Interest Groups and Others React to the Vice Presidential Debate

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
October 12, 2012
USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact."

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain "religious employers." That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to "Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital," or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional "accommodation" for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as "non-exempt." That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation "to pay for contraception" and "to be a vehicle to get contraception." They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB's regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed "accommodation":

National Security Network
NSN Statement on VP Debate and National Security


In response to the vice presidential debate, NSN Executive Director Heather Hurlburt issued the following statement:


"Tonight, Americans saw a debate dominated by national security issues in a way unique in 30 years. The candidates discussed challenges -- Afghanistan and Iraq, the economy as a national security issue -- that are a hangover from the last decade. And they discussed other issues, including the challenges of managing the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the safety of our diplomatic personnel, that are new. Strikingly, the larger ideas behind the moderator's questions-- ending US combat presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, how best to reach a negotiated end to the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, the place of humanitarian intervention--were  all ideas advanced for the last 5-10 years by progressives.


The candidates had a number of clear, explicit questions put to them. Again, Congressman Ryan had the opportunity to dispel confusion and criticism, from bipartisan and nonpartisan voices, about his ticket's foreign policy views, and whether they differ in substance and not just rhetoric from the Obama administration. But Ryan did not do so."


The context:


Iran: Given the opportunity, Congressman Ryan was unable to explain his ticket's strategy on Iran and how it would differ from the Obama adminstration. This has long been the case. Spencer Ackerman of Wired wrote earlier this week that despite his criticisms of President Obama, "more often than not, Romney accepts the policy framework that Obama created. On Iran, he'll propose 'new sanctions' and to 'tighten the sanctions we currently have,' which is the cornerstone of Obama's Iran policy (along with cyberattacks)."  [Spencer Ackerman, 10/8/12]

Afghanistan: Similarly, on Afghanistan, Congressman Ryan lost an opportunity to lay out the Romney-Ryan strategy. Confusion about the theird strategy has existed for some time. As Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell explained back in April, Romney's various positions on Afghanistan earlier this year: "Enter Mitt Romney, whose positions on Afghanistan have been all over the map. He's criticized the Obama administration for setting a timeline for withdrawal, but he has endorsed the timeline in practice. He's denounced the idea of negotiating with the Taliban but hasn't explained how he plans to defeat the insurgent movement on the battlefield...The truth is that Romney holds more or less the same position on Afghanistan as the president - steadily turning control over to the Afghans in the run-up to 2014, while cajoling the Pakistanis to be more cooperative - but he just can't admit it." [Blake Hounshell, 4/23/12]


Syria: Congressman Ryan maneuvered to pressure Biden on Syria but was loose with the facts. As the New York Times fact-checked, "Mr. Ryan ruled out putting troops on the ground in Syria unless it 'is in the national interest of the American people.' How much did that diverge from what the administration says? Mr. Ryan essentially put himself in a place pretty close to where President Obama and Mr. Biden have been: that America's options are limited if putting ground troops into the country is off the table. The essence of the Ryan argument was that the Obama administration had acted too slowly and given Russia a veto at the United Nations. But that veto - which the Russians possess as a member of the Security Council - wasn't about taking military action against Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president who is clinging to power. It was about sanctions." [NYT, 10/11/12]


Pentagon spending: While Congressman Ryan severely stumbled in an attempted to justify the substance of his running mates defense proposal and how to pay for its $2 trillion dollar price tag. As Andrew Sullivan observes,  "Ryan has just failed to answer how he will pay for his tax cuts. Quite obviously. He has no answer. Biden kills the argument stone dead. He has exposed the mathematical impossibility. Ryan is losing on this critical question of whether the Romney-Ryan math adds up. He has no answer either on the Romney proposal to increase defense spending. He just cites the sequester as if it were Obama policy. He wasn't wiped out; but he has been solidly put on the defensive." [Andrew Sullivan, 10/11/12]


For more information or to speak with experts, please contact Sara DuBois, or 202-289-7113.




The National Security Network's (NSN) mission is to revitalize America's national security policy, and bring cohesion and strategic focus to the progressive national security community. NSN works with a broad network of experts to identify, develop and communicate progressive national security policy solution
Social Security Works


Friday, October 12, 2012
Don Owens
Lacy Crawford

Statement on Vice Presidential Debate

Social Security and Retirement Security Major Issues of Discussion

(Washington, DC) — Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan met for a nationally televised debate on domestic and foreign policy this evening at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.  Among the topics discussed were the future of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, earned benefits which touch the lives of tens of millions of Americans.  The following are statements from Social Security Works and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign:

"The American people have a choice. They can go with Representative Ryan and Governor Romney who want to raise the retirement age sky-high, slash benefits and hand our Social Security over to Wall Street.  Or they can go with Vice-President Biden and the President who see an America where Social Security remains the financial foundation for seniors, for children whose parents have died and for persons with severe disabilities. No question, Vice President Biden and President Obama will do far less harm.    But, the American people deserve more.  Yes we need our President and Vice-President to oppose privatizing Social Security.  But we need more from them. We need a commitment to oppose all benefit cuts, including raising the retirement age on today’s middle aged and young workers; to oppose cutting cost of living adjustments for those receiving benefits today.”

-Eric Kingson, founding co-director of the Social Security Works-


“For all his talk about ‘saving’ Social Security, Representative Ryan, along with Republican standard bearer, Mitt Romney, pose a clear and present danger to the program.  Their past statements make clear that they oppose Social Security on ideological grounds but know that they would lose if they were honest about it.  Paul Ryan has called it a “collectivist system” and a “welfare transfer system.” Mitt Romney, in a clear reference to Social Security remarked that “47 percent of the people are dependent on government.”  But Social Security is not welfare; it is an earned benefit.  Vice President Biden understands that and supports the program, but has bought, to use his term, the “malarkey” of non-experts, and therefore dances around the issue of what he would do to eliminate Social Security’s projected shortfall, manageable in size and decades away.  The right thing to do is state loudly and clearly that he will oppose all cuts to Social Security’s modest, but vital benefits, and instead ask the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.

-Nancy Altman, co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign-


Log Cabin Republicans
October 12, 2012
Paul Ryan Provides Strong Contrast to Obama's Inaction

(Washington, DC) - Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) provided a strong contrast in last night's vice presidential debate, promising a real change from the inaction and economic failures of the last four years.
"Last night Vice President Biden promised, 'We can and will get [unemployment] under six percent.'  But that's exactly what the current administration promised would happen in their first term and could not achieve it. How can they guarantee different results in a second term by offering only more of the same? The Obama administration's results are a record of disappointments.  Even for LGBT voters, it is still about the economic growth and job creation."




Friday, 12 October 2012
Brett Abrams
Statement by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, responding to last night’s vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan:
“MomsRising applauds Martha Raddatz for doing a masterful job moderating last night’s vice presidential debate.  But it is disappointing that, even though debate took place on International Day of the Girl, issues of paramount importance to girls and women, including family economic security, were not discussed at all.
“Nearly three-quarters of American moms are in the labor force, and half of them are the primary breadwinners for their families.  Women contribute so much to our economy, and are more than half the electorate.  Yet gender-based discrimination in hiring, promotion and wages, soaring childcare costs that exceed even the rising costs of a college education, a failure to provide access to sick days and other essential supports, didn't make it into the conversation last night.  Neglecting these critical issues in debates and in policymaking undermines the success of our businesses, the economic security of our families, and the health of our economy. We’re ready to hear answers at the next presidential debate.”
#  #  #  #  # is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination which penalizes so many others.  MomsRising also advocates for health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2012, named MomsRising’s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the third year in a row.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 11, 2012

CONTACT: Tiffany Lundquist, Josh Rosenblum

AARP Statement on Vice Presidential Debate

Danville, KY—AARP, a sponsor of activities at all four of the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, released the following statement ahead of tonight’s debate. AARP Senior Vice President John Hishta said:

“Before tonight’s debate AARP held a thought-provoking conversation on the campus of Centre College about the future of Social Security with people of diverse ages and political viewpoints.  As the Presidential campaigns and debates have progressed AARP is pleased that the candidates have begun discussing what they’d do to strengthen Social Security and Medicare for current and future generations. But our conversation today demonstrated that America’s voters still want and deserve more details about what the candidates’ plans will mean for them and their families. Americans of all ages want to hear how the candidates would strengthen Social Security and Medicare to protect the health and financial security of today’s seniors and future beneficiaries. We encourage the candidates to offer more specifics about their plans before Election Day.

“Across party lines, older voters say that getting more information on the candidates’ plans on these crucial economic security programs will help to determine their vote. We know our members vote, and they want the candidates to tell them how they’ll protect the critical Medicare and Social Security benefits that they -- and their kids and their grandkids -- count on.

“Earlier this year, we launched You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation on the future of Social Security and Medicare. We hope the debate tonight addresses health and retirement security, and we look forward to a continued dialogue on these critical issues.”

For more information on where the candidates stand in their own words see AARP’s Voters’ Guides at  Join the conversation on and

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for Americans 50+ and the world's largest-circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for the 50+ audience; AARP VIVA, a bilingual lifestyle multimedia platform addressing the interests and needs of Hispanic Americans; and national television and radio programming including My Generation and Inside E Street. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at


Show of Hands via PRNewswire

Mobile App Show of Hands sets precedent during Vice Presidential Debate: Moderates Nation

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Show of Hands user base took part in an unprecedented real-time interactive polling exercise last night during the Vice Presidential debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden.

Show of Hands is rated a 5-star Mobile App and is gaining serious momentum in the iPhone, Kindle Fire and Android mobile communities. Over 300,000 people have downloaded the app for their smart phone or tablet, and have contributed to 45 million votes overall across a wide range of topics. The app is free and anonymous, which both broadens participation and people's comfort in sharing sensitive opinions.

"We first tested real-time event polling during the 2011 Super Bowl. I thought it would be fun to get people's immediate reaction on the commercials. During the game we collected 100,000 votes, and by the end of the game we had a ranking of the fan favorite commercials – two days before the media," said Tony Bacos, Show of Hands founder and MIT graduate. "We did it again during the first 2012 presidential debate, and received 1 million website hits and over 140,000 votes."

The first presidential debate also yielded some valuable data. Show of Hands users are currently being polled weekly on their preference for President, and on how certain they were in their decision. "87 percent of voters said they were '100% certain' of who they were voting for before the debate between Obama and Romney began," Bacos stated. "5% of those users subsequently switched their vote after the debate. This demonstrates that the race is more fluid than people expected, and the 'undecided' pool might still be bigger than people think."

Nearly the same amount of users participated in Thursday's Vice Presidential debate as did in the Presidential debate. The site again saw one million age views and received around 135,000 answers to the questions polled.  "People watched their TV with their phone or tablet in hand, and had a blast participating in a deeper way than just watching," Bacos said. "TV is becoming more than a spectator sport."

To download Show of Hands and voice your opinion on a plethora of debate topics for the Tuesday October 16th debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, use these links:

Apple App Store:

Google Play:

Kindle Fire:

Interest Groups and Others Set the Stage for the First Presidential Debate

October 11, 2012

MoveOn's Lyin Ryan Dashboard to Fact Check throughout Debate

Since the GOP convention, voters have had plenty of reasons to label the Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan as Lyin' Ryan. During tonight's vice presidential debate, Political Action will partner with progressive think tanks Think Progress and the Center for American Progress to transform the MoveOn website into a real-time Paul Ryan fact checking dashboard. Political Action’s new “2012 Debate Dashboard” will equip MoveOn’s 7 million members and visitors with information to instantly share through social media networks including via Twitter using the hashtags #DebateWatch and #LyinRyan.


During the first presidential debate, MoveOn’s Romney content and fact checks were shared 77,000+ times through various social media channels.


MoveOn's members have worked all summer to hold Romney/Ryan to account along the campaign trail and reveal to voters the truth behind their plans to raid the poor and middle class and transfer wealth to the 1%.  Through the debate dashboard, members will be able to spread the truth to millions of people as they share important information across social media.


Visit on Thursday, at 9pm EST to see the “2012 Debate Dashboard” in action. Follow the #DebateWatch hashtag to receive minute-by-minute updates by @MoveOn members, and #LyinRyan for fact checks if and when Paul Ryan lies.


To speak to a member from MoveOn please contact Sahar Wali or Stephanie Rendon.


Generation Opportunity to Live Tweet Biden-Ryan VP Debate, Policy and Campaign Expert Available for Pre- and Post-Debate Analysis

Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former U.S. Department of Labor Chief of Staff with experience on more than 100 political campaigns, available for select number of interviews

Follow @GenOpportunity for polling data and insights on the opinions of young Americans throughout tomorrow night's Vice Presidential Debate

Washington, DC – (10/10/12) – Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor with experience on more than 100 political campaigns, has extensive knowledge of the context and specific impact of major political events, such as tomorrow night's Vice Presidential Debate.

Were issues of importance to young Americans addressed in the debate? What issues are the vice presidential candidates using to connect or reconnect with young voters? What issues of importance to Millennials were not raised? What comments do not mirror current polling data on young adult attitudes? How does Campaign 2008 differ from Campaign 2012 in terms of issues driving young voter decisions on candidates?

Conway can discuss new polling data on the impact of the poor economy on Millennials, as well as their attitudes toward entrepreneurship and job creation.

Generation Opportunity, the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in the United States engaging and mobilizing young Americans (ages 18-29 years old) on the important economic issues facing the nation, will be live tweeting the debate between Vice Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. 

EVENT:  Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, Kentucky, tomorrow (10/11) at 9pm ET

EXPERT: Paul T. Conway, President of Generation Opportunity, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Labor, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, with experience on over 100 political campaigns


CONTACT: Matthew Faraci at  * or David Pasch at *


Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs, and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization’s social media platforms – “Being American by GO,” “The Constitution by GO,” “Gas Prices Are Too Damn High,” “Lower Taxes by GO,” “Keep Texas Awesome,” “Jersey Proud,” and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 4 million. The pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

Read about Generation Opportunity here; visit “Being American by GO” on Facebook here, “The Constitution by GO” on Facebook here“Gas Prices Are Too Damn High” on Facebook here, “Lower Taxes by GO” on Facebook here, “Keep Texas Awesome” on Facebook here, “Jersey Proud” on Facebook here, and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook here.

For our Spanish-language page – Generación Oportunidad – click here.

Follow us on Twitter @GenOpportunity.

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FRC Action

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller

FRC Action Releases Catholic Voter Guide for Vice Presidential Candidates, Address Upcoming VP Debate at Press Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the first time in American history, two Catholic vice- presidential candidates are squaring off for America's second highest office. While both Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cite their shared faith as informing their positions, on many issues they could not be further apart.

To help clarify these differences in light of what the Church teaches, where they are permissible and where they are problematic, Family Research Council Action has compiled a Catholic Voter guide and a supporting source document. The guide is designed to help people of faith, Catholics as well as all Christians, better understand how well these two candidates' positions comport with their faith by presenting the Church's authoritative teaching on issues of conscience alongside the voting records and public statements of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

The Catholic Voter guide includes abortion, torture, marriage, euthanasia, religious liberty, immigration, the death penalty and tax credits. The guide will be distributed to parishes in key states.

One of the authors, Senior Vice President of FRC Action Tom McClusky, will be at the Vice President's debate Thursday in Danville, Kentucky and available for interviews. FRC Action along with The Heritage Foundation, Kentucky state representatives and The Family Foundation will host a press conference before the debate to discuss the voter guide and what issues they hope the vice presidential candidates address during the debate.


State Rep. Kim King, Kentucky

State Rep. Mike Harmon, Kentucky

Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, Family Research Council Action

Genevieve Wood, Vice President, The Heritage Foundation

Martin Cothran, Senior Policy Analyst, The Family Foundation

WHAT: Press Conference on Voter Guides, What Vice Presidential Candidates Should Discuss in Debate

WHERE: Constitution Square State Historic Site, 134 South Second Street, Danville, KY 40422

WHEN: 10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Thursday, October 11


Supporting Document: