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tv   Vice Presidential Debate  MSNBC  October 12, 2012 1:00am-2:30am EDT

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[ slap! ] [ sla slap! slap! slap! ] ow! [ male announcer ] when your favorite foods fight you, fight back fast with tums smoothies. so fast and smooth, you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums [ male announcer ] tums smoothies. i'm rachel maddow. here on our msnbc headquarters in new york. i'm joined by ed schultz, reverend al sharpton, chris >> chris, what should paul ryan
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do, if you were advising paul ryan on having his best night tonight, what would his best night look like? >> he has to make a decision i can't make for him, does he want to win the vice presidency this >> well, i think it's -- in both these cases i think you probably convinced you're that those two interests align perfectly and we went back on my show on "up with chris hayes" and found an argument that paul ryan was making for keynesian fiscal stimulus in the bush years that showed this guy can be an absolute loyal soldier. every argument he was making for a bush fiscal stimulus, countercyclical spending, borrow money now and spend it to save the economy was out of the playbook of how we were arguing for the recovery act on the democratic and progressive side in 2009, even though it was completely ideologically antithetical to where he is and
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that showed to me the guy is a loyal soldier. he's going to be a loyal soldier and going to be carrying the torch for romney 2.0 tonight. it's going to be a fascinating thing to behold. >> my prediction is he will not let down the conservatives tonight. he has a future. >> he won't be the first loyal soldier we have stretched and brought off the field. >> i have to say, we're about 60 seconds away right now from when we know that the debate is about to start. steve schmidt heading into this, one of the reasons this is going to be a very highly watched debate is because of joe biden's reputation for being an unscripted fun to watch guy. is that something when you're prepping one of these guys you want to rein in or let him let loose with? >> no doubt. go in there with a strategy, want the candidate to be focused on executing that strategy. definitely don't want to walk out there and have improv at the debate. >> we've had the ryan campaign said they did not consult sarah palin but they did consult dan quayle. in terms of prepping for this debate. at least dan quayle says that he was consulted in preparing for this debate tonight.
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the debate is about now to begin. again, one of the interesting things about tonight is the moderator is an unconventional choice. the moderator is martha raddatz, a very, very well respected, well traveled, hard nosed serious reporter. she's the senior foreign affairs correspondent at abc. because of that, and because of the wide open format of tonight's structure of the debate, we do expect that there will be questions tonight on foreign policy which we have not yet seen in debate season. for everything that happened last week, between president obama and mitt romney, foreign affairs was not on the menu. it will be tonight. we do not know the order in which things are going to be addressed. but it all starts right now. >> good evening. and welcome to the first and only vice presidential debate of 2012. sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. i'm martha raddatz, of abc news, and i am honored to moderate this debate between two men who
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have dedicated much of their lives to public service. tonight's debate is divided between domestic and foreign policy issues. and i'm going to move back and forth between foreign and domestic since that is what a vice president or president would have to do. we will have nine different segments. at the beginning of each segment, i will ask both candidates a question and they will each have two minutes to answer. then i will encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions. by coin toss, it has been determined that vice president biden will be first to answer the opening question. we have a wonderful audience here at centre college tonight. you will no doubt hear their enthusiasm at the end of the debate and right now as we welcome vice president joe biden and congressman paul ryan.
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very nice to see you. >> how are you doing? >> okay. you got your little wave to the families in. that's great. good evening, gentlemen. it really is an honor to be here with both of you. i would like to begin with libya. on a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, ambassador chris stevens and three other brave americans were killed in a terrorist attack in benghazi. the state department has now made clear there were no protesters there. it was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, vice president biden? >> it was. it was a tragedy, martha. it -- chris stevens was one of our best. we lost three other brave americans. i can make absolutely two commitment to you and all the american people tonight. one, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this.
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and secondly, we will get to the bottom of it and whatever, wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the american public, because whatever mistakes are made will not be made again. when you're looking at a president, martha, it seems to me that you should take a look at his most important responsibility. that's caring for the national security of the country. the best way to do that is take a look at how he's handled the issues of the day. on iraq, the president said he would end the war. governor romney said that was a tragic mistake. we should have left 30 -- he ended it. governor romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there. with regard to afghanistan, he said he will end the war in 2014. governor romney said we should not set a date. number one. and number two, with regard to 2014, it depends. when it came to osama bin laden, the president the first day in office, i was sitting with him in the oval office, he called in the cia and signed an order
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saying my highest priority is to get bin laden. prior to the election, prior to him being sworn in, governor romney was asked a question about how he would proceed. he said, i wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin laden. he didn't understand it was more than taking a murderer off the battlefield. it was about restoring america's heart and letting terrorists around the world know if you do harm to america, we will track you to the gates of hell if need be. and lastly, the president of the united states has led with a steady hand and clear vision. governor romney, the opposite. the last thing we need now is another war. >> congressman ryan? >> we mourn the loss of these four americans who were murdered. when you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the u.n. ambassador out to say this was because of a protest and a youtube video. it took the president two weeks to acknowledge this was a terrorist attack.
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he went to the u.n. and in his speech at the u.n. he said six times he talked about the youtube video. look, if we're hit by terrorists we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. our ambassador in paris has a marine detachment guarding him. shouldn't we have a marine detachment guarding our ambassador in benghazi, a place where we knew there was an al qaeda cell with arms? 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. with respect to iraq, we had the same position before the withdrawal which was we agreed with the obama administration. let's have a status of forces agreement to make sure we secure out gains. the vice president was put in charge of those negotiations by president obama and they failed to get the agreement. we don't have a status of forces agreement because they failed to get one.
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that's what we are talking about. when it comes to our veterans we owe them a great debt of gratitude for what they've done for us including your son, beau. we also want to make sure we don't lose the things we fought so hard to get. with respect to afghanistan, the 2014 deadline, we agree with the 2014 transition. but what we also want it do is make sure that we're not projecting weakness abroad. that's what's happening here. this benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem. and that is what we are watching on our tv screens is the unraveling of the obama foreign policy. which is making the world more chaotic and us less safe. >> i just want to talk to you about right in the middle of the crisis, governor romney, and you're talking about this again tonight, talked about the weakness, talked about apologies from the obama administration. was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis? >> on that same day, the obama
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administration had the exact same position. let's recall that they disavowed their own statement that they had put out earlier in the day in cairo. so we had the same position. it's never too early to speak out for our values. we should have spoken out right away when the green revolution was up and starting when the mullahs in iran were attacking their people. we should have not called assad a reformer when he was turning his provided guns on his own people. we should always stand up for peace, for democracy, for individual rights. and we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we're cutting our own defense, it makes us more weak. it projects weakness. when we look weak our adversaries are much more willing to test us, they're more brazen in attacks and our allies are more willing -- >> with all due respect that's a bunch of malarky. >> why is that so? >> not a single thing he said is accurate. >> be specific. >> i will be very specific. number one, this lecture on
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embassy security, the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for. number one. so much for the embassy security piece. number two, governor romney, before he knew the facts, before he even knew that our ambassador was killed, he was out making a political statement which was panned by the media around the world. and this talk about this weakness. i don't understand what my friend's talking about here. we -- this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. this is a guy who's repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. this is a guy who brought the entire world, including russia and china, to bring about the most devastating, most devastating, the most devastating efforts on iran to make sure that they, in fact, stop what they're -- look, i just -- i mean, these guys bet against america all the time.
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>> can we talk about -- let me go back to libya. what were you first told about the attack? why, why were people talking about protests? when people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns, there were no protesters. why did that go on for weeks? >> that's exactly what we were told by the intelligence community. the intelligence community told us that as they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment. that's why there's also an investigation headed by tom pickering, a leading diplomat from the reagan years who is doing an investigation as to whether or not there are any lapses, what the lapses were, so that they will never happen again. >> and they wanted more security there. >> well, we weren't told they wanted more security. we did not know they wanted more security again. and by the way, at the time, we were told exactly, we said
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exactly what the intelligence community told us. that they knew. that was the assessment. and as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view. that's why i said we were get to the bottom of this. you know, usually when there's a crisis we pull together. we pull together as a nation. but as i said, even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor was holding a press conference. holding a press conference. that's not presidential leadership. >> mr. ryan, i want to ask you about the romney campaign talks a lot about no apologies. he has a book called "no apologies." should the -- for americans burning korans in afghanistan, should the u.s. apologize for u.s. marines urinating on taliban corpses? >> oh, gosh, yes. urinating on taliban corpses. what we should not apologize for are standing up for our values. what we should not be doing is saying to the egyptian people while mubarak is cracking down on them that he's a good guy and the next week say he ought to go. what we should not be doing is
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rejecting claims for calls for more security in our barracks, in our marines. we need marines in benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security. there were requests for extra security. those requests were not honored. look, this was the anniversary of 9/11. it was libya. al qaeda cells there. al qaeda and its affiliates are on the rise in northern africa and we did not give our am bass door in benghazi a marine? when it comes to speaking up to our values we should not apologize for those. here's the problem. look at all the various issues out there and it's unraveling before our eyes. the vice president talks about sanctions on iran. they got -- >> let's move to iran. i'd actually like to move to iran. because there's really no bigger national security. this country is facing. both president obama and governor romney have said they
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will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. even if that means military action. last week, former defense secretary bob gates said a strike on iran's facilities would not work and, quote, could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations. can the two of you be absolutely clear and specific to the american people how effective would a military strike be? congressman ryan? >> nuclear gain, nuclear weapons capability. now, let's take a look at where we've come from. when barack obama was elected, they had enough material, nuclear material to make one bomb, now they have enough for five. they're racing toward a nuclear weapon. they're four years closer to a nuclear weapons capability. we've had four different sanctions, on iran, three from the bush administration, one here. and the only reason why we got it is because russia watered it down and prevented the sanctions. from hitting the central bank. mitt romney proposed these sanctions in 2007 and in
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congress i've been fighting for these sanctions since 2009. the administration was blocking us every step of the way only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough sanctions were we able to overrule their objections and put them in spite of the administration. imagine what would have happened if we had these sanctions in place earlier. you think iran's not brazen? look at what they're doing. they're stepping up their terrorist attacks. they tried a terrorist attack in the united states last year when they tried to blow up the saudi ambassador at a restaurant in washington, d.c. and talk about credibility. when this administration says all options are on the table, they send out senior administration officials that send all these mixed signals. and so in order to solve this peacefully, which is everybody's goal, you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. look at where they are. they're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. it's because this administration has no credibility on this issue. it's because this administration watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us from putting the tough sanctions in place.
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now we have them in place because of congress. they say the military options are on the table but it's not being viewed as credible and the key is to do this peacefully, to make sure we have credibility. under a romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue. >> vice president biden? >> incredible. look, imagine had we let republican congress work out the sanctions. you think there's any possibility the entire world would have joined us? russia and china? all of our allies? these are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions. period. period. when governor romney's asked about it, he said, we go to keep these sanctions. when you said, you're talking about doing more, are you going to go to war? is that what you want to do? >> we're going to prevent war. >> the interesting thing is how they're going to prevent war, how they're going to prevent war. they say there's nothing more that they say we should do than what we've already done. number one. number two, with regard to the ability of the united states to take action, militarily, it is
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not in my perview to talk about classified information. we feel quite confident we could deal a serious blow to the iranians. but number two, the iranians are the -- israelis and the united states are military intelligence communities are absolutely the same exact place. in terms of how close, how close the iranians are to getting a nuclear weapon. they are a good way away. there is no difference between our view and theirs. when my friend talks about material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20% up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in. there is no weapon that the iranians have at this point. both the israelis and we know, we'll know if they start the process of building a weapon. so all this bluster i keep hearing, all this loose talk,
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what are they talking about? are you talking about, to be more credible, what more can the president do, stand before the united nations, tell the whole world, directly communicate to the ayatollah, we will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon. period. unless he's talking about going to war. >> martha? let's just -- >> congressman ryan. >> let's look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. what do they see? they see this administration trying to water down sanctions in congress for over two years. they're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. they're spinning the centrifuges faster. they see us saying when we come into the sad station, when they're sworn in, we need more space with our ally, israel. they see president obama and new york city the same day netanyahu does and instead of meeting with him goes on a daily talk show. they see, when we say that these options are on the table, the trade offense walks them back. they are not changing their mind. that's what we have to do is change their mind so they stop pursuing nuclear weapons.
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>> how do you do it so quickly? look, you both saw benjamin netanyahu hold up that picture of the bomb with the red line and talking about the red line being in spring. so can you solve this, if the romney/ryan ticket is elected, can you solve this in two months before spring and avoid nuclear -- >> we can debate a timeline. we can debate the timeline, whether it's that short of time or longer. i agree that it's probably longer. number two, it's all about -- >> you don't agree with that -- >> we both -- >> i don't want to go into classified stuff. we agree to do this peacefully you have to get them to change their minds. they're not changing their minds. and look at what this administration does. >> let me tell you what the ayatollahs see. the ayatollahs sees an economy being crippled. the ayatollah sees that there are 50% fewer exports of oil. he sees the currency going into
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the tank, see the economy going into free fall and sees the world for the first time totally united in opposition to him getting a nuclear weapon. with regard to bibi, he's been my friend 39 years. the president has met with netanyahu many times. he's spoken to netanyahu more times. before he went to the u.n. i was in a conference call with the president for him talking to bibi well over an hour, stark relief and detail of what was going on. this is a bunch of stuff. look, here's the deal. >> what does that mean? a bunch of stuff? >> it means it's simply inaccurate. >> it's irish. >> it is. the irish call it malarky. >> thanks for the translation. >> the irish call it malarky. last thing. the secretary of defense has made it absolutely -- he didn't walk anything back. we will not allow the iranians to get a nuclear weapon. what bebe held up there was when we get to the point where they
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can enrich uranium enough to put into a weapon, they don't have a weapon to put it into. let's all calm down a little bit here. iran is more isolated today than when we took office. it was an the ascendency when we took office. it is totally isolated. i don't know what world these guys are in. >> thank heavens we have these sanctions in place. they've given 20 waivers of this sanction. and all i have to point to are the results. they're four years closer toward a nuclear weapon. >> i think that case speaks for itself. >> can you tell the american people what source -- another war in the middle east -- >> not closer to a nuclear weapon. they're closer to being able to get enough material to put in a weapon if they had a weapon. >> you're asking a little bit like they don't want one. >> no, i'm not saying that. facts matters, martha. you're a foreign policy expert. facts matter. all this loose talk about them, all they have to do is get to enrich uranium in a certain amount and have a weapon.
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not true. not true. they are more -- and if we ever have to take action, unlike when we took office, we will have the world behind us. and that matters. that matters. >> what about bob gates' statement? let me read that again. could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations. >> he is right. it could prove catastrophic if we didn't -- >> congressman ryan? >> what it does is undermines our credibility by backing up the point when we make it that all options are on the table. that's the point. the ayatollah see these kinds of statements and they think, i'm going to get a nuclear weapon. when we see the kind of equivocation that took place because this administration wanted a preconditioned policy so when the revolution started up they were silent for nine days. when they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in israel, that gives them encouragement.
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when they see russia watering down any further sanctions, the only reason we got a u.n. sanction is because russia watered it down and prevented these things from being sanctions in the first place. when they see this kind of activity, they are encouraged to continue. that's the problem. >> martha -- >> let me ask you what's worse. war in the middle east, another war in the middle east or a nuclear armed iran. >> i'll tell you what's worse. a nuclear armed iran which triggers a nuclear arms race in the middle east, this is the world's largest sponsor of terrorism. they've dedicated themselves to wiping an entire country off the map. they call us the great satan. if they get nuclear weapons other people in the neighborhood will pursue their weapons as well. we can't live with that. >> vice president biden? >> war should always be the absolute last resort. that's why these crippling sanctions when bibi netanyahu says we should continue, which if i'm not mistaken governor romney says we should continue. i may be mistaken. he changes his mind so often.
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i could be wrong. but the fact of the matter is he says they're working. and the fact is that they are being crippled by them. and we've made it clear, big nations can't bluff. this president doesn't bluff. >> gentlemen, i want to bring the conversation to a different kind of national security issue. the state of our economy. the number one issue here at home is jobs. the percentage of unemployed just fell below 8% for the first time in 43 months. the obama administration had projected that it would fall below 6% now after the addition of close to $1 trillion in stimulus money. so will both of you level with the american people? can you get unemployment to under 6% and how long will it take? >> i don't know how long it will take. we can and we will get it under 6%. let's take a look at the facts. let's look at where we were when we came to office. the economy was in free fall. we had a great recession hit.
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9 million people lost their job. $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes and retirement accounts for the middle class. we knew we had to act for the middle class. we immediately went out and rescued general motors. we went ahead and made sure we cut taxes for the middle class and in addition to that, when that occurred, what did romney do? romney said, no, let detroit go bankrupt. we moved in and helped people refinance their homes. governor romney said, no, let foreclosures hit the bottom. but it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47% of the american people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. my friend recently in a speech in washington said 30% of the american people are takers. these people are my mom and dad, the people i grew up with, my neighbors. they pay more effective tax than governor romney pays in his federal income tax. they are elderly people who, in fact, are living off social security. they are veterans and people
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fighting in afghanistan right now who are, quote, not paying any taxes. i've had it up to here with this notion that 47% of -- it's about time they take some responsibility here. and instead of signing pledges to grover norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we're going to level the playing field. we're going to give you a fair shot again. we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for wall street and main street. making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy. they're pushing a continuation of a tax cut that will give an additional $500 billion in tax cuts to 120,000 families. and they're holding hostage the middle class tax cut because they say we won't pass, we won't continue the middle class tax cut unless you give the tax cut for the super wealthy. it's about time they take some responsibility.
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>> mr. ryan? >> joe and i are from similar towns. he's from scranton, pennsylvania. i'm from janesville, wisconsin. you know what the unemployment rate in scranton is today? >> i sure do. >> it's 10%. >> yeah. >> you know what it was the day you guys came in? 8.5%. that's how it's going all around america. >> you don't read the statistics. that's now how it's going. it's going down. >> this is his two-minute answer. >> did they come in and inherit a tough situation in absolutely. but we're going in the wrong direction. look at where we are. the economy is barely limping along. it's growing at 1.3%. that's slower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before. job growth in september was slower than it was in august and august was slower than it was in july. we're heading in the wrong direction. 23 million americans are struggling for work today. 15% of americans are living in poverty today. this is not what a real recovery looks like.
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we need real reforms for real recovery and that's exactly what mitt romney and i are proposing. it's a five-point plan. get america energy independent in north america by the end of the decade. help people who are hurting get the skills they need to get the jobs they want. get this deficit and debt under control to prevent a debt crisis. make trade work for america to make more things in america and sell them overseas and champion small businesses. don't raise taxes on small businesses because they're our job creators. he talks about detroit. mitt romney's a car guy. they keep misquoting him. let me tell you about the mitt romney i know. this is a guy who i was talking to a family in north borough massachusetts the other day. sheryl and mark nixon. their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them, two of them, rob and reed, were paralyzed. the romneys didn't know them. they went to the same church. they never met before. mitt asked if he could come over on christmas. he brought his boys, his wife, and gifts. later on he said, i know you're struggling, mark, don't worry
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about their college, i'll pay for it. when mark told me this story -- because you know what, mitt romney doesn't tell these stories. the nixons told me this story. when he told me this story, he said it wasn't the help, the cash help, it's that he gave his time and he has consistently. this is a man who gave 30% of his income to charity. more than the two of us combined. mitt romney's a good man. he cares about 100% of americans in this country. and with respect to that quote, i think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way. >> i always say what i mean. and so does romney. >> we want everybody to succeed. we want to get people out of poverty, in the middle class, an to a life of self-sufficiency. we believe to opportunity and upward mobility. that's what we're going to push for in a romney administration. >> vice president, i have a feeling you have a few things to say here. >> the idea, if you heard that little soliloquy and 47%, you think he just made a mistake,
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then i think you're -- i have a bridge to sell you. look, i don't doubt his personal generosity and i understand what it's like. when i was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident. killed my daughter and my wife and my two sons survived. i have sat in the homes of many people have gone through what i get through, because the one thing you can give people solace is to know they know you've been through it that they can make it. so i don't doubt his personal commitment to individuals. but you know what, i know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. he just said, let it go bankrupt. period. let it drop out. all this talk, we saved a million jobs, 200,000 people are working today. and i've never met two guys who are more down on america across the board. we're told everything's going badly. 5.2 million new jobs, private
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sector jobs. we need more. 5.2 million. if they'd get out of the way, if they'd get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they'd get out of the way and pass the jobs bill, if they get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upsidedown but never missed a mortgage payment, just get out of the way. stop caring about how you care about people. show me something. show me a policy. show me a policy where you take responsibility, and by the way, they talk about this great recession. if it fell out of the sky, like oh my goodness, where did it come from? it came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, at the same time to put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card. $1 trillion tax cut for the very wealthy. i was there. i voted against him. i said, no, we can't afford that. now all of a sudden these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt they created.
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>> congressman ryan? >> let's not forget that they came in with one-party control. when barack obama was elected, his party controlled everything. they had the ability to do everything of their choosing and look at where we are right now. they passed the stimulus. the idea that we could borrow $831 billion, spend it on all these special interest groups and it would work out just fine, that unemployment would never get to 8%. it went up above 8% for 43 months. they said right now if we just pass this stimulus the economy would grow at 4%. it's growing at 1.3%. >> when could you get it below 6%? >> that's what our entire premise of our pro-growth plan for a stronger middle class is all about. getting the economy growing at 4%, creating 12 million jobs over the next 4 years. look at just the $90 billion in stimulus. the vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups.
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there are just at the department of energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been -- >> go ahead. >> martha, look. his colleague -- >> crony capitalism and corporate wealth. >> investigative committee spent months and months -- >> this is the inspector general. >> months and months. they found no evidence of cronyism. and i love my friend here. i'm not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of wisconsin? we sent millions of dollars. you know why he said -- >> you did ask for stimulus money, correct? >> sure he did. >> on two occasions we advocating for constituents who were applying for grants. that's what we do. we do that for all constituents applying for grants. >> i love that. i love that. this is such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying -- writes the department of energy a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. his words. and now he's sitting here looking at me and by the way, that program, again, investigated. what the congress said was it
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was a model. less than four-tenths of 1% waste or fraud in the program. and all this talk about cronyism. they investigated and investigated and did not find one single piece of evidence. i wish he would just tell -- be a little more candid. >> was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars, cars in finland, or windmills in china? was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like china and spend it on these various interest groups? >> let me tell you what was a good idea, moody's and others said this is exactly what we needed to stop this from going off the cliff, set the conditions to be able to grow again. we have, in fact, 4% of those green jobs didn't go under -- went under, didn't work. it's a better batting average than investment bankers have. they have about a 40%. >> where are the 5 million green jobs -- >> i want to move on to medicare and entitlements. i think we've gone over this quite enough.
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>> any letter you send me, i'll entertain. >> i appreciate that, joe. >> let's talk about medicare and entitlements. both medicare and social security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. will benefits for americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive? mr. ryan? >> absolutely. medicare and social security are going bankrupt. these are indisputable facts. look, when i look at these programs, we've all had tragedies in our lives. i think what they did for our own family. my mom and i had our grandmother move in with us who has alzheimer's. medicare was there. it was there for my mom who's a florida senior. my mom and dad got social security survivors benefits, helped her go back to college in her 50s where she started a small business, because of the new skills she got. she paid all of her taxes on the promise that these programs would be there for her. we will honor this promise. and the best way to do it is reform it for my generation. you see, if you reform these
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programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they don't change for people in or near retirement which is precisely what mitt romney and i are proposing. look what obama care does. obama care takes $716 billion from medicare to spend on obama care. even their own chief actuary at medicare backs this up. he says you can't spend the same dollar twice. you can't claim this money goes to medicare and obama care. and then they put this new obama care board in charge of cutting medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors. this board, by the way, it's 15 people, the president's supposed to appoint them next year. and not one of them even has to have medical training. and social security, if we don't shore up social security, when we run out of the ious, when the program goes bankrupt, a 25% across the board benefit cut kicks in on current seniors in the middle of their retirement. we're going to stop that from ppening. they haven't put a credible solution on the table.
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he'll tell you about vouchers. he'll say all these things to try and scare people. here's what we're saying. 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. choice in competition. we would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what, if, where, when they get it. >> vice president biden? >> i heard that death panel argument from sarah palin. it seems every vice presidential debate i hear this kind of stuff about panels. let's talk about medicare. what we did is we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to medicare. we cut the cost of medicare. we stopped overpaying insurance companies. when doctors and hospitals. the ama supported what we did. aarp endorsed what we did. and it expended the life of
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medicare to 2024. they want to wipe this all out. it also gave more benefits. any senior out there, ask yourself, do you have more benefits today? you do. if you're near the doughnut hole you have $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. you get wellness visits without co-pays. they wipe all of this out and medicare becomes insolvent in 2016. number one. number two, guaranteed benefit. it's a voucher. when they first proposed -- when the congressman had his first voucher program, the cbo said it would cost $6,400 a year, martha, more for every senior 55 and below when they got there. he knew that. yet he got all guys in congress and women in the republican party to vote for it. governor romney knowing that said, i would sign it. were i there. who do you believe? the ama?
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me? a guy who's fought his whole life for this? or somebody who would actually put in motion a plan that knowingly cuts -- added $6,400 a year more to the cost of medicare. now they have a new plan. trust me. it's not going to cost you any more. folks, follow your instincts on this one. and with regard to social security, we will not, we will not privatize it. if we had listened to romney, governor romney and the congressman during the bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market. their ideas are old and their ideas are bad and they eliminate the guarantee of medicare. >> here's the problem. they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar turning medicare into a piggy bank for obama care. their own actuary from the administration came to congress and said, one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this. >> it's not -- >> 7.4 million seniors are projected to lose the current medicare advantage coverage they
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have. that's a $3,200 benefit cut. >> that didn't happen. more people signed up. more people -- >> these are from your own actuaries. >> more people signed up for medicare advantage after the change. nobody -- >> mr. vice president, i know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost round, i think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other. >> don't take all the four minutes then. >> we're saying don't change benefits for people 55 and above. they already organized their retirement around these promises. >> let me ask you this. what is your specific plan for seniors who really can't afford to make up the difference in the value of what you call a premium support plan and others call a voucher? >> 100% coverage. that's what we're saying. so we're saying income adjust these premium support payments by taking down the subsidies for wealthy people. look, this is a plan, by the way, that $6,400 number was misleading then, totally inaccurate now.
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this is a plan that's bipartisan, a plan i put together with a prominent democrat senator from oregon. >> there's not one democrat who endorses it, not one democrat who signed the plan. >> our partner is a democrat from oregon. >> he said he does no longer support -- >> we put it together with the former clinton budget director. >> who disavows it. >> this idea came from the clinton commission to save medicare, chaired by senator john breaux. here's the point, martha. >> which was protected. >> if we don't fix this problem pretty soon, current seniors get cut. here's the problem. 10,000 people are retiring every single day in america today. and they will for 20 years. that's now a political thing. that's a math thing. >> martha, if we just did one thing, if they just allow medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like medicaid can, that would save $156 billion right off the bat. >> and it would deny seniors choices. >> all -- >> it has a restrictive -- >> seniors are not denied -- >> absolutely. >> they are not denied. look, folks, all you seniors out there, have you been denied choices?
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have you lost medicare advantage? >> because it's working well right now. >> vice president biden, let me ask you, if it could help solve the problem, why not very slowly raise the medicare eligibility age by two years as congressman ryan suggests? >> look, i was there when we did that with social security in 1983. i was one of eight people sitting in the room that included tip o'neill negotiating with president reagan. we all got together and everybody said as long as everybody's in the deal, everybody's in the deal, and everybody is making some sacrifice, we can find a way. we made the system solvent to 2033. we will not, though, be part of any voucher plan eliminating -- the voucher says, mom, when you're 65, go out there, shop for the best insurance you can get. you're out of medicare, you can buy back in, if you want with this voucher, which will not keep pace, will not keep pace with health care costs. because if it did keep pace with health care costs, there would
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be no savings. that's why they go the voucher. they -- we will be no part of a voucher program or the privatization of social security. >> a voucher is you go to your mailbox, get a check, and buy something. nobody is proposing that. barack obama four years ago running for president said if you don't have any fresh ideas, use stale tactics to scare voters. if you don't have a good record to run on, paint your opponent as someone people should run from. small ideas. >> you're one of the few lawmakers to stand with president bush when he was seeking to partially privatize social security. >> for younger people. what we said then, what i've always agreed is let younger americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the social security system. >> you saw how well that worked. >> not what mitt romney is proposing. what we're seeing is no changes for anybody 55 and above. >> what mitt romney is proposing -- >> then the kinds of changes we're talking about for younger people like myself is don't increase the benefits for wealthy people as fast as
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everybody else. slowly raise the retirement age over time. it wouldn't get to the age of 70 until the year 2103 according to the actuaries. >> quickly, vice president? >> quickly. the bottom line here is is all the studies show that if we went with social security proposal made by mitt romney, if you're in your 40s now you will pay $2,600 a year -- you get $2,600 less in social security. if you're in your 20s now, $4,600 less. the idea of changing, change being in this case to cut the benefits of people without taking other action you can do to make it work is absolutely the wrong way. look, these guys haven't been big on medicare from the beginning. their party's not been big on medicare from the beginning and they've always been about social security, as little as you can do. look, folks, use your common sense. who do you trust on this? a man who introduced a bill that would raise it $6,400 a year, knowing it and passing it and
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romney saying he'd sign it, or me and the president? >> that statistic was completely misleading but more importantly -- >> those are the facts, right? >> this is what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on, scare people from voting for you. if you don't get ahead of this problem -- >> medicare beneficiaries -- >> we're going to move on. a very simple question. >> medicare and social security did so much for my own family. we are not going to jeopardize this program but we have to save it. >> you are jeopardizing the program. you're changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to a premium support, whatever you call it, the bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket and the families i know and the families i come from, they don't have the money to pay more -- >> that's why we're saying more for lower income people and less for higher income people. >> i'd like to move on to a very simple question for both of you and something tells me i won't get a very simple answer. but let me ask you this. >> i gave you a simple answer. he's raising the cost of medicare. >> okay.
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on to taxes. if your ticket is elected, who will pay more in taxes, who will pay less? we're starting with vice president biden for two minutes. >> the middle class will pay less and people making $1 million and more will begin to contribute slightly more. let me give you one concrete example. the continuation of the bush tax cuts. we're arguing that the bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. of the bush tax cuts for the wealthy, $800 billion of that goes to people making a minimum of $1 million. we see no justification in these economic times for those, and they're patriotic americans, they're not asking for this continued tax cut. they're not suggesting it, but my friends are insisting on it. 120,000 families by continuing that tax cut will get an additional $500 billion in tax relief in the next ten years and their income is an average of $8 million. we want to extend permanently the middle class tax cut for -- permanently from the bush middle class tax cut.
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these guys won't allow us to. you know what they're saying? way say, let's have a vote, let's have a vote on the middle class tax cut and have a vote on the upper tax cut. let's go ahead and vote on it. they're saying, no. they're holding hostage the middle class tax cut to the super wealthy. and on top of that, they have another tax cut coming. that's $5 trillion that all of the studies point out will, in fact, give another $250 million, yeah, $250,000 a year to those 20,000 families and raise taxes for people who are middle income with a child by $2,000 a year. this is unconscionable. there is no need for this. the middle class got knocked on their heels. the great recession crushed them. they need some help now. the last people who need help are 120,000 families for another, another $500 billion tax cut over the next ten years.
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>> congressman? >> our entire premise of these tax reform plans is to grow the economy and create jobs. it's a plan that's estimated to create 7 million jobs. now, we think that government taking 28% of a family and business' income is enough. president obama thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8% of a small business' income. look, if you taxed every person in successful small business making over $250,000 at 100%, it would only run the government for 98 days. if everybody who paid income taxes last year including successful small businesses doubled their income taxes this year, we'd have a $300 billion deficit. you see, there aren't enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending. and so the next time you hear them say, don't worry about it, we'll get a few wealthy people to pay their fair share, watch out, middle class. the tax bill is coming to you.
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that's why we're saying we need fundamental tax reform. take a look at it this way. eight out of ten businesses file their taxes as individuals, not corporations. where i come from, from overseas, which is lake superior, the canadians drop their tax rates to 15%. the average tax rate on businesses in the industrialized world is 25% and the president wants the top effective tax rate on successful small businesses to go above 40%. two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. this one tax would actually tax about 53% of small business income. it's expected to cost us 710,000 jobs. you know what? it doesn't even pay for 10% of their proposed deficit spending increases. what we are saying is, lower tax rates across the board and close loopholes primarily to the higher income people. we have three bottom lines. don't raise the deficit. don't raise taxes on the middle class. and don't lower the share of
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income that is born by the high income earners. keep saying this $5 trillion plan, i suppose, it's been discredited by six other studies and even their own deputy campaign manager acknowledged that it wasn't correct. >> let's talk about this 20%. you have refused, and, again, to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20% across the board tax cut. do you actually have the specifics or are you still working on it and that's why you won't tell voters? >> different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. you see, i understand -- >> do you have the specifics? do you have the -- know exactly what you're doing? >> look at what ronald reagan and tip o'neill did. they worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base and worked together to fix that. what we're saying is, here's our framework. lower tax rates 20%. we raise about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. we forego about $1.1 trillion in loopholes and deductions.
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so what we're saying is, deny those loopholes and deductions to higher income taxpayers so more of their income is taxed which has a broader base of taxation. >> can i translate? >> so we can lower tax rates across the board. here's why i'm saying this. what we're saying -- >> i hope i'm going to get time to respond to this. >> you'll get time. >> we want to work with the congress on how best to achieve this. that means successful. >> no specifics -- >> what we're saying is lower tax rates 20%. start with the wealthy, work with congress to do it. >> you guarantee this math will add up? >> absolutely. six studies guaranteed, verified this math adds up. >> vice president biden? >> let me translate. let me have a chance to translate. >> i'll come back in a second then, right? >> i was there when ronald reagan, he gave specifics for what he was going to cut, number one, in terms of tax expenditures. number two, 97% of the small businesses in america pay less -- make less than $250,000. let me tell you who some of those other small businesses are. hedge funds.
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that make $600 million, $800 million a year. that's what they count as small business because they're pass-through. look at how sincere their are. ronald -- excuse me, governor romney on "60 minutes" ten days ago was asked, governor, you pay 14% on $20 million. someone making $50,000 pays more than that. do you think that's fair? he said, oh, yes, that's fair. that's fair. and they're going to talk -- you think these guys are going to go out there and cut these loopholes? the biggest loophole they take advantage of is carried interest loophole and capital gains loophole. they exempt that. now, the reason why the aei study, the tax center study, the reason they say taxes are going to go up on the middle class, the only way you can find $5 trillion in loopholes is cut the mortgage deduction for middle class people. cut the health care deduction for middle class people. take away their ability to get a tax break to send their kids to college.
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that's why they're -- >> is he wrong about that? >> he is wrong about that. >> how's that? >> cut tax rates by 20% and preserve preferences for middle class taxpayers. >> not mathematically possible. >> it is mathematically possible. it's been done before, what we're proposing. >> it has never been done before. >> it's been done a couple times. >> it's never been done before. >> increase growth. >> now you're jack kennedy? >> ronald reagan -- republicans -- >> this is amazing. >> republicans and democrats have worked together on this. >> that's right. >> i understand you guys aren't used to doing bipartisan deals. >> we told each other what we're going to do. you said, here are the things we're going to cut. here's what he said. >> fill in the details. that's exactly -- >> fill in the details. >> that's how you get things -- >> that's coming from a republican congress working bipartisanly? 7% rating? come on. >> mitt romney was governor of massachusetts where 87% of the legislators he served with were democrats. he didn't demonize them. he didn't demagogue them.
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he met with those party leaders every week. he reached across the aisle. he didn't compromise principles. >> you saw what happened. >> he balanced the budget. >> if he did such a great job -- why is he contesting massachusetts? >> vice president, what would you suggest beyond raising taxes on the wealthy that would substantially reduce the deficit? >> don't let the taxes expire like they're supposed to on the millionaires. can't get $800 billion going to people making a minimum of $1 million. they do not need it, martha. the 120,000 families make $8 million a year. middle class people need the help. why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? why does he go after -- >> can you declare anything off -- can you declare anything off limits? >> yeah, we're saying close loopholes on -- >> high mortgage deductions. >> for higher income people. >> can you guarantee that no one making less than $100 million will have --
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>> a million small businesses. he keeps trying to make sure think it's just some movie star or hedge fund guy. >> 97% of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year would not be affected one bit. >> this taxes a million people. >> does it tax 97% of the american businesses? >> tax a million small businesses who are job creators. >> i wish i would get it. >> you're going to increase the defense budget. and you're going to increase the defense budget. >> we're not going to cut the defense budget. >> they're going to increase it $2 billion. >> that's not -- we're talking about preventing -- >> no massive defense increases? >> you want to get into defense now? >> yes, i do. i do. that's another math question. >> right. okay. >> how do you do that? >> so they proposed a $478 billion cut to defense to begin with. now we have another $500 billion cut to defense that's lurking on the horizon. they insisted upon that cut being involved in the debt negotiations. and so now we have a $1 trillion
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-- >> let's put the automatic defense cuts aside. let's put this aside. no one wants that. i want to know how you do the math and have this increase in defense spending. >> $2 trillion. >> you don't cut defense by $1 trillion. that's what we're talking about. >> what national security issue -- >> who's cutting it by $1 trillion? >> -- would justify an increase? >> we're going to cut 80,000 soldiers, 20,000 marines, 120 cargo planes. we're going to push the joint -- >> drawing down one war and one war -- >> if these cuts go through, our navy will be the smallest it has been since before world war i. this invites weakness. look, do we believe in peace through strength? you bet we do. we don't impose the devastating cuts on our military. we're saying don't cut the military by $1 trillion. not increase it by $1 trillion, don't cut it by $1 trillion. >> quickly, vice president biden
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on this. i want to move on. >> we don't cut it. i might add, this so-called, i know we don't want to use the fancy word, see quester the automatic cut. that was part of a debt deal they asked for. let me tell you what my friend said announcing he supported the deal, i'm paraphrasing, we've been looking for this moment for a long time. >> can i tell you what that innocent? we've been looking for bipartisanship a long time. >> the bipartisanship is what he voted for to automatically cuts in defense if they didn't act. beyond that they asked for another -- look, the military says we need a smaller, leaner, army. we need more special forces. we need -- we don't need more m1 tanks. what we need is more -- >> some of the military. >> not some of the military. that was the decision of the joint chiefs of staff. recommended to us and agreed to by the president. >> who answered to a civilian leader. >> they made the recommendation first. >> okay. let's move on to afghanistan. >> can i get into that? >> i'd like to move on to afghanistan, please. >> okay. >> that's one of the biggest expenditures this country has made. in dollars, and more
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importantly, in lives. we just passed the sad milestone of losing 2,000 u.s. troops there in this war. more than 50 of them were killed this year by the very afghan forces we are trying to help. now, we've reached the recruiting goal for afghan forces. we've degraded al qaeda. so tell me, why not leave now? what more can we really accomplish? is it worth more american lives? >> we can't want to lose the gains we've gotten. we want to make sure that the taliban does not come back in and give al qaeda a safe haven. we agree with the administration on their 2014 transition. look, when i think about afghanistan, i think about the incredible job that our troops have done. you've been there more than the two of us combined. first time i was there in 2002, it was amazing to me what they were facing. i went to the valley in kandahar before the surge. i sat down with a young private in the 82nd from the indian reservation who would tell me
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what he did every day. i was in awe. and to see what they had in front of them, then to go back there in december, to go throughout helmand with the marines to see what they have accomplished, it's nothing short of amazing. what we don't want to do is lose the gains we've gotten. now, we've disagreed from time to time on issues. we would have taken into account recommendations from our generals. we've been skeptical about negotiations with the taliban, especially while they're shooting at us. we want to see the 2014 transition be successful and that means we want to make sure our commanders have what they need to make sure that it is successful so that this does not once again become a launching pad for terrorists. >> martha? let's keep our eye on the ball. the reason i've been in and out of afghanistan and iraq 20 times. i've been up in the conar valley. i've been in that whole country mostly in a helicopter,
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sometimes in a vehicle. the fact is, we went there for one reason to get those people who killed americans. al qaeda. we decimated al qaeda central. we have eliminated osama bin laden. that was our purpose. and, in fact, in the meantime, what we said we would do, we would help train the afghan military. it's their responsibility to take over their own security. that's why with 49 of our allies in afghanistan, we've agreed on a gradual drawdown so we're out of there by the year 20 -- in the year 2014. my friend and the governor say it's based on conditions which means it depends. it does not depend for us. it is the responsibility of the afghans to take care of their own security. we have trained over 315,000 mostly without incident.
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there have been more than two dozen cases of green on blue where americans have been killed. if we do not -- if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols. we will not train in the field. we'll only train in the army bases that exist there. but we are leaving. we are leaving in 2014, period. in the process we're going to save over the next 10 years $800 billion. we've been in this war over a decade. the primary objective is almost completed. now all we're doing is putting the kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. it's their responsibility. not america's. >> what conditions could justify staying, congressman ryan? >> we don't want to stay. we want -- look, one of my best friends in janesville, is in a ford base in eastern afghanistan
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right now. our wives are best friends, our daughters are best friends. i want him and all of our troops to come home as soon and safely as possible. we want to make sure the 2014 is successful. that's why we want to make sure we give our commanders what they say they need to make it successful. we don't want to extend beyond 2014. that's the point we're making. you know, in it was just this, i'd feel like we would be able to call this a success. but it's not. what we are witnessing as we turn on our television screens these days is the absolute unraveling of the obama foreign policy. problems are growing at home, but jobs -- problems are growing abroad, but jobs aren't growing here at home. >> let me go back to this. he says we're absolutely leaving in 2014. you're saying that's not an absolute but you won't talk about what conditions -- >> do you know why we say that? because we don't want to broadcast to our enemies, put a
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date on your calendar, wait us out and then come back. >> but you agree with the timeline? >> we do agree with the timeline and the transition, but what we -- what any administration will do in 2013 is assess the situation to see how best to complete this timeline. >> we -- >> what we do not want to do is give our allies reason to trust us less and our enemies more -- we don't want to embolden our enemies to hold and wait out for us and then take over -- >> martha, that's a bizarre statement since 49 of our allies, hear me, 49 of our allies signed on to this position. >> and we're reading that they want -- >> 49. 49 of our allies said, out in 2014. it's the responsibility of the afghans. we have other responsibilities -- >> but we have -- we have -- marines, we have afghan forces
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murdering our forces over there. the taliban, do you think is taking advantage of this timeline? >> look, the taliban -- what we found out, and you saw it in iraq, martha, unless you set a timeline, baghdad in the case of iraq and kabul in the case of afghanistan will not step up. they're happy to let us continue to do the job. international security forces do the job. the only way they step up is say, fellows, we're leaving. we've trained you. step up. step up. >> let me go back -- >> that's the only way it works. >> let me go back to the surge troops that we but in there. and you brought this up, congressman ryan. i have talked to a lot of troops. i've talked to senior officers who were concerned that the surge troops were pulled out during the fighting season and some of them saw that as a political move. so can you tell me, vice
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president biden, what was the military reason for bringing those surge troops home? >> the military reason -- by the way, when the president announced the surge, you'll remember, martha, he said the surge will be out by the end of the summer. the military said the surge will be out. nothing political about this. before the surge occurred. so you be a little straight with me here, too. before the surge occurred we said they'll be out by the end of the summer. that's what the military said. the reason for that is -- >> military follows orders. i mean, trust me, there are people that are concerned about pulling out on the fighting -- >> there are people that are concerned but not the joint chiefs. that was their recommendation in the oval office to the president of the united states of america. i sat there. i'm sure you'll find someone who disagrees with the pentagon. i'm positive you'll find that within the military. but that's not the case here. and secondly, the reason why the military said that is you cannot
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wait and have a cliff. it takes, you know, months and months and months to draw down forces. >> let me try and illustrate the issue here. because i think this can get a little confusing. we've all met with general allen and general scaparrotti in afghanistan to talk about fighting seasons. here's the way it works. the mountain passes fill in with snow. the taliban and the terrorists come over from pakistan to fight our men and women. when it fills in with snow they can't do it. that's what we call fighting seasons. in the warm months fighting gets really high. in the winter it goes down. and so when admiral mullen and general petraeus came to congress and said, if you pull these people out before the fighting season's end, it puts people more at risk. that's the problem. yes, we drew 22,000 troops down last month. but the remaining troops that are there who still have the same mission to prosecute,
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counterinsurgency, are doing it with fewer people. that makes them less safe. we're sending fewer people out in all these hot spots to do the same job they were supposed to do a month ago. 22,000 people out for them to do it. >> we turned over to the afghan troops we trained. no one got pulled out that didn't get filled in by trained afghan personnel. and he's conflating two issues. the fighting season that petraeus was talking about and former -- and admiral mullen was the season this spring. that's what he was talking about. we did not -- we did not pull them out. >> the calendar works the same every year. >> it does work the same every year. >> spring, summer, fall. it's warm or it's not. they're still fighting us. they're still coming over the passes. they're still coming in to zabul, to kunar, to all of these areas but we are sending fewer
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people to the front to fight them. >> that's right. because that's the afghan responsibility. we've trained them. >> not in the east. >> let's move to another war -- >> not in the east? >> rc east. >> rc east is the most dangerous blaze in the world. >> that's why we don't want to send fewer people. >> that's why we should send americans in to do the job. you'd rather have americans go in to do the job? >> we're sending americans to do the job but fewer of them. >> that's right. we're sending in more afghans to do the job. afghans to do the job. >> let's move to another war, the civil war in syria. where there are estimates that more than 25,000, 30,000 people have now been killed. in march of last year, president obama explained the military action taken in libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. so why doesn't the same logic apply in syria? vice president biden? >> it's a different country. it's a different country. it's five times as large
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geographically, it has one-fifth the population, that is libya, one-fifth the population, five times as large geographically. it's in a part of the world where you're not going to see whatever would come from that war. it would seep into a regional war. you're in a country that's heavily populated in the midst of the most dangerous area in the world. and, in fact, if in fact it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region causing potentially regional wars. we are working hand and glove with the turks, with the jordanians, with the saudis and with all the people in the region attempting to identify the people who deserve the help so that when assad goes and he will go, there will be a legitimate government that follows on. not an al qaeda-sponsored government that follows on. and all this loose talk of my friend, governor romney, and the congressman, about how we're
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going to do, we could do so much more in there, what more would they do other than put american boots on the ground? the last thing america needs is to get in another ground war in the middle east. requiring tens of thousands, if not well over 100,000 american forces. that, they are the facts. they are the facts. now, every time the governor is asked about this, he doesn't say anything. he goes up with a whole lot of verbiage but when he gets pressed he says, no, he would not do anything different than we are doing now. are they proposing putting american troops on the ground? putting american aircraft in the airspace? is that what they're proposing? if they do, they should speak up and say so, but that's not what they're saying. we are doing it exactly like we need to do to identify those
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forces. who, in fact, will provide for a stable government and not cause a regional sunni/shia war when bashar assad falls. >> congressman ryan? >> nobody is proposing to send troops to syria. american troops. now, let me say it this way. how would we do things differently? we wouldn't refer to bashar al assad as a reformer, when he's killing his own civilians with his russian provided weapons. we wouldn't be outsourcing our foreign policy to the united nations given vladimir putin veto power over our efforts to try and deal with this issue. he's vetoed three of them. hillary clinton went to russia to try and convince them not to do so. they thwarted her efforts. she said they were on the wrong side of history. she was right about that. this is one more example of how the russia reset is not working. where are we? after international pressure mounted, president obama said bashar al assad should go. it's been over a year. the man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people. and more foreign fighters are spilling into this country.
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so the longer this has gone on, the more people, groups like al qaeda are going in. we could have more easily identified the free syrian army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the turks, the saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with working through our allies. but, no, we waited for kofi annan to try and come up with an agreement through the u.n. that bought bashar assad time. we gave russia veto power through the u.n. and meanwhile about 30,000 syrians are dead. >> what would my friend do differently? if you notice, he never answers the question. >> no, i would -- we would not be going through the u.n. on all of these things. >> you don't go through the u.n. we are in the process now and have been for months in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the
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turks believe, the jordanians believe, the saudis believe are the free forces inside of syria. that is under way. our allies were all on the same page. nato as well as our arab allies. in terms of trying to get a settlement. that was their idea. we're the ones that said, enough. with regard to the reset not working, the fact of the matter is that russia has a differe interest in syria than we do and that's not in our interest. >> what happens if assad does not fall? congressman ryan? what happens to the region? what happens if he hangs on? what happens if he does? >> then iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. he's a sponsor of terrorism. he'll probably continue slaughtering his people. we in the world community will lose our credibility on this. look, he mentioned the reset. >> what would romney/ryan do about that credibility? >> we agree with the same red
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line actually they do on chemical weapons but not putting american troops in other than to secure their chemical weapons. they're right about that. but what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in syria. we should not have called bashar assad a reformer. and we should not have -- >> what's your criteria? >> we should not have waited for russia to give us the green light at the u.n. to do something about it. they're still arming the man. iran is flying flights over iraq to help -- >> and the opposition is being armed. >> to help bashar assad. and by the way, if we had the status of forces agreement that the vice president said he would bet his vice presidency on in iraq, we probably would have been able to prevent that. he failed to achieve that as well. >> let me ask you quickly. what's your criteria for intervention? >> yeah. >> in syria? >> worldwide. >> what is in the national interest of the american people. >> how about humanitarian interests? >> what is the national security of the american people? it has to be in the strategic national interests of our country.
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>> no humanitarian? >> each situation will come up with its own set of circumstances, but putting american troops on the ground, that's got to be within the national security interest of the american people. >> i want to -- we're almost out of time here. >> things like embargoes and sanctions and overflights, those are things that don't put american troops on the ground. if you're talking about putting american troops on the ground, only in our national security interests. >> i want to move on and i want to return home for these last few questions. this debate is, indeed, historic. we have two catholic candidates. first time on a stage such as this. and i would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. please talk about how you came to that decision. talk about how your religion played a part in that, and please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country.
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>> sure. >> please talk personally about this if you could. congressman ryan? >> i don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. our faith informs us in everything we do. my faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable. of how to make sure that people have a chance in life. now, you want to ask basically why i'm pro-life? it's not simply because of my catholic faith. that's a factor of course. but it's also because of reason and science. you know, i think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife jan and i went to mercy hospital in janesville where i was born for our seven-week ultrasound for our first born child. and we saw that heartbeat. our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day, we have nicknamed our first born child, liza, bean.
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now, i believe that life begins at conception. that's why those are the reasons why i'm pro-life. now, i understand this is a difficult issue. and i respect people who don't agree with me on this. but the policy of a romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. what troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. look at what they're doing through obama care with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. they're infringing upon our first freedom. the freedom of religion, by infringing on catholic charities, catholic churches, catholic hospitals. our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. with respect to abortion, the democratic party used to say they wanted to be safe, legal, and rare. now they support it without
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restriction and with taxpayer funding. taxpayer funding in obama care, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. the vice president, himself, went to china and said that he sympathized or wouldn't second guess their one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. that, to me, is pretty extreme. >> vice president biden? >> my religion defines who i am, and i've been a practicing catholic my whole life. and it has particularly informed my social doctrine, catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. people who need help. with regard to abortion, i accept my church's position on abortion as a, what we call de fite doctrine. life begins at conception.
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that's the church's judgment. i accept it in my personal life. i refuse to impose it on equally devout christians and muslims and jews and i just refuse to impose that on others. unlike my friend here, the congressman. i do not believe that we have a right to tell other people, women, that they can't control their body. it's a decision between them and their doctor in my view. the supreme court. i'm not going to interfere with that. with regard to the assault on the catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, catholic or otherwise, including catholic social services, georgetown hospital, mercy hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. that is a fact. that is a fact. now, with regard to the way in
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which we differ, my friend says that he, well, i guess he accepts governor romney's position now, because in the past he has argued that there was rape, he's argued in the case of rape or incest it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. i just fundamentally disagree with my friend. >> congressman ryan? >> all i'm saying is if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn't change the definition of life. that's a principle. the policy of a romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. now, i've got to take issue with the catholic church and religious liberty. >> you have on issues of catholic social doctrine. you've taken issue. >> why would they keep suing you? it's a distinction without a difference. >> i want to go back to the
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abortion question here. if the romney/ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe abortion should remain legal be worried? >> we don't think unelected judges should make this decision that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society, through the democratic process, should make this determination. >> the court, the next president will get one or two supreme court nominees. that's how close roe v. wade is. just ask yourself, with robert bork being the chief adviser on the court for mr. romney, who do you think he's likely to appoint? do you think he's likely to appoint someone like scalia or someone else on the court, far right, that would outlaw abortion? i suspect that would happen. i guarantee you that will not happen. we picked two people.
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we picked people who are open minded. they've been good justices. so keep an eye on the supreme -- >> was there a litmus test on them? >> there was no litmus test. we picked people who had an open mind, did not come with an agenda. >> i am going to move on to this closing question because we are running out of time. certainly known, you've said it here tonight, that the two of you respect our troops enormously. your son has served and, perhaps, someday your children will serve as well. i recently spoke to a highly decorated soldier who said that this presidential campaign has left him dismayed. he told me, quote, the ads are so negative and they are all tearing down each other rather than building up the country. what would you say to that american hero about this campaign? and at the end of the day, are you ever embarrassed by the tone? vice president biden? >> i would say to him the same thing i say to my son who did serve a year in iraq. that we only have one truly
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sacred obligation as a government. that's to equip those we send into harm's way and care for those who come home. that's the only sacred obligation we have. everything else falls behind that. i would also tell him that the fact that he, this decorated soldier you talked about, fought for his country, that that should be honored. he should not be thrown into a category of the 47% who don't pay their taxes while he was out there fighting and not having to pay taxes and somehow not taking responsibility. i would also tell him that there are things that have occurred in this campaign and occurred in every campaign that i'm sure both of us regret anyone having said. particularly in these special new groups that can go out there, raise all the money they want, not have to identify themselves and say the most
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scurrilous things about the other candidate. it's an abomination. but the bottom line here is, i'd ask that hero you referenced to take a look at whether or not governor romney or president obama has the conviction to help lift up the middle class, restore them to where they were before this great recession hit and they got wiped out. or whether or not he's going to continue to focus on taking care of only the very wealthy, not asking them to make, pay any part of the deal to bring back the middle class, the economy of this country. i would ask him to take a look at whether the president of the united states has acted wisely in the use of force and whether or not the slipshod comments being made by my friend, or by governor romney, serve our interests very well. but there are things that have been said in campaigns that i find not very appealing.
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>> congressman ryan? >> first of all, i'd thank him to his service to our country. second of all, i'd say we're not going to impose devastating cuts on our military which compromises their mission and their safety. then i would say, you have a president who ran for president four years ago promising hope and change who has now turned his campaign into attack, blame, and defame. you see, if you don't have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone to run from. that was what president obama said in 2008. it's what he's doing right now. look at all the string of broken promises. if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. try telling that to the 20 million people who are projected to lose their health insurance if obama care goes through or the 7.4 million seniors who are going to lose it. remember when he said this, i guarantee if you make less than $250,000, your taxes won't go up of the 21 tax increases in obama care, 12 hit the middle class.
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remember when he said health insurance premiums would go down, $2,500 per family, per year, they've gone up $3,000 and expected to go up $2,400. we've had four budgets, $4 trillion deficits. a debt crisis is coming. we can't keep spending and borrowing like this. we can't keep spending money we don't have. leaders run to problem to fix problems. president obama has not even put a credible plan on the table in any of his four years to deal with this debt crisis. passed two budgets to deal with this. mitt romney put ideas on the table. we have to tackle this debt crisis before it tackles us. the president likes to say he has a plan. he gave a speech. we asked his budget office, can we see the plan? he gave us a copy of the speech. he said, tell us what president obama's plan is to prevent a debt crisis. they said, it's a speech, we
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can't estimate speeches. you see, that's what we get in this administration. speeches. we're not getting leadership. mitt romney is uniquely qualified to fix these problems. his lifetime of experience, his proven track record of bipartisanship, and what do we have from the president? he broke his big promise to bring people together to solve the country's biggest problems. what i would tell him is we don't have to settle for this. we can do better than this. >> i hope i get equal time. >> you will get just a few minutes here. a few seconds, really. >> the two budgets the congressman introduced have eviscerated all the things that the middle class cares about. it will knock 19 million people off of medicare. it will kick 200,000 children off of early education. it will eliminate the tax credit people have to be able to send their children to college. it cuts education by $450 billion. it does virtually nothing except continue to increase the tax
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cuts for the very wealthy. and, you know, we've had enough of this. the idea that he's so concerned about these deficits, i've pointed out he voted to put two wars on a credit card. >> we're going to the closing statements in a minute. >> just a second. not reading taxes is not cutting taxes. by the way, our budget -- >> we have not -- >> 3% a year instead of 4.5% like they proposed. >> let me calm down things here just for a minute. i want to talk to you very briefly before we go to closing statements about your own personal character. if you're elected, what could you both give to this country as a man, as a human being that no one else could? >> honesty. no one else could? there are plenty of fine people who could lead this country. but what you need are people who when they say they're going to do something, they go do it. what you need are when people see problems, they offer so


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