VP Debate: Biden, Ryan at Each Other on Everything

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) — At odds early and often, Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan squabbled over the economy, taxes, Medicare and more Thursday night in a contentious, interruption-filled debate. “That is a bunch of malarkey,” the vice president retorted after a particularly tough Ryan attack on the administration’s foreign policy.

“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 interrupt each other,” Ryan said later to his rival, referring to Democratic pressure on Biden to make up for President Barack Obama’s listless performance in last week’s debate with Mitt Romney.

There was nothing listless this time as the 69-year-old Biden sat next to the 42-year old Wisconsin congressman on a stage at Centre College in Kentucky.

Ninety minutes after the initial disagreement over foreign policy, the two men clashed sharply over steps to reduce federal deficits. Continue reading

Vice Presidential Debate Webcast, Chat and Live Blogs

Win McNamee and Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tonight it’s up to Joe Biden to try to regenerate the mojo that his boss, by most accounts and many polls, lost during the first presidential debate.

You can watch Biden take on Paul Ryan in the first and only vice presidential mano-a-mano live at 6 p.m.

NewsHour Live Stream:

Debate chat from NPR featuring Frank James (NPR’s It’s All Politics blogger), Marilyn Geewax (NPR business editor), and Shirish Date (NPR Washington Desk editor)

We’ve also aggregated some live blogs. Pick your political persuasion…

House Vet Pete Stark in Tough Re-Election Fight; Videos: Stark on the Warpath

By Cyrus Musiker

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark has a well developed get-out-the-vote operation, but his opponent, Eric Swalwell, is capitalizing on Stark's reported negative attributes. (Photo: Cy Musiker)

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark has a well developed get-out-the-vote operation, but his opponent, Eric Swalwell, is capitalizing on Stark's reported negative attributes. (Photo: Cy Musiker)

Pete Stark has specialized in health care during much of his 40 years in Congress. He’s helped pass some of the nation’s most far-reaching laws in that area, including the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” to some); a law that says emergency rooms are required to admit patients who can’t pay; and COBRA, which lets workers and their families temporarily remain covered under an employer’s health plan even after leaving their job.

Stark says he considers himself a health care “expert.”

“But there’s lots to be done,” he adds. “I would like to work until we see that every resident of the United States has access to health care regardless of their income or health status.”

In a normal year, voters would probably have granted him yet another term to do that work. But in this election cycle, he has to fight to be re-elected because of the state’s “Top Two” primary system and newly drawn congressional districts that have changed business as usual.

“In a Democrat vs. Democrat race, there’s a very reasonable chance [Stark] could end up out of Congress.”

Stark is now running in the redrawn but mostly Democratic 15th Congressional District — a sprawl of suburban cities, stretching from Hayward to Pleasanton, to the south and east of Oakland. In June he finished ahead of his Democratic primary opponent;  had it been a traditional primary, Stark would be facing almost certain-victory over a weak Republican in November.

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Rallying the Afghan Vote in Fremont

By Francesca Segre

Most Afghan-Americans came here as refugees — fleeing war, invasions and political repression. Yet many don’t exercise their right to vote in U.S. elections. The nonprofit group The Afghan Coalition is trying to change that dynamic, and they’re rallying voters in the heart of California’s Afghan population — Fremont.

Francesca Segre/KQED

The group organized a forum recently for Afghan-American voters to meet the four candidates running for mayor of the city. At the event, candidates fielded questions about immigration and how to combat Islamophobia. Aziz Akbari, an 18-year-old Muslim and one of the mayoral candidates, tried to warm up the crowd by introducing himself in Farsi. But the candidates know it’s complicated to encourage Afghan voter turnout.

Many Afghans are reluctant to vote because they were never given a chance to in their homeland. Continue reading

Rising Asian-American Political Star From Calif. is Romney’s Chief Policy Director

By Frank Stoltze

One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors is a rising Asian-American political star from Southern California. As Romney’s chief policy director, 34-year-old Lanhee Chen plays a key role in advising the Republican presidential nominee on foreign and domestic issues.

Lanhee Chen in 2007. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

At the GOP Convention in Tampa in August, Asian-American journalists from around the country couldn’t wait to talk to Lanhee Chen. They peppered him with questions about Mitt Romney’s immigration policy and views on Asia.

Chen responded to one of the reporters, “Well, I mean obviously there are some challenges in the region. China is becoming increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea.”

Chen, dressed in a sport coat and open collar, answered questions easily, until a reporter asked a more personal question, about his role as one of the few prominent Asian Americans inside a Republican campaign for president.

“I’m not really ever sure what to say about that, but it is interesting to look around and realize that most people don’t look quite like you do,” said Chen.

Lanhee Chen was born in Rowland Heights, just east of downtown Los Angeles, to parents who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. He is something of the classic second-generation success story — he holds four degrees from Harvard, including a law degree and Ph.D. Chen is a policy wonk, but also a skilled Romney spokesman who has appeared on Fox News to represent the campaign. Continue reading

Election Road Trip: Central Coasters Hungry For Substance, Sick of Campaign Negativity

The election is just over a month away now, and unlike in the past, California has multiple Congressional seats — nearly a dozen, in fact — where the outcome is truly up in the air. As part of our election series “What’s Government For?” we’re out to hear what voters say they want from their elected officials.

Lois Capps and Abel Maldonado at a debate (Scott Shafer/KQED)

We’re hitting the road, or should I say the beach, on the Central Coast, where a hotly contested congressional race is under way. The new 24th Congressional District includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, plus a small part of northern Ventura County. One person told me that living here is like being in a National Geographic Magazine — it’s that beautiful.

As I walk along the beach near Morro Bay, I come across two people, Gary Ubaldi and his wife Gail. They both say they’re registered Democrats, but he says they’re open-minded.

“I believe I’m very open-minded,” Ubaldi says. “I know my wife is. I mean she listens to both sides of every argument and would vote for who she felt was the best candidate, period. Regardless of party.” Continue reading

How the Bay Area Reacted on Twitter to the First Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama at the first presidential debate.



That was the attitude expressed by many Bay Area residents on Twitter following Wednesday night’s presidential debate in Denver. Twitter said the debate was the most-Tweeted about U.S. political event to date, as more than 10 million Tweets were posted about the candidates, the moderator and the topics discussed.

In the Bay Area, many of those Tweets said the debate was boring and lacked substance. They criticized almost every aspect of the event, including the performance of moderator Jim Lehrer, the lack of vision expressed by the candidates and the font used in the stage decoration. Some Romney supporters did celebrate, saying their candidate performed better than the president. That’s been the position of other Romney backers across the country as well as some pundits and analysts, buttressed by some instant polls.

Below is a brief wrap-up of debate-related Tweets from the Bay Area. What did you think of the debate? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and let us know.

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Presidential Debate: Watch Live Online, List of Live Blogs

posted by Lisa Aliferis and Jon Brooks

Kennedy-Nixon, the first televised debate. (Courtesy National Park Service)

After months of campaigning — and days of surrogates’ efforts to lower expectations of their guy’s performance — it’s finally time for the first presidential debate. The political duel is being held at the University of Denver.

While there are many, many relevant sites we can steer you to around this event, we’ve chosen to put WNYC’s Interactive debate bingo front and center. You can thank us later, after the 25th time one or both candidates have used the phrase “make no mistake” before looking into the camera and gravely declaring just how the other guy is going to ruin the country if we make the awful mistake of electing him.

And if you’re at the point where you can only truly experience any big event on your computer,click here for our list of live blogs.

Here’s what looks to be a curated list of debate tweeters by Twitter, running the political gamut from Ann Coulter to David Axelrod, plus many in-betweens.

You can watch the debate online via PBS NewsHour:

You can also watch ABC News/Yahoo coverage live online on YouTube

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