Vice president Joe Biden and his Republican challenger Paul Ryan clashed over tax policy on Thursday in a feisty election debate less than a month before the US presidential election.
The Democratic incumbent mocked White House hopeful Mitt Romney's plan to cut taxes without increasing the deficit or taking away popular tax credits for ordinary Americans, declaring it was "not mathematically possible."
Ryan insisted it was indeed possible, and cited the example of a former Democratic president, to Biden's amusement. "Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates and increased growth," Ryan said.
"Now you're Jack Kennedy," spluttered Biden. "This is amazing"
The line raised a laugh among audience members who recalled a similar exchange in the 1988 vice presidential debate, when Democrat Lloyd Bentsen famously told Republican Dan Quayle: "You're no Jack Kennedy."
Biden accused Ryan of planning to cut taxes by $5 trillion and to increase defense spending, which he said would explode the US budget deficit or force the government to increase the effective middle class tax rate.
But Ryan insisted the tax cuts would help kickstart growth.
"Our entire premise of these tax plans are to grow the economy and create jobs. It's estimated to create seven million jobs. We think that government taking 28% of a family and business's income is enough," he said.