TODAY   |  October 17, 2012

Biden: President was ‘at the top of his game’

Vice President Joe Biden reacts to President Obama’s performance in Tuesday’s town hall-style debate, saying “he was able to clearly draw a picture between a future under Obama and a future under Romney.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> biden after the debate and began by asking him whether the president had repaired the damage from his lackluster performance in the first debate.

>> i think president obama was absolutely at the top of his game last night, and i also think that he was able to clearly draw a picture between a future under obama and a future under romney , and the thing that amazed me the most was even after three debates, his two and my one, there is still not a single specific in the romney $5 trillion tax plan. i mean, everything -- everything is sketchy. there's no direct answers to any questions, and i think it's becoming clearer and clearer to the american people that there's a fair amount of rhetoric but not much substance, and i suspect, savannah, that's because the president was right. they really do mirror the policies of george bush on the economy, and they don't want to talk about it.

>> is the president's strategy here to beat romney by disqualifying him in the minds of voters?

>> no, no. the president's objective is saying and lay out clearly the choices, not let people run away from what they have been saying for 13 years or 14 years in the case of congressman ryan and his budgets as well as not letting governor romney run away from what he really intends to do.

>> at what point do you think the president compellingly and persuasively articulated what he will do in the next four years, not defending his record from the last four.

>> no, no.

>> but a forward looking agenda?

>> i think he compellingly did that when he asked the gentleman who said i voted for you last time but i'm not as optimistic, and he laid out why he should be optimistic, and he laid out why things were changing and why they will continue to change, when he talked about manufacturing, he talked about education. he talked about high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs. he talked about lining them up with the community colleges to generate growth. he talked about insourcing. i think that -- he talked about tax cuts for the middle class and why that will grow. look, the basic fundamental difference we have the president laid out extremely well, but one of the things that this is about is that if the middle class doesn't have any money to spend, if they are not getting the breaks, then the economy doesn't grow.

>> you were watching this debate closely. i wondered if you noticed what a lot of people noticed, a moment when the candidates seemed to circle each other, getting in each other's faces a little bit. you've been around politics a long time. have you ever seen anything like that?

>> well, actually, i have. i don't know that i've seen a presidential debate , but the forum lent itself to that, and i thought it was a real moment. i thought it gave, you know, i really thought the forum was a great forum for both of them to try to make their case, and so when they were kind of circling each other, it was like, okay, come on, man, let's level with each other here.

>> let me ask you about libya. the president was asked who it was that denied requests for additional security to the consulate in benghazi and why. the president did not directly answer that question, so i'll put it to you.

>> well, the answer to the question is that's why this full-blown investigation is going on. i answered the question in my debate where the president and i were aware of the request and i honestly said no, we were not. secretary clinton confirmed that this never got to us, and what the secretary pointed out under law she is required, we are required to have a commission that is headed up by one of the leading diplomats of our time, tom pickering, a republican stains's admiral mullen, and they will get to the bottom of this. it's required as a matter of law. what kind of requests came in, when did they come in, where did it go? how was it handled, and -- and as the president made clear in his answer, when governor romney kept trying to politicize this thing, he made it clear that the president has even a keener interest than anyone else. i knew stevens. he worked on the foreign -- the ambassador. he worked on the foreign relations committee for dick lugar when i was the ranking member. the president knew him and knew his family. this is something we want to get to the bottom of to make sure that something like this never happens again.

>> before i let you go, i have to ask you about your debate. as you know, a lot of people noticed your demeanor. when not answering a question, let's put it this way, you seemed to be having a good time. have you watched back tape of that debate, and would you do it the same way all over again?

>> well, i think, you know, you can always improve. one of the things in a two-minute response and a four-minute format, you know, some of the things that were said were absolutely incredulous. it was unbelievable some of the responses i was getting, so the answers, he's a good man. he's a solid guy. i like him. i wasn't laughing at him. i was laughing at some of the answers that were coming forward.

>> mr. vice president, thank you for your time this morning.

>> thank you.

>> we appreciate it.