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Decision 2012

Running mates offer take on second presidential debate

Running mates offer take on second presidential debate
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 8:53am

Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan hit the airwaves Wednesday to declare debate victory for their respective running mates, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

On NBC, Biden said Obama was "absolutely at the top of his game last night," but also took Romney to task for not spelling out specifics of his policy proposals.

"The thing that amazed me the most was even after three debates, his two and my one, there is still not a single specific in the Romney $5 trillion tax plan. I mean, everything is sketchy," Biden said.

That echoed Obama's own assessment of Romney's plan at Tuesday night's debate, when he called his rival's promise a "sketchy deal" because of its lack of specific tax exemptions that would be eliminated in order to pay for Romney's proposed tax cuts.

"There's no direct answers to any questions," Biden said Wednesday. "I think it's becoming clearer and clearer to the American people that there's a fair amount of rhetoric but not much substance."

Paul Ryan, also speaking on NBC, said Obama's style had changed from the first debate but that the core of his answers remained disappointing.

"They said that he would change his tactic but his answers didn't change," the GOP vice presidential candidate said. "He didn't offer new ideas about how the next four years would be any different than the last four years. The reason why I think Mitt Romney won this debate is because he gave the country a very clear choice and a very clear vision for about how we have a leader that will create jobs, grow the economy and get people back to work."

On CBS, Ryan said he disagreed with some detractors who said Romney's answer to a question on Libya was his weakest point, saying his running mate had the facts straight.

"It wasn't his weakest moment in the least," Ryan said, adding Obama's administration had changed its story many times on what happened in the lead up to the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

Ryan also explained Romney's reference to "binders full of women" in last night's debate. The GOP nominee made the reference in his answer to question about fair pay for women, and was touring his record of hiring women while serving as governor of Massachusetts.

"All he meant is he went out of his way to try to recruit qualified women to serve in his administration when he was governor," Ryan said. "That's what he was saying. He has an exceptional record of hiring women in prominent positions in his administration."

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By Kevin Liptak

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