Ryan and Biden debate domestic and foreign policy on national stage

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Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, listens to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A week after the first presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, Representative Paul Ryan squared off with Vice President Joe Biden in their first and last vice-presidential debate before the presidential election in November.

Martha Raddatz, the senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, moderated the debate, which was hosted by Centre College in Danville, Ky, and sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The debate’s format followed nine ten-minute segments in which each vice-presidential candidate would have two minutes to answer questions presented by Raddatz.

During the debate, Raddatz asked questions related to both foreign policy and domestic policy. These questions focused on the following:

-The death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi

-The threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons programs and preventative actions taken or to be taken by the United States

-The state of our economy and the unemployment rate

-The decline of Medicare and Social Security

-The impact on each class under the tax reform policies proposed by each candidate

-The nation’s defense budget

-The reasons for either staying or leaving Afghanistan

-The civil war in Syria and the United States’ involvement

-The personal beliefs of each candidate as a Catholic concerning abortion

-The negativity and damaging effects of attack ads in each candidate’s campaign

Throughout the debate, Biden was energetic and engaging, often interrupting, laughing and showing signs of exasperation or disbelief over many of Ryan’s remarks. Several times in the debate he called Ryan’s remarks “malarkey.” Ryan, who remained on the defensive for much of the debate, was nonetheless calm and composed, often taking small sips from a glass of water. His speech was also notably clear and coherent, with almost no um’s or mispronunciations.

This debate differed greatly from the first debate. Not only did it cover a greater variety of issues, but it was also much more personal at times. The most significant difference, however, was the lack of a clear winner and loser.

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