U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has asked Republicans in Congress, including the Republican presidential challenger's running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, to "get out of the way" and let the Obama administration fix the economy.
In a nationally televised debate at a small college in Kentucky, Biden blamed Republicans for the country's economic recession.
"They talk about this great recession that fell out of the sky, like, 'Oh my goodness, where did it come from?' It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card," said Biden.
Ryan fired back by asserting that President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats came into office in 2008 with "one-party control" that gave them the ability to do "everything of their choosing." He said that the administration told Americans that if the stimulus was passed, the economy would grow at four percent, but it is only growing at 1.3 percent.
When discussing foreign policy, Biden called last month's fatal attack against the U.S. ambassador to Libya "a tragedy," promising that whatever "mistakes" were made "will not be made again."
Ryan slammed the Obama administration for not providing enough security in Benghazi and for taking "two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack."
"Our ambassador in Paris has a marine detachment guarding him," said Ryan. "Shouldn't we have a marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with arms?"
The vice president argued that President Barack Obama was not told that the consulate wanted more security.
On Iran, Ryan said the Islamic Republic has become "brazen" because the Obama administration has "no credibility" on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. Biden countered this claim, asserting that the U.S. has placed "the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions" on Iran.
The debate late Thursday comes as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is gaining momentum in voter opinion polls after his strong performance in last week's debate against the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama.
The 69-year-old Biden is widely regarded as an experienced debater and skilled politician, based on his 36 years in the Senate before becoming vice president in 2009. Ryan, a 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin, is considered a rising star among conservative Republicans.
The presidential contenders were back on the campaign trail Thursday, with Obama rallying supporters in Florida. Romney addressed supporters in North Carolina before plans to crisscross the battleground states of Virginia and Ohio on Friday. Those four states hold a combined 75 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the November 6 election.