whether he thought the vice president was "respectful" to him during the debate, and instead said he wasn't "focused on how Joe was conducting himself."

"I was focused on myself and giving the country a very clear choice," Ryan said.

Biden stood by his statement during the Danville debate that neither he nor Obama were told about a request, filed with the State Department, for more security in Benghazi.

Asked if he wished he'd been told, Biden said, "I'm not gonna speculate on that ... but what I said was absolutely accurate. Neither the president or I were told of the additional security request."

Biden is embarking on a tour of Western swing states Wednesday, with campaign stops in Greeley, Co., and Reno, Nevada.

Ryan will be campaigning with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Baldwin Wallace University, in Ohio.