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Candidates Return To The Trail After VP Debate


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's a time-honored tradition in presidential campaigns to debate after the debate. Both sides are still squabbling now over who won this week's vice presidential faceoff. And on the campaign trail yesterday, the running mates themselves were out spinning for their side. NPR's Ari Shapiro has this round-up of the day on the trail.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: President Obama let his running-mate have the spotlight yesterday. While the man at the top of the ticket prepared for his own debate on Tuesday, Vice President Biden relived his favorite moments from the encounter with Paul Ryan. He rallied supporters at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, his opponent's home state.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I hardly agree with anything he says, but I want to tell you I think he's a decent guy.

SHAPIRO: Those were about the only friendly words Biden had for Ryan. The vice president rattled off foreign and domestic issues where the men clashed on Thursday night, starting with Afghanistan, where the Obama administration has promised to withdraw combat troops by 2014.

BIDEN: When asked, do you guarantee you'll get out, he said, it depends. No, I'm serious. You heard it. It depends on the situation on the ground. It depends. Well, ladies, it depends on nothing other than a date as far as we're concerned.

SHAPIRO: The biggest applause from the crowd came when Biden talked about women's issues.

BIDEN: It was made clear last night that they don't believe in protecting a woman's access to health care. It was made very clear that they do not believe she has a right to control her own body. That's between she and her doctor.

SHAPIRO: Biden did not mention last month's terrorist attacks in Libya, but Paul Ryan hit the issue hard at a rally in Ohio.

PAUL RYAN: First, they blame a YouTube video and a nonexistent riot, then when the country is getting upset about it, they blame Romney and Ryan for getting people upset about it. They keep changing their story. This is not what leadership looks like.

SHAPIRO: Ryan shared the stage with Mitt Romney as the sun set over downtown Lancaster, Ohio. When it was Romney's turn to speak, the presidential nominee talked about some of the nonverbal aspects of the debate. Ryan was far more subdued than Biden, who chuckled, grinned and rolled his eyes at times.

MITT ROMNEY: There was one person on the stage with thoughtfulness, who was respectful, who was steady and poised. There's one person on that stage you'd want to be with if there were a crisis, and it's this man right here.


SHAPIRO: Tonight, Romney flies home to Boston, to do some debate prep of his own for when he meets President Obama again next week. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Lancaster, Ohio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.