Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Biden vs. Ryan: Our VP debate roundup

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan squared off in the vice presidential debate.
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan squared off in the vice presidential debate.

Updated on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 1:15 a.m.

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan relied on a mix of accurate and exaggerated claims while politely exchanging 90 minutes of attacks and counterattacks in the Oct. 11, 2012 debate.

Some of the sharpest clashes came on taxes and how middle-class and wealthy taxpayers would fare under President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Here’s how PolitiFact has rated some of the claims that were repeated in the debate:

Biden repeated a claim he made in Green Bay this summer: that if the Bush-era tax cuts are extended for the very wealthy, the tax savings total $500 billion for just 120,000 families over 10 years.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated that Mostly True. Romney and Ryan want to extend those expiring tax cuts for all, while Obama would do so only for income below $250,000.

When the debate turned to the economy and the Obama bailout of the auto industry, Biden repeated an Obama campaign charge that "Romney said, ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’"

We’ve rated a similar claim Half True, noting that Romney used those words but he emphasized he was not referring to liquidation of the industry, but rather a managed bankruptcy.

On Medicare and Social Security, Ryan said Obama’s federal health care law "takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on ObamaCare" — a "piggybank" for ObamaCare, he called it. Previously, PolitiFact National has rated Mostly False a Ryan statement that Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare "at the expense of the elderly."

On education, Biden said Ryan’s budget, which was passed by Republicans in the House, would have cut early childhood education for 200,000 children.

PolitiFact National rated a more encompassing claim by a pro-Obama super-PAC, that Romney wants to pay for a tax cut for multimillionaires by taking away early childhood education, slashing K-12 funding and cutting college aid for middle class families. The claim was rated Mostly False because the cuts aren’t actually specified in Ryan’s budget.

On foreign policy, Biden asserted that Iran is "being crippled" by sanctions put in place to deter that country’s nuclear program.

PolitiFact reviewed a Romney statement that, "This president ... could have gotten crippling sanctions against Iran. He did not."

That drew a Mostly False rating in concluding: "The reality is that a combination of international and U.S. efforts are now in place that some consider crippling to Iran’s economy. Romney's campaign argues he was specifically referring to a failure to get the United Nations to enact sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank in 2010. But some experts argue he couldn’t have achieved tougher U.N. sanctions, given opposition from Russia and China. Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign argues Obama hasn’t fully supported U.S. sanctions against Iran. It’s true that Obama resisted Congress dictating the administration’s strategy. But that’s not support for the statement that he "could have gotten crippling sanctions against Iran" but "did not."