U.S. Vice Presidential candidates Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sparred on U.S. military deployments in Iraq and several other foreign policy issues in their only television debate before November’s election. On the financial crisis, Biden reaffirmed statements from Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) that any federal government package created to deal with the turmoil should be focused on the middle class (FT). Palin attacked “predatory” lending practices on Wall Street and said Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) past positions cast him as an economic reformer.
On Iraq, Palin criticized setting a timetable for a major troop drawdown, which is favored by Obama and Biden, saying “it would be a travesty if we were to quit now in Iraq.” Biden reaffirmed Obama’s plan to shift troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and said the United States is wasting money in Iraq that could be spent more effectively fighting extremism in Afghanistan.
Here is a run-down of some of the candidates’ statements on other foreign policy issues:
Climate change: Neither candidate disputed climate change is occurring. Palin indicated it was caused both by human activity and by “cyclical temperature changes on our planet.” Biden asserted that climate change is manmade.
Darfur: Both candidates expressed support for a no-fly zone over Darfur. Biden said the United States should provide helicopters to get 21,000 African Union forces into Darfur. Palin cited her support for pending legislation that would divest the Alaska Permanent Fund from Darfur.
Iran: Palin said the U.S. president should not meet without preconditions with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Biden stressed the importance of going “the extra mile on diplomacy” with Iran to resolve the crisis over its nuclear program.