DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) - At odds in an instant, Republican Paul Ryan cited the death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya as evidence Thursday night that the administration's foreign policy is unraveling. Vice President Joe Biden shot back in campaign debate, "That is a bunch of malarkey."
"Not a single thing he said is accurate," Democrat Biden declared in the opening moments of the only debate between the two vice presidential candidates in a national campaign with a little less than four weeks left to run.
Both men seemed primed for a showdown in their opening moments on stage.
Ryan said the administration had accorded insufficient security to Stevens, who was killed in a terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11
Biden said the budget that Ryan authored as chairman of the House Budget Committee had cut the Obama administration's funding request for diplomatic security by $300 million.
The two men also tangled over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration steps to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and relations with Israel, an area where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney frequently accuses President Barack Obama of letting down the United States' closest ally in the Middle East.
Biden, 69, repeatedly accused Ryan of misstating the facts - "this is a bunch of stuff," he erupted at one point.
But the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman stood his ground. Iran is "four years closer" to having a nuclear weapon as Obama's term nears its end, he said.