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U.S. Vice-Presidential Candidates Hold Only Debate

U.S. Vice Presidential Candidates Debate Policy On Iran, Economy i
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October 12, 2012
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and rival Republican Paul Ryan held a debate in Danville, Kentucky, on October 11, sparring over sanctions on Iran, defense spending, and the U.S. economy. (Reuters video)

WATCH: U.S. vice-presidential candidates debate policy on Iran and the economy.

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By RFE/RL
Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden were involved in some feisty exchanges as they argued domestic and foreign policy during their one and only TV debate in the southern state of Kentucky. 

Ryan suggested the recent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the killing of the U.S. ambassador there was proof of the "unraveling" of President Barack Obama's foreign policy. 

"This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it is indicative of a broader problem," he said. "And that is what we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the world more chaotic and us less safe."

Biden maintained that Obama had restored U.S. alliances, and pointed to sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program as a success. 

"This is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do," Biden said. "This is a guy who has repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again.  This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop with their [nuclear program.]"

Ryan insisted Iran cannot gain a nuclear weapon and indicated that he thought Obama was not doing enough to prevent this occurring.

"When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material, nuclear material, to make one bomb, now they have enough for five," he said. "They're racing toward a nuclear weapon.  They're four years closer to a nuclear weapons capability. We've had four different sanctions at the UN on Iran, three from the [George W.] Bush administration, one here, and the only reason we got it was because Russia watered it down and prevented the sanctions from hitting the central bank."

Biden countered by insisting that the sanctions imposed on Iran for its failure to halt uranium enrichment were "the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions."

Biden said: "When Governor [and Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney is asked about it, he said, 'We've got to keep these sanctions,' When you say you're talking about doing more, are you going to go to war? Is that what you want to do now?"

Biden defended setting a 2014 timetable to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan, saying it would push the Afghans to take care of security themselves. 

Ryan criticized the Obama administration's "reset" policy with Russia, saying it was "not working."

The two also debated domestic issues, including health care, tax policy, defense spending, and abortion. 

The vice-presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky comes with Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoying a bump in the opinion polls following last week's  debate against President Obama, who himself admitted he had not done well. 

With reporting by AP and Reuters

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