Vice President Biden said his boss “clearly” made up for his performance in the first presidential debate and the overnight polls seemed to agree, giving President Obama a win in last night’s foreign policy debate against Mitt Romney.
“He clearly [has] made up for that but what Governor Romney showed today, and I felt a little badly because it’s clear he is not, he is not ready to be the commander-in-chief of the United States military,” the Vice President told me. “He demonstrated a lack of sophistication about what’s going on in the world, his rapid change in his positions. Look being president requires a clear vision and a steady hand. That’s exactly what president Obama demonstrated tonight.”
Vice presidential contender Paul Ryan accused Obama of spending too much time “attacking Mitt Romney” and not enough time laying out his vision for the next four years.
“We really didn’t actually get an agenda for how we should move our country forward on foreign policy,” Ryan said. “We got sort of a defensive, you know, he tried to defend his record. It is a bad record. Turn on your TV and you can see that the Obama foreign policy is unraveling before us.”
“What Mitt Romney said, ‘here is how we can do a better job in Iran policy, here is what we should have done in all these other areas,’…and more importantly, I think [Romney] did a great job of articulating a vision for America’s role in the world. Having a strong economy, a strong America at home, a strong military and being very resolute and certain in defense of our values overseas,” Ryan told me.
It was an argument over the strength of the military that created the most buzz. Governor Romney said the Navy was the smallest since 1917 and Obama responded that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
Top Romney adviser Stuart Stevens said Obama’s statement was demeaning to our military and was not one of the president’s best moments.
“Demeaning to the military for the president to say the truth that one aircraft carrier is probably more powerful than the entire United States Navy was back then?” Biden asked. “This is a different Navy, my Lord, George, the capacity, the firepower, our Navy is superior to every other Navy in the world combined”
One of the surprises last night was the foreign policy issues, including drones and Syria, where the two candidates seemed to agree.
“I didn’t see anything that the governor disagreed on and he seemed to be desperately trying to demonstrate he agreed with the president’s policies. It was sort of amazing,” Biden said on “GMA.”
“Well sure, on somethings we do agree,” Ryan told me. “We agree on the decision to get Osama bin Laden. We agree on the 2014 transition with Afghanistan. We agree on the president’s decision to carry forward the Bush administration drone strike policy…But where we do disagree is on the president’s handling of Iran. We do disagree with his Russia policy. We do disagree with these devastating military cuts which make us look weaker.”
That’s what we saw from Mitt Romney in this debate. The kind of demeanor and the kind of temperament and the kind of leader we need,” Ryan added.