Full cup of Joe


DANVILLE — US Vice President Joe Biden leaped to the attack against Republican challenger Paul Ryan in a lively debate last night, aggressively defending the Obama administration’s economic and foreign policies to try to regain momentum in the White House race.

Biden was looking for a Democratic rebound after President Barack Obama’s poor debate performance last week. But the younger and less experienced Ryan held his own in a series of testy exchanges.

“With all due respect, that is a bunch of malarkey,” Biden said when Ryan accused the White House of projecting an image of American weakness to the world.

First estimates of who prevailed at the debate in Kentucky were split. A CBS News survey of undecided voters showed Biden as the winner by 50 per cent to 31 per cent, while a CNN poll of debate watchers scored Ryan the victor by 48 per cent to 44 per cent.

The vice presidential candidates in the November 6 election frequently interrupted each other, talking at the same time and sometimes staring at each other in disbelief.

Biden grinned and laughed sarcastically at times, dismissing the Wisconsin congressman’s answers. But he repeatedly provided the passion that Obama was criticised for lacking in last week’s debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The White House race shifted in Romney’s favour after that encounter in Denver and he has taken the lead in some national polls with less than four weeks before the election. A Reuters-Ipsos online tracking poll yesterday before the debate showed Romney leading Obama by 47 per cent to 44 per cent.

“Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other,” Ryan said at one point.

“Well, don’t take all the four minutes then,” Biden responded.

He later added: “I don’t know what world this guy’s living in.” (Reuters)

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