Paul Ryan opened the vice presidential debate Thursday with tough criticismÂ of the Obama administration over its handling of the Libya terror attack,Â suggesting it was “projecting weakness” with its response.
“What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the ObamaÂ foreign policy,” Ryan said on the debate stage in Kentucky.
Biden was quick to retort: “With all due respect, that’s just a bunch ofÂ malarkey,” he said. “This talk about this weakness, I don’t understand what myÂ friend’s talking about.”
After President Obama’s lackluster debate last week, the pressure was onÂ Biden to recapture the momentum — while equally on Ryan to prevent the ObamaÂ ticket from blunting Romney’s surge.
With the moderator, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, opening the debate with aÂ question about the Libya strike, which happened a month ago Thursday, RyanÂ criticized the administration for waiting more than a week after the strike toÂ call it a coordinated terror attack.
“This is becoming more troubling by the day. They first blamed the YouTubeÂ video. Now they’re trying to blame the Romney/Ryan ticket for making this anÂ issue,” he said. Ryan was referring to a claim by an Obama aide earlier ThursdayÂ that the only reason the attack had entered the political debate was because ofÂ Romney’s criticism — a claim Romney rejected.
Biden also criticized Romney for making a “political statement” — inÂ reference to criticism of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s early response to protestsÂ there — on the night of the attack.
The face-off Thursday night was taking on outsized importance for a viceÂ presidential debate.
In a matter of days, Romney has picked up steam in both battleground andÂ national polls. The latest Fox News national poll of likely voters showed RomneyÂ edging Obama, 46 percent to 45 percent.
Obama has acknowledged he had a “bad night,” but the campaign indicates itÂ will be more aggressive going forward.
There are two final presidential debates, on Oct. 16 and Oct. 22. The nextÂ one will be a town hall format focusing on a range of issues, and the last oneÂ will focus exclusively on foreign policy.
Source: Fox News