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Biden Brings High Energy To Vice Presidential Debate


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish. One day after their high energy debate, Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan are both out on the campaign trail, each side trying to harness whatever momentum it can. Ryan joined Mitt Romney at a rally in Ohio. And Biden campaigned in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. And we begin our program by hearing from both tickets.

First, to NPR's Scott Horsley on the vice president's day.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: If President Obama practically sleepwalked through his first debate, running mate Joe Biden was extra caffeinated for his, verbally and non-verbally challenging Republican Paul Ryan at every turn. The vice president was still wide awake this afternoon when he recapped the debate before a friendly audience in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Anyone who watched that debate, I don't think there's any doubt that Congressman Ryan and I, Governor Romney and the president, we have a fundamentally different vision for America and, quite frankly, a fundamentally different value set.

HORSLEY: Biden delivered many of the attack lines last night that President Obama failed to in his debate, hammering at Mitt Romney's tax rate, which is lower than some middle class Americans, as well as Romney's 47 percent comment about people he said don't pay income tax and won't take responsibility for their own lives. Biden says many of those are working people, seniors or in the military.

BIDEN: That's the 47 percent - the 47 percent this nation depends on to build this country. Folks, it's about time Governor Romney takes some responsibility - takes some responsibility to help the American people in the middle class.

HORSLEY: Politically, both the vice president and Congressman Ryan serve as ambassadors to the middle class for running mates who can sometimes seem distant from it. Ryan noted during the debate that he and Biden grew up in similar communities. But, the vice president says he doesn't recognize the country that the Republican candidates describe.

BIDEN: And I've got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan - America is neither dependant nor is it in decline. And if they'd get out of the way - if they'd get out of the way with these policies out of the '50s, we'd be racing back.

HORSLEY: President Obama watched the debate aboard Air Force One last night as he returned to Washington from a campaign event in Florida. Afterwards, the president told reporters Biden made a strong case and showed his passion for an economy that grows with the middle class. Mr. Obama will spend this weekend hunkered down in Williamsburg, Virginia, preparing for his own debate with Governor Romney in four days.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.

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