By Cameron Joseph - 10/12/12 01:32 AM EDT
Vice President Biden attacked the GOP presidential ticket from the start in Thursday night's vice presidential debate — and Paul Ryan punched right back.
The first question of the night was on the attack at the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and Biden pivoted from it to attack Mitt Romney for his positions on Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror.
"If we're hit by terrorists we're going to call it for what it is: a terrorist attack," Ryan fired back, calling the response "indicative of a broader problem" within the Obama administration as Biden grinned and shook his head.
Ryan also pointed out on the Libya attacks: "They first blamed the YouTube video, they’re now trying to blame the Romney-Ryan ticket."
Biden returned fire.
"That's a bunch of malarkey," he said, accusing Romney of playing politics with a national tragedy and saying Ryan's budget in the House would have cut money for security for foreign embassies.
"These guys bet against America all the time," he said.
Biden also defended President Obama, saying: "This is a president who has gone out and done everything he had said he was going to do. This is a guy who repaired our alliances to the rest of the world follows us again."
The two men traded quips and comebacks throughout the night.
"This is a bunch of stuff. … It's simply inaccurate," Biden said of one of Ryan's comments.
Moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News asked what he meant by "stuff."
Ryan joked: "It's Irish."
"We Irish call it malarky," Biden shot back.
Later in the evening, Ryan made reference to Biden's propensity to make gaffes.
Ryan noted: "I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way."
Biden responded: "I always say what I mean."
Ryan also hinted at Obama's lack-luster debate performance at last week's first presidential debate.
"Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other," he said.
"Well, don't take all the four minutes then," Biden shot back.
The vice president was in attack mode all night.
During a discussion on the economy, he hit Romney on his remark about 47 percent of American are dependent on the government. Romney later apologized for his comment, which was caught on video tape at a private fundraiser.
Biden hit Romney for not wanting to bail out the auto industry and for not wanting to help homeowners.
"But it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives," Biden said.
"These people are my mom and dad — the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, 'not paying any tax.' I've had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent — it's about time they take some responsibility here."
Ryan hit back by noting: "Joe and I are from similar towns. He's from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin. You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today."
"I sure do," Biden said.
Ryan pointed out it was 8.5 percent when Obama and Biden took office and it was 10 percent now.
"You don't read the statistics. That's not how it's going. It's going down," Biden responded.
— This story was last updated at 10:06 p.m.