The following is a transcript of the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan in Danville, Kentucky on Oct. 11, 2012.
SPEAKERS: VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
REP. PAUL D. RYAN, R-WIS.
MARTHA RADDATZ, MODERATOR
RADDATZ: Good evening, and welcome to the first and only vice presidential debate of 2012, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. I'm Martha Raddatz of ABC News, and I am honored to moderate this debate between two men who have dedicated much of their lives to public service.
Tonight's debate is divided between domestic and foreign policy issues. And I'm going to move back and forth between foreign and domestic, since that is what a vice president or president would have to do. We will have nine different segments. At the beginning of each segment, I will ask both candidates a question, and they will each have two minutes to answer. Then I will encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions.
By coin toss, it has been determined that Vice President Biden will be first to answer the opening question. We have a wonderful audience here at Centre College tonight. You will no doubt hear their enthusiasm at the end of the debate -- and right now, as we welcome Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan.
OK, you got your little wave to the families in. It's great. Good evening, gentlemen. It really is an honor to be here with both of you.
I would like to begin with Libya. On a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear, there were no protesters there.
RADDATZ: it was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?
BIDEN: What is was, it was a tragedy, Martha. It -- Chris Stevens was one of our best. We lost three other brave Americans.
I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight. One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever -- wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.
When you're looking at a president, Martha, it seems to me that you should take a look at his most important responsibility. That's caring for the national security of the country. And the best way to do that is take a look at how he's handled the issues of the day.
On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 -- he ended it. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there.
With regard to Afghanistan, he said he will end the war in 2014. Governor Romney said we should not set a date, number one. And number two, with regard to 2014, it depends.
When it came to Osama bin Laden, the president the first day in office, I was sitting with him in the Oval Office, he called in the CIA and signed an order saying, "My highest priority is to get bin Laden."
Prior to the election, prior to the -- him being sworn in, Governor Romney was asked the question about how he would proceed. He said, "I wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin Laden." He didn't understand it was more than about taking a murderer off the battlefield. It was about restoring America's heart and letting terrorists around the world know, if you do harm to America, we will track you to the gates of hell if need be.
And lastly, the president of the United States has -- has led with a steady hand and clear vision. Governor Romney, the opposite. The last thing we need now is another war.