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US Vice Presidential Candidates to Meet in Pivotal Debate

The 2012 U.S. presidential campaign reaches another pivotal moment Thursday when Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican challenger, Representative Paul Ryan, meet in their only scheduled debate. 


The nationally televised event at a small college in the south-central state of Kentucky comes as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is gaining momentum in voter opinion polls after his strong performance in last week's debate against the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama. 


The 69-year-old Biden is widely regarded as an experienced debater and skilled politician, based on his 36 years in the Senate before becoming vice president in 2009.  He is expected to help the campaign overcome Obama's lackluster debate performance.  But Biden is also known for making occasional embarrassing gaffes, or misstatements, due to his exuberant nature.


Ryan, a 42-year-old congressman from the midwestern state of Wisconsin, is considered a rising star among conservative Republicans for his ideas to cut the federal deficit and revamp Medicare, the federal government's health insurance program for elderly Americans.  But he has far less experience on the national stage than Biden, having served in Congress for just 14 years.


Meanwhile, the presidential contenders will be on the campaign trail Thursday.  Obama will hold a rally in (the southeastern state of) Florida, while Romney will spend another day campaigning in Ohio before traveling to Virginia.  Those three states hold a combined 60 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the November 6 election.


The Des Moines Register newspaper in (the midwestern state of) Iowa, another crucial swing state in the November election, published an interview Wednesday with Romney in which he declared he would not pursue any legislation aimed at restricting or outlawing abortion if he were elected. 


The Obama campaign accused Romney of contradicting his previous anti-abortion stance.  But speaking to reporters in Ohio, Romney insisted that he is a "pro-life candidate" and would be "a pro-life president."


New by Voa News.



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