LA CROSSE, Wis. — Vice President Joe Biden on Friday maintained the same fiery, bold tone that characterized his debate performance against Paul Ryan, telling an appreciative crowd in Ryan’s home state that the event proved he and the GOP House member have different sets of values.
“Anyone who watched that debate, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Congressman Ryan and I, and Governor Romney and the president — we have a fundamentally different vision for America,” Biden said. “And quite frankly, a fundamentally different value set.”
The vice president spoke to more than 2,000 students and supporters at the University of Wisconsin (La Crosse) about many of the issues covered in Thursday night’s debate. The campaign said an overflow crowd of more than 400 people listened to his speech.
Among other things, Biden said Ryan made clear that he and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are “prepared to impose their private views on everyone else” when it comes to abortion.
“It was made clear last night that they don't believe in protecting a woman's access to health care,” Biden said. “It was made very clear that they do not believe a woman has a right to control her own body that's between she and her doctor. And now they say they're willing to make an exception in the case of rape and incest. Ladies and gentlemen, Congressman Ryan was a leader in the House and even blocked those exceptions.”
Ryan, as a House member, has opposed exceptions for rape and incest. But after being named Romney’s running mate, he said he’s comfortable with Romney’s differing view on abortion rights, telling a Virginia TV station: “Let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket, and the president makes policy.”
The Romney campaign sent out a response soon after Biden’s speech saying the vice president made dishonest attacks and distortions “to distract from his failed record.”
“Just like during last night’s debate, Vice President Biden was unable to describe any vision for the future and used dishonest attacks and distortions to distract from his failed record,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in an e-mailed response. “Over the last four years, the middle class has been ‘buried’ under crushing unemployment, falling incomes, and rising costs caused by the Obama-Biden administration’s abysmal policies.”
One subject notably absent from Biden’s speech in La Crosse was Libya. Romney on Friday accused Biden of “doubling down on denial” in the debate and directly contradicting the testimony of State Department officials regarding last month’s terrorist attack in Libya.
The Republican presidential nominee’s remarks led the White House and Democrats to say that the vice president was speaking directly for himself and the president when he asserted, “We weren’t told they wanted more security” at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
The trip to Wisconsin was Biden’s third this year. Polls show President Obama has a narrow lead in the state.