Vice President Joe Biden laughed mirthlessly during the debate as Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) coolly unbraided the Obama Administration’s foreign policy—but the joke is probably on Joe.
His chipper performance last night may have boosted the spirits of woebegone liberals, but the scrappy Scranton native’s foreign policy remarks – and particularly his casting blame on the U.S. intelligence community – has caused turmoil that could spell the Democratic ticket’s demise.
There may have been a draw in the eyes of some, but as Richard V. Allen, who served as Ronald Reagan’s U.S. National Security Adviser, told me, Paul Ryan needed no more than to prove himself capable of serving as Vice President and hence, potentially, as President. “This he accomplished, and by a wide margin,” said Allen. Nowhere was Ryan’s presidential mettle on better display than on the subject of foreign policy.
The vice president, who formerly chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was touted as a foreign policy wonk in 2008, doubled down on the White House’s false narrative of the events surrounding last month’s attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Biden repeatedly brushed aside Ryan’s claim that the White House ignored requests for greater security: "We weren't told they wanted more security,” he said; “we did not know they wanted more security."
But Ryan was quick to rebuke Biden’s misrepresentation—or ignorance—of the inconvenient facts that emerged from Wednesday’s Congressional hearing. "There were requests for extra security,” said Ryan. “Those requests were not honored."
So who’s telling the truth, and who’s just spouting malarkey?
From my conversations with retired U.S. intelligence officials and foreign policy experts, it would seem not only that the facts are on Paul Ryan’s side, but that Biden’s distortions signal something more malevolent than ignorance or ineptitude lies behind the Administration’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the truth.
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