Fact-checking the vice presidential debate

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, listens as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, listens as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky.
AP Photo/Eric Gay

In the one-and-only vice presidential debate of the general election campaign, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Rep. Paul Ryan went head-to-head over issues ranging from Iran, to job creation, to Medicare. Below, CBSNews.com looks into the facts behind those charges.


RYAN: "When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. He went to the U.N. and in his speech at the U.N. he said six times -- he talked about the YouTube video."

President Obama did technically refer to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as an act of "terror" on September 12 -- the day after the incident -- in remarks in the White House rose garden.

"No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for," Mr. Obama said.

However, it's true that the administration, including U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, maintained for several days that the attack was spontaneous and the result of protests over an inflammatory anti-Muslim video. Meanwhile, CBS News reported on Sept. 12 that the assault appeared to be a planned terrorist attack.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25, Mr. Obama did, as Ryan said, say the word "video" six times. He didn't give any indication, however, that the attack was an act of terrorism.

BIDEN: "This lecture on embassy security -- the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for, number one... Number two, Governor Romney, before he knew the facts, before he even knew that our ambassador was killed, he was out making a political statement which was panned by the media around the world."

The Hill reported last month: "The Obama administration requested $1.801 billion for embassy security, construction and maintenance for fiscal 2012; House Republicans countered with a proposal to cut spending to $1.425 billion. The House agreed to increase it to $1.537 billion after negotiations with the Senate."

That means House Republicans asked for $376 million less in security funding and eventually agreed to $264 million less. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said on CNN this week that House Republicans "absolutely" voted to cut funding for embassy security. "Look we have to make priorities and choices in this country," he said.

As for the point about Romney's political statement -- the Republican campaign issued a statement in the 10 o'clock hour on Sept. 11. "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi," Romney's statement said. "It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."

About eight hours later, the Associated Press reported that Libyan officials confirmed the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. Then about an hour later, the president confirmed Stevens' death. Then that morning, Sept. 12, Romney said he stood by his initial remarks criticizing the president.

BIDEN: "Well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again."

As CBS News reported this week, Eric Nordstrom, the former regional security officer in Libya, "told congressional investigators that he had requested more security but that request was blocked by a department policy to 'normalize operations and reduce security resources.' Under questioning, though, he said he had sought mainly to prevent any reduction in staff, rather than have a big increase... A memo Tuesday by the Oversight Committee's Democratic staff provided details of Nordstrom's interview with the panel's investigators. In that interview, Nordstrom said he sent two cables to State Department headquarters in March 2012 and July 2012 requesting additional diplomatic security agents for Benghazi, but he received no responses."


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