EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 5, 2012

Biden's son campaigns in Derry

He says father is ready to debate Ryan next week

By John Toole jtoole@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — DERRY — With the vice presidential debate on deck, Joseph Biden’s son, Beau, yesterday said his father is methodically preparing for his “very capable” rival, Paul Ryan.

The younger Biden, campaigning at MaryAnn’s Diner, near Pinkerton Academy where Ryan headlined a rally last weekend, said his dad’s mission is foremost about taking the Democratic ticket’s case to voters.

“What he’s most prepared to do, though, is not just be prepared to debate Congressman Ryan, but to speak directly to the American people,” Biden said.

Biden, 43, is sure people are interested in the differences between the two tickets.

“I think people will definitely take time to take stock in what the vice presidential candidates are saying about the ticket and about what the ticket’s vision is,” he said.

Biden’s visit to Derry comes only a day after President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney clashed in their first debate in Colorado. The vice presidential debate is Thursday in Kentucky.

“My dad is methodically preparing for the debate like he did in 2008,” Biden said.

His father never underestimates his opponent, he said.

“He knows that Paul Ryan is a very capable, smart legislator who has intimate knowledge of not just budget proposals he’s made but the U.S. budget and questions of tax, economy, domestic issues, entitlements, Medicare, Social Security,” Biden said.

“Paul Ryan is very, very informed. (My father is) working hard to prepare, as much as he can, to be able to have a robust discussion, a meaningful discussion,” Biden said.

Biden, 43, state attorney general of Delaware, is an Iraq war veteran who faults Ryan and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for the funding of veterans services.

“They have a different set of priorities in how we honor our commitment to veterans,” Biden said.

Romney, as Massachusetts governor, unsuccessfully tried to cut veterans benefits, then last year proposed the “voucherization” of the Veterans Administration, he said.

“Last night, you saw Gov. Romney embrace the voucherization of Medicare. Very straightforward. There’s a consistency there,” Biden said.

“Voucherization of the VA would fundamentally change a program that has been in place for centuries in terms of making sure the government honors its commitment to those who serve,” he said.

Medicare reforms supported by Romney-Ryan could cost consumers $6,000 to start, he said.

“That’s a hit,” Biden said.

A spokesman for the Romney campaign responded by reiterating Romney’s accusation, raised in the debate, that Obama took more than $700 billion from Medicare to fund health care reforms.

Biden was reluctant to preview the debate but did say he expects his father to talk about his experience, ability to work in a bipartisan manner, and the differences between the tickets.

Those differences are there for voters to see, he said.

“There is a very stark choice for the people of New Hampshire to make.”

Romney spokesman Michael Levoff agreed.

“Under President Obama, we will have four more years of the last four years, with a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency,” Levoff said. “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will once again make America the best place to start a business, expand a business or find a job.”