Vice Presidential Debate Transcript

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RYAN: We want to work with Congress -- we want to work with the Congress on how best to achieve this. That means successful. Look...

RADDATZ: No specifics, again.

RYAN: Mitt -- what we're saying is, lower tax rates 20 percent, start with the wealthy, work with Congress to do it...

RADDATZ: And you guarantee this math will add up?

RYAN: Absolutely. Six studies have guaranteed -- six studies have verified that this math adds up. But here's...

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Look...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: .. let me translate. Let me have a chance to translate.

RYAN: I'll come back in a second, then, right?

BIDEN: First of all, I was there when Ronald Reagan tax breaks -- he gave specifics of what he was going to cut, number one, in terms of tax expenditures. Number two, 97 percent of the small businesses in America pay less -- make less than $250,000. Let me tell you who some of those other small businesses are: hedge funds that make $600 million, $800 million a year. That's -- that's what they count as small businesses, because they're pass- through.

Let's look at how sincere they are. Ronald -- I mean, excuse me, Governor Romney on "60 Minutes" -- I guess it was about 10 days ago -- was asked, "Governor, you pay 14 percent on $20 million. Someone making $50,000 pays more than that. Do you think that's fair?" He said, "Oh, yes, that's fair. That's fair."

This is -- and they're going to talk -- you think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes? The loophole -- the biggest loophole they take advantage of is the carried interest loophole and -- and capital gains loophole. They exempt that.

BIDEN: Now, there's not enough -- the reason why the AEI study, the American Enterprise Institute study, the Tax Policy Center study, the reason they all say it's going -- taxes go up on the middle class, the only way you can find $5 trillion in loopholes is cut the mortgage deduction for middle-class people, cut the health care deduction, middle-class people, take away their ability to get a tax break to send their kids to college. That's why they arrive at it.

RADDATZ: Is he wrong about that?

RYAN: He is wrong about that. They're...

BIDEN: How's that?

RYAN: You can -- you can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers...

BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.

RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It's been done before. It's precisely what we're proposing.

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: It's been done a couple of times, actually.

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth. Ronald Reagan...

BIDEN: Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy?

(LAUGHTER)

RYAN: Ronald Reagan -- Republicans and Democrats...

BIDEN: This is amazing.

RYAN: Republican and Democrats have worked together on this.

BIDEN: That's right.

RYAN: You know, I understand you guys aren't used to doing bipartisan deals...

BIDEN: But we told each other what we're going to do.

RYAN: Republicans and Democrats...

BIDEN: When we did it Reagan, we said, here -- here are the things we're going to cut.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: That's what we said.

RYAN: We said here's the framework, let's work together to fill in the details. That's exactly...

BIDEN: Fill in the detail.

RYAN: That's how you get things done. You work with Congress -- look, let me say it this way.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: That's coming from a Republican Congress working bipartisanly, 7 percent rating? Come on.

RYAN: Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, where 87 percent of the legislators he served, which were Democrats. He didn't demonize them. He didn't demagogue them. He met with those party leaders every week. He reached across the aisle. He didn't compromise principles.

BIDEN: And you saw what happened.

RYAN: He found common ground -- and he balanced the budget...

BIDEN: You saw -- if he did such a great job...

RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... four times without raising taxes...

BIDEN: Why isn't he even contesting Massachusetts?

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President, what would you suggest -- what would you suggest beyond raising taxes on the wealthy, that would substantially reduce the long-term deficit?

BIDEN: Just let the taxes expire like they're supposed to on those millionaires. We don't -- we can't afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum of $1 million. They do not need it, Martha. Those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. Middle-class people need the help. Why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? Why does he go after the childcare...

RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?

BIDEN: Why do they do that?

RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?

RYAN: Yeah, we're saying close loopholes...

RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?

RYAN: ... on high-interest people.

RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?

RYAN: For higher-income people. Here...

BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage -- their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?

RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses. He keeps trying to make you think that it's just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor...

BIDEN: Ninety-seven percent of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year, would not be affected.

RYAN: Joe, you know it hits a million -- this taxes a million people, a million small businesses.

BIDEN: Does it tax 97 percent of the American businesses?

RYAN: It taxes a million small businesses...

BIDEN: Small businesses?

RYAN: ... who are our greatest job creators.

BIDEN: I wish I'd get -- the "greatest job creators" are the hedge fund guys.

RADDATZ: And you're -- and you're going to increase the defense budget.

RYAN: Think about it this way.

RADDATZ: And you're going to increase the defense budget.

RYAN: No, we're not just going to cut the defense budget like they're -- they're proposing...

BIDEN: They're going to increase it $2 billion.

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