WBEZ | Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan http://www.wbez.org/tags/wisconsin-us-rep-paul-ryan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en During Vice Presidential debate, Biden, Ryan spar over everything http://www.wbez.org/news/during-vice-presidential-debate-biden-ryan-spar-over-everything-103091 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP524325480572.jpg" style="height: 368px; width: 620px; " title="Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, watches as Vice President Joe Biden, speaks during the vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. (AP/David Goldman) " /></div><p>At odds early and often, Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan squabbled over the economy, taxes, Medicare and more Thursday night in a contentious, interruption-filled&nbsp;debate. &quot;That is a bunch of malarkey,&quot; the vice president retorted after a particularly tough Ryan attack on the administration&#39;s foreign policy.</p><p>&quot;I know you&#39;re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don&#39;t interrupt each other,&quot; Ryan said later to his rival, referring to Democratic pressure on Biden to make up for President Barack Obama&#39;s listless performance in last week&#39;s&nbsp;debate&nbsp;with Mitt Romney.</p><p>There was nothing listless this time as the 69-year-old Biden sat next to the 42-year old Wisconsin congressman on a stage at Centre College in Kentucky.</p><p>Ninety minutes after the initial disagreement over foreign policy, the two men clashed sharply over steps to reduce federal deficits.</p><p>&quot;The president likes to say he has a plan,&quot; Ryan said, but in fact &quot;he gave a speech&quot; and never backed it up with details.</p><p>Biden conceded Republicans indeed have a plan, but he said if it were enacted, it would have &quot;eviscerated all the things the middle class care about.&quot;</p><p>The&nbsp;debate&nbsp;took place a little more than a week after Obama and Romney met in the first of their three&nbsp;debates&nbsp;&mdash; an encounter that has fueled a Republican comeback in opinion polls.</p><p>With Democrats eager for Biden to show the spark the president lacked, he did so.</p><p>Unprompted, he brought up the video in which Romney had said 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, view themselves as victims and do not take responsibility for their own lives.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s about time they take responsibility&quot; instead of signing pledges to avoid raising taxes, Biden said &mdash; of Romney, Ryan and the Republicans.</p><p>The serial disagreements started immediately after the smiles and handshakes of the opening.</p><p>Ryan said in the&nbsp;debate&#39;s&nbsp;opening moments that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had been denied sufficient security by administration officials. Stevens died in a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11.</p><p>&quot;Not a single thing he said is accurate,&quot; Democrat Biden shot back.</p><p>Republicans and Democrats alike have said in recent days the presidential race now approximates the competitive situation in place before the two political conventions. The two men are generally separated by a point or two in national public opinion polls and in several battleground states, with Obama holding a slender lead in Ohio and Wisconsin.</p><p>Both the president and Romney campaigned in battleground states during the day before ceding the spotlight to their political partners for the evening.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP743673234903.jpg" style="float: left; height: 202px; width: 310px; " title="Moderator Martha Raddatz watches as Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. (AP/Michael Reynolds)" />In Kentucky, Biden and Ryan seemed primed for a showdown from their opening moments on stage, and neither seemed willing to let the other have the final word. They interrupted each other repeatedly &mdash; and moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC as well.</p><p>With Democrats eager for Biden to show the spark the president lacked, he did so.</p><p>Unprompted, he brought up the video in which Romney had said 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, view themselves as victims and do not take responsibility for their own lives.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s about time they take responsibility&quot; instead of signing pledges to avoid raising taxes, Biden said &mdash; of Romney, Ryan and the Republicans.</p><p>But Ryan quickly turned to dreary economic statistics &mdash; 23 million are struggling to work, he said, and 15 percent of the country is living in poverty. &quot;This is not what a real recovery looks like.&quot;</p><p>Medicare was a flashpoint, as well. Ryan said Obama&#39;s health care plan had diverted $716 billion from the program for seniors and created a new board that could deny care to patients who need it.</p><p>Democrats &quot;haven&#39;t put a credible solution on the table,&quot; he said. &quot;They&#39;ll tell you about vouchers. They&#39;ll say all these things to try to scare people.&quot;</p><p>Biden quickly said that Ryan had authored not one but two proposals in which seniors would be given government payments that might not cover the entirety of their care. Otherwise, he said, the Romney-Ryan approach wouldn&#39;t achieve the savings they claimed.</p><p>Unlike Obama, Biden had no qualms about launching a personal attack on Romney.</p><p>After Ryan argued that Romney&#39;s plan would pay for reduced tax rates by eliminating tax loopholes for the wealthy, Biden noted that on a recent interview on CBS&#39; <em>60 Minutes</em>, Romney defended the 14 percent tax rate he pays on his $20 million income as fair, even though it&#39;s a lower rate than some lower income taxpayers pay.</p><p>&quot;You think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes,&quot; Biden asked, addressing the national TV audience.</p><p>Across 90 minutes, the two men agreed precisely once.</p><p>That was when Ryan, referring to the war in Afghanistan, said the calendar was the same each year. Biden agreed to that, but not to the underlying point, which was that it was a mistake for Obama to have announced a date for the withdrawal of the remainder of the U.S. combat troops.</p><p>The fiercest clash over foreign policy came in the&nbsp;debate&#39;s&nbsp;opening moments, when Ryan cited events across the Middle East as well as Stevens&#39; death in Libya as evidence that the administration&#39;s foreign policy was unraveling. The Republican also said the administration had failed to give Stevens the same level of protection as the U.S. ambassador in Paris receives.</p><p>Biden rebutted by saying that the budget that Ryan authored as chairman of the House Budget Committee had cut the administration&#39;s funding request for diplomatic security by $300 million.</p><p>On the nation&#39;s economy, both men were asked directly when his side could reduce unemployment to 6 percent from the current 7.8 percent. Both men sidestepped.</p><p>Biden repeated the president&#39;s contention that the nation is moving in the right direction, while Ryan stated the Republican view that economic struggle persists even though Democrats had control of both houses of Congress during the first two years of Obama&#39;s term.</p><p>&quot;Where are the 5 million green jobs&quot; we were told would be created? Ryan said to Biden.</p><p>Obama campaigned in Florida during the day. Mocking recent changes in Romney&#39;s rhetoric, he told a rally in Miami rally, &quot;After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney is trying to convince you that he was severely kidding.&quot;</p><p>Romney visited with 93-year-old Billy Graham in North Carolina before speaking to an evening rally in Asheville, N.C. &quot;Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me,&quot; he told the evangelist.</p><p>For Biden, Thursday night&#39;s&nbsp;debate&nbsp;was his first since the 2008 campaign, when he shared a stage with Sarah Palin, then John McCain&#39;s running mate.</p><p>Ryan spars frequently with Democrats during&nbsp;debates&nbsp;on legislation on the House floor and in the House Budget Committee, which he chairs, but not in a one-on-one encounter covering 90 minutes and a virtually unlimited range of topics.</p><p>For all their differences, the two men shared a common objective, to advance the cause of their tickets in a close race for the presidency &mdash; and avoid a gaffe that might forever seal their place in the history of&nbsp;debates.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP980091637349.jpg" style="float: right; height: 242px; width: 310px; " title="Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP/Pool-Rick Wilking)" />Romney&#39;s choice of Ryan as running mate over the summer cheered conservatives in the House, many of whom regard him as their leader on budget and economic issues. The seven-term lawmaker has authored a pair of deficit-reducing budgets in the past two years that call for spending cuts and changes in Medicare, blueprints that Republicans passed through the House and Obama and his allies in Congress frequently criticize. He also champions a no-tax increase approach to economic policy.</p><p>As a senator before becoming vice president, Biden was chairman of the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees, and he has long experience in national security issues. More recently, he was Obama&#39;s point man in arduous, ultimately unsuccessful negotiations with Republicans on steps to cut the deficit.</p><p>Both Ryan and Biden held extensive rehearsals, with stand-ins for their opponents.</p><p>Biden turned to Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who is well-versed in Ryan&#39;s policy views from his tenure as senior Democrat on the Budget Committee.</p><p>Ryan&#39;s foil in rehearsal was former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a skillful courtroom advocate.</p><p><em>Associated Press writers Philip Elliott in Kentucky, Ken Thomas in Florida and Kasie Hunt in North Carolina contributed. Espo reported from Washington.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 20:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/during-vice-presidential-debate-biden-ryan-spar-over-everything-103091 Vice presidential debate live chat http://www.wbez.org/news/vice-presidential-debate-live-chat-103075 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BidenRyanDebates.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image ">We&#39;re following the debates live, and featuring commentary from Chicago media&#39;s best and brightest, like <em>TimeOut</em>&#39;s Frank Sennett, WBEZ blogger Achy Obejas, writer Veronica Arreola, PR strategist&nbsp;Veronica Vera, <em>Chicago Tribune </em>columnist Eric Zorn and DNAinfo&#39;s&nbsp;Jen Sabella.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Vice Presidential debate pits current Vice President Joe Biden against&nbsp;Wisconsin U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, and will take place from 8 pm to 9:30 pm CST at Centre College in Kentucky, moderated by&nbsp;Martha Raddatz, a Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent at ABC News.</div><p style="text-align: center;"><a class="twitter-timeline" data-widget-id="253146859072266240" href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BEZDebates">Tweets about &quot;#BEZDebates&quot;</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");</script></p><p><iframe browser="" class="ap-embed" code="" does="" frameborder="0" height="750" not="" scrolling="no" src="http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2012/presidential-debate-2012/?SITE=(YOUR_SITE_ID)" style="border: 1px solid #eee;" support="" the="" width="100%" your="">iframe&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/code&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; HTML tag. Try viewing this in a modern browser like Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer 9 or later.</iframe></p></p> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 11:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/vice-presidential-debate-live-chat-103075 Akin connections to Ryan remain despite distancing by GOP http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/akin-connections-ryan-remain-despite-distancing-gop-101838 <p><p>For all the outrage GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney has expressed over Missouri Republican candidate Todd Akin&rsquo;s comments about &ldquo;legitimate rape,&rdquo; he&rsquo;s probably a little glad Akin stuck his foot in it.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP908050424389.jpg" style="height: 367px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan and Missouri Rep. Todd Akin co-sponsored at least two extremist bills on women's health issues. (AP/file)" />Why? Because how else were Romney and the other GOP bigwigs going to command the spotlight in such a way as to create the impression that the Republican Party isn&rsquo;t really all that bad for women?<br /><br />First of all, Akin: &ldquo;From what I understand from doctors, pregnancy (from rape) is really rare. If it&rsquo;s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.&rdquo;<br /><br />Even Romney couldn&rsquo;t let that pass. &ldquo;Congressman&rsquo;s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314452/romney-akins-inexcusable-comment-robert-costa">Romney said</a>. &ldquo;Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.&rdquo;<br /><br />(You&rsquo;ll notice the &ldquo;we&rdquo; there, implying his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is with him on this too, and I&rsquo;ll get to that in a minute.)<br /><br />Romney, for all his waffling, has a history of supporting abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother, though he did <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/07/which-gop-candidate-worst-reproductive-rights">veto emergency contraception </a>to rape victims as Massachusetts governor. (Never mind the basic contradiction of insisting life begins at conception and then having exemptions. . . .)</p><p>Predictably, the Dems came down hard on Akin; but on the GOP side it wasn&rsquo;t just Romney hammering the Missouri Republican.&nbsp;&quot;What [Akin] said is just flat wrong in addition to being wildly offensive to any victim of sexual abuse,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-mcconnell-suggests-todd-akin-consider-his-options-20120820,0,5243455.story">Sen. Mitch McConnell</a>, the GOP minority leader.&nbsp;&ldquo;Although Rep. Akin has apologized, I believe he should take time with his family to consider whether this statement will prevent him from effectively representing our party in this critical election.&rdquo;</p><p>Asking Akin to step aside is about as harsh as it comes, right?<br /><br />But there was more: According to the <em>Houston Chronicle</em>, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/Cornyn-urges-Akin-to-withdraw-from-Mo-race-3802337.php">threatened to withdraw financial support</a> unless Akin withdraws. Ditto Karl Rove.<br /><br />But don&rsquo;t be fooled. Next month the House is set to discuss <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/republicans-vs-women.html?_r=2&amp;src=me&amp;ref=general">a Republican spending plan </a>that, according to the <em>New York Times,</em>&nbsp;&quot;would bar Planned Parenthood&rsquo;s network of clinics, which serve millions of women across the country, from receiving any federal money unless the health group agreed to no longer offer abortion services for which it uses no federal dollars &mdash; a patently unconstitutional provision. It would also eliminate financing for Title X, the effective federal family-planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. Without this program, some women would die, and unintended pregnancies would rise, resulting in some 400,000 more abortions a year and increases in Medicaid-related costs, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health.&rdquo;<br /><br />Take note that Romney, in his condemnation of Akin&rsquo;s words, didn&rsquo;t touch the whole &ldquo;legitimate rape&rdquo; aspect. How could he? His running mate and Akin were co-sponsors of a bill that tried to redefine rape so that it required a violent component for an exemption to their wide-ranging <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3/text">No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act</a> (introduced by none other than Chicago&rsquo;s own Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski).<br /><br />The bill, which was passed by the House and stalled in the Senate, would ban federally funded abortions (again) and allow for &quot;conscience exemptions&quot; on the part of health providers. It would also prohibit tax benefits to pay for abortions, including tax exempt health savings accounts (HSAs), nor would the cost of an abortion count as a medical deduction either.<br /><br />The bill would allow exemptions <em>if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, or is the result of rape or incest</em>. But its original language suggested limitations: &quot;if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of <em>forcible</em> rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.&quot; (Meaning that statutory rape, for example, would not qualify unless it involved some sort of violence or threat.)<br /><br />Akin and would-be VP Ryan also co-sponsored yet another extremist bill, <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr212">The Human Life Act</a>, which declares that &quot;human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.&rdquo;<br /><br />What all those rights might be is a real mystery but <a href="http://paulryan.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=207539">Ryan&rsquo;s own web page</a> waxes philosophically about his support of fetal personhood, so that, all of a sudden, his willingness to allow the killing of persons in utero as an exemption for victims of rape or incest is a <em>huge</em> flip.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Whether Ryan had an abrupt and profound change of heart is considerably less likely than that he understands signing on to rape and incest exemptions makes him &mdash; and his fellow Republicans &mdash; seem a lot less hostile, even somewhat reasonable, on choice and women&rsquo;s health issues than before Akin opened his big mouth.</div></p> Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/akin-connections-ryan-remain-despite-distancing-gop-101838