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CAMPAIGN '08: THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE : EXCERPTS

Comparing the candidates on the issues

October 03, 2008

On Iraq

Biden: "Barack Obama's offered a clear plan: Shift responsibility to Iraqis over the next 16 months. Draw down our combat troops. Ironically, the same plan that [Nouri] Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, and George Bush are now negotiating. The only odd man out here, only one left out is John McCain. . . . We're spending $10 billion a month while the Iraqis have an $80-billion surplus. Barack says it's time for them to spend their own money, have the 400,000 military we've trained for them begin to take their own responsibility, and gradually over six months -- 16 months, withdrawal. . . . John McCain has been dead wrong. I love him. As my mother would say, God love him, but he's been dead wrong on the fundamental issues relating to the conduct of the war."

Palin: "I am very thankful that we do have a good plan and the surge and the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq that has proven to work. . . . And with the surge that has worked, we're now down to pre-surge numbers in Iraq -- that's where we can be. We can start putting more troops in Afghanistan as we also work with our NATO allies who are there strengthening us and we need to grow our military. We cannot afford to lose against Al Qaeda and the Shia extremists who are still there, still fighting us, but we're getting closer and closer to victory. And it would be a travesty if we quit now in Iraq. . . . Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that's for sure."

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On taxes

Biden: "No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised, whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax. . . . The economic engine of America is the middle class. It's the people listening to this broadcast. When you do well, America does well. Even the wealthy do well. This is not punitive. John wants to add $300 million -- billion dollars in new tax cuts per year for corporate America and the very wealthy while giving virtually nothing to the middle class."

Palin: "Now you [Joe Biden] said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been, you know, all of our lives, that's not patriotic. Patriotic is saying, Government, you know, you're not always the solution -- in fact, too often you're the problem. So, government: Lessen the tax burden on the private sector and on our families and get out of the way and let the private

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On climate change

Biden: "I think it is man-made. I think it's clearly man-made. And, look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden -- Gov. Palin and Joe Biden. If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is man-made. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting."

Palin: "I'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet. But there are real changes going on in our climate. And I don't want to argue about the causes. What I want to argue about is how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts?"

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On Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan

Biden: "John [McCain] continues to tell us that the central war in the front on terror is in Iraq. I promise you, if an attack comes in the homeland, it's going to come as our security services have said, it is going to come from Al Qaeda planning in the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's where they live. That's where they are. That's where it will come from. And right now that resides in Pakistan. A stable government needs to be established. . . . Look, we have spent more money -- we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country."

Palin: "As for who termed that central war on terror being in Iraq, it was Gen. [David H.] Petraeus and Al Qaeda, both leaders there, and it's probably the only thing that they're ever going to agree on, but that it was a central war on terror is in Iraq. You don't have to believe me or John McCain on that. I would believe Petraeus and that leader of Al Qaeda. An armed -- nuclear-armed especially -- Iran is so extremely dangerous to consider. . . . Our nuclear weaponry here in the U.S. is used as a deterrent. And that's a safe, stable way to use nuclear weaponry."

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On the vice president's role

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