Later, when Raddatz pushed the discussion toward abortion policy, she chose to only challenge Ryan after both men had spoken about how they came to different policy conclusions despite both being Roman Catholic.
“I want to go back to the abortion question here,” she said, addressing only Ryan. “If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?”
Raddatz later pushed only Ryan to address “specifics” on tax cut plans. “You have refused — and, again — to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut,” Raddatz pressed. “Do you actually have the specifics? Or are you still working on it, and that’s why you won’t tell voters?”
While Ryan explained his and Romney’s strategic “framework” for the domestic economy, Biden interrupted throughout.
“Can I translate?” Biden said during one interruption. “I hope I’m going to get time to respond to this,” Biden interrupted moments later. Raddatz again failed to control the interruptions.
After Ryan restarted his answer, Raddatz editorialized: “No specifics again.”
A visibly flustered Raddatz would herself interrupt him moments later. “And you guarantee this math will add up?” she asked.
Despite Ryan’s assurance that “six studies have verified that this math adds up,” Raddatz continued pressing him while Biden watched, then offered the spotlight to the vice president.
Late in the debate, Raddatz typically allowed Biden to continue, forcing Ryan to insert himself into the conversation. As Ryan gathered steam, Raddatz cut back in and changed the subject.
In a 90-minute debate, Raddatz asked Biden only twice to defend his and President Obama’s policies and decisions. Both questions were about Libya and came near the beginning of the evening.
“It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn’t this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?” Raddatz asked one time.
“What were you first told about the attack? Why were people talking about protests? When people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns, there were no protesters. Why did that go on?” Raddatz asked Biden another time.
On a few occasions, Raddatz seemed to nudge Biden toward answers that were more complete than those he began with.
Contending that Paul Ryan’s calls for bipartisanship were hollow, Biden said “the bipartisanship is what he voted for: the automatic cuts in defense if [Congress] didn’t act” to trim the federal budget. he also said Ryan’s claim to be a budget cutter should fall flat because the military was already requesting the cuts Ryan advocated.
“Some of the military,” Raddatz counseled him.
“Not some of the military,” Biden answered. “That was the decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended to us and agreed to by the president. That’s a fact.
Raddatz reminded Biden that the military “answers to a civilian leader.”
“They made the recommendation first,” he countered.
With that, Raddatz wrapped up the debate’s chapter on military cuts. ”OK. Let’s move on to Afghanistan,” she said.
Ryan, eager to enter the conversation, asked, ”Can I get into that for a second?”
“I’d like to move on to Afghanistan, please.” Raddatz insisted.
This story was updated after publication to reflect that Raddatz’ 1991 marriage to FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski was her second, not her first.