Who Won the VP Debate: 5 Reasons Paul Ryan Lost and Joe Biden Won

Vice President Joe Biden dominated the first and only vice presidential debate, giving a fiery attack of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). As predicted, Biden was in attack mode throughout the debate, compensating for Obama’s passive performance in the first presidential debate and drawing clear distinctions between the policies of the president and the policies of his opponent. Ryan appeared unable and unwilling to discuss the specifics of Romney’s economic and foreign policies … and American voters will notice.

1. Ryan gave no specifics about the Romney tax plan. Ryan could not explain the “math” that makes Romney’s tax cuts financially feasible. When pressed on the loop holes Romney hopes to close after creating a 20% flat tax system, Ryan refused to give any examples, adding that he hoped the decisions would be made in a bi-partisan manner. #taxcutsforthericharenotbipartisan

2. Ryan called for more American intervention in Syria, but is against humanitarian intervention in theory. Ryan contradicted himself when discussing his ticket’s stance on Syria. He said America should give more support to Syrian rebels, only moments before saying he does not believe in humanitarian intervention without a clear threat to American security. Earlier this week, Romney gave a foreign policy speech in which he made a humanitarian case for providing more support to Syria for the sake of "freedom and dignity.” 

3. Ryan is for a 2014 withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, but says a 2014 withdrawal of troops is dangerous. Ryan agreed with Obama’s plans to decrease the number of troops in Afghanistan and withdrawal by 2014, but said the withdrawal and timeline are both dangerous.  

4.  Ryan disagreed with his own beliefs on abortion and the official Republican Party platform. Remember all the discussion in August about the Republican Party’s stance on abortion? Back then, Ryan and the Republican Party did not believe in any exceptions for bans on abortion. Tonight, he listed three exceptions for rape, incest, and maternal health. Another flip-flop for the Romney ticket? 

5.  Biden pointed out discrepancies in “the facts” and came across as a strong advocate for the middle class. Biden was aggressive, pointing out each factual error he heard Congressman Ryan make. At the same time, he spoke as a passionate advocate for the middle class. He entertained with jokes, but provided no gaffes. 

Ryan’s lack of transparency in tonight’s debate will not sit well with viewers. Americans want honest answers, not flip-flopping positions and secret policies.      

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Danielle Gram

Danielle is a graduate of Harvard College where she earned an AB in Religion and Sociology. After graduating in 2011, she traveled in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as a Sheldon Fellow, exploring issues arising from conflict and crisis. Danielle is the cofounder of the international nonprofit, Kids for Peace (www.kidsforpeaceglobal.org). Her main PolicyMic interests include foreign affairs, domestic politics, and geopolitical strategy.

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