Vice Presidential Debate Transcript

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RYAN: That's how it's going all around America.

Look...

BIDEN: You don't read the statistics. That's not how it's going. It's going down.

RADDATZ: (inaudible) two-minute answer (inaudible)

RYAN: Look, did they come in and inherit a tough situation? Absolutely. But we're going in the wrong direction. Look at where we are. The economy is barely limping along. It's growing a 1.3 percent. That's slower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before.

Job growth in September was slower than it was in August, and August was slower than it was in July. We're heading in the wrong direction; 23 million Americans are struggling for work today; 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty today. This is not what a real recovery looks like. We need real reforms for real recovery and that's exactly what Mitt Romney and I are proposing. It's a five-point plan. Get America energy independent in North America by the end of the decade. Help people who are hurting get the skills they need to get the jobs they want. Get this deficit and debt under control to prevent a debt crisis.

Make trade work for America so we can make more things in America and sell them overseas, and champion small businesses. Don't raise taxes on small businesses because they're our job creators.

RYAN: He talks about Detroit. Mitt Romney's a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed. The Romneys didn't know them. They went to the same church; they never met before.

Mitt asked if he could come over on Christmas. He brought his boys, his wife, and gifts. Later on, he said, "I know you're struggling, Mark. Don't worry about their college. I'll pay for it."

When Mark told me this story, because, you know what, Mitt Romney doesn't tell these stories. The Nixons told this story. When he told me this story, he said it wasn't the help, the cash help. It's that he gave his time, and he has consistently.

This is a man who gave 30 percent of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined. Mitt Romney's a good man. He cares about 100 percent of Americans in this country. And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney.

RYAN: We want everybody to succeed. We want to get people out of poverty, in the middle class, onto a life of self-sufficiently. We believe in opportunity and upward mobility. That's what we're going to push for in a Romney administration.

RADDATZ: Vice president? I have a feeling you have a few things to say here.

BIDEN: The idea -- if you heard that -- that little soliloquy on 47 percent and you think he just made a mistake, then I think you're -- I -- I think -- I got a bridge to sell you.

Look, I don't doubt his personal generosity. And I understand what it's like. When I was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived. I have sat in the homes of many people who've gone through what I get through, because the one thing you can give people solace is to know if they know you've been through it, that they can make it. So I don't doubt his personal commitment to individuals. But you know what? I know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. He just -- he said, let it go bankrupt, period. Let it drop out. All this talk -- we saved a million jobs. Two hundred thousand people are working today.

And I've never met two guys who're more down on America across the board. We're told everything's going bad. There are 5.2 million new jobs, private-sector jobs. We need more, but 5.2 million -- if they'd get out of the way, if they'd get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they get out of the way and pass the -- pass the jobs bill, if they get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside down, but they never missed a mortgage payment, just get out of the way.

Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility.

And, by the way, they talk about this Great Recession if it fell out of the sky, like, "Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?" It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. I was there. I voted against them. I said, no, we can't afford that.

And now, all of a sudden, these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt that they created.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: Let's not forget that they came in with one-party control. When Barack Obama was elected, his party controlled everything. They had the ability to do everything of their choosing. And look at where we are right now.

They passed the stimulus. The idea that we could borrow $831 billion, spend it on all of these special interest groups, and that it would work out just fine, that unemployment would never get to 8 percent -- it went up above 8 percent for 43 months. They said that, right now, if we just passed this stimulus, the economy would grow at 4 percent. It's growing at 1.3.

RADDATZ: When could you get it below 6 percent?

RYAN: That's what our entire premise of our pro-growth plan for a stronger middle class is all about: getting the economy growing at 4 percent, creating 12 million jobs over the next four years.

Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus. The vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. There are just at the Department of Energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been launched into just how stimulus...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Martha...

RADDATZ: Go ahead. Go ahead.

BIDEN: Martha, look. His colleague...

RYAN: Crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

BIDEN: ... runs an investigative committee, spent months and months and months going into this.

RYAN: This is the -- this is the inspector general.

BIDEN: Months and months. They found no evidence of cronyism.

And I love my friend here. I -- I'm not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, "By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?" We sent millions of dollars. You know...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: You did ask for stimulus money, correct?

BIDEN: Sure he did. By the way...

RYAN: On two occasions we -- we -- we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. That's what we do. We do that for all constituents who are...

(CROSSTALK) BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying -- writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, "The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs." His words. And now he's sitting here looking at me.

And by the way, that program, again, investigated. What the Congress said was it was a model. Less than four-tenths of 1 percent waste or fraud in the program.

And all this talk about cronyism. They investigated and investigated, did not find one single piece of evidence. I wish he would just tell -- be a little more candid.

RYAN: Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?

BIDEN: Look...

RYAN: Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China and spend it on all these various different interest groups?

BIDEN: Let me tell you what was a good idea. It was a good idea, Moody's and others said that this was exactly what we needed to stop this from going off the cliff. It set the conditions to be able to grow again. We have, in fact, 4 percent of those green jobs didn't go under -- went under, didn't work. It's a better batting average than investment bankers have. They have about a 40 percent...

RYAN: Where are the 5 million green jobs that were being...

RADDATZ: I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we've gone over this quite enough.

BIDEN: By the way, any letter you send me, I'll entertain.

RYAN: I appreciate that, Joe.

(LAUGHTER)

RADDATZ: Let's talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process.

Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?

Mr. Ryan?

RYAN: Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.

Look, when I look at these programs, we've all had tragedies in our lives. I think about what they've done for my own family. My mom and I had my grandmother move in with us who was facing Alzheimer's. Medicare was there for here, just like it's there for my mom right now who is a Florida senior.

After my dad died, my mom and I got Social Security survivors benefits, helped me pay for college, it helped her go back to college in her 50s where she started a small business because of the new skills she got. She paid all of her taxes on the promise that these programs would be there for her.

We will honor this promise. And the best way to do it is reform it for my generation.

You see, if you reform these programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they don't change for people in or near retirement, which is precisely what Mitt Romney and I are proposing.

Look what -- look what Obamacare does. Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. Even their own chief actuary at Medicare backs this up. He says you can't spend the same dollar twice. You can't claim that this money goes to Medicare and Obamacare.

RYAN: And then they put this new Obamacare board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors.

This board, by the way, it's 15 people, the president's supposed to appoint them next year. And not one of them even has to have medical training.

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