The debate was moderated by ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz. The debate covered both foreign and domestic issues. It lasted approximately 90 minutes.
The debate began with a discussion of foreign policy. Raddatz asked both candidates about the assassination of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the state of transition in Egypt were also discussed.
On domestic issues, the two men disagreed on the direction of the economy. Ryan contended, "We're heading in the wrong direction." Biden brought up Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comment about the portion of the electorate that doesn't pay taxes and are dependent on government.
Foreign policy was returned to again regarding the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Both sides agree with the timeline, but differ on tactics in the meantime. Differences over the internal conflict in Syria were also brought up.
The debate returned to domestic issues. Raddatz pointed out the historic meeting of the two men, two Catholic candidates debating on the national stage, and asked them to discuss how their faith informs their public and political lives.
Vice presidential debates historically do not alter voters' opinions much, but this year's is expected to carry more weight after last week's first presidential debate, in which President Obama did not meet supporters' expectations and GOP nominee Mitt Romney improved his poll standing with a strong performance.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama debate again Oct. 16 in a town hall-style format at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and their final faceoff, on foreign affairs, is Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.