Republicans seize on Biden middle class comment ahead of debate

WASHINGTON Tue Oct 2, 2012 5:08pm EDT

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden attends a campaign event at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden attends a campaign event at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, September 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden told a campaign rally on Tuesday that the middle class has been buried for the past four years, just longer than President Barack Obama's time in the White House.

Republicans immediately seized on what they termed a "stunning admission" by Biden as evidence that Obama's policies have been bad for the economy, the day before Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney meet in their first presidential debate.

Discussing what the Obama campaign contends are Romney's plans to raise taxes on most Americans to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, Biden made his comment in an emotional speech to a crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"This is deadly earnest. How they can justify ... raising taxes on the middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in the Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes and these tax cuts?" he asked.

"We've seen this movie before - massive tax cuts for the wealthy, eliminating restrictions on Wall Street, let the banks write their own rules. We know where it ends. It ends in the catastrophe of the middle class and the Great Recession of 2008. Folks, we cannot go back to that. The president and I have a different way forward," Biden said.

Voters say the struggling U.S. economy is the most important issue in the election, and Obama's Democrats and Romney's Republicans have been jockeying over who would be better economic stewards for average Americans.

"Under President Obama, the middle class has suffered from crushing unemployment, rising prices and falling incomes," Amanda Henneberg, a Romney spokeswoman, said in a statement.

"Vice President Biden, just today, said that the middle class, over the last four years, has been 'buried.' We agree," Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, told supporters at a campaign event in Iowa.

Obama's campaign fired back that Romney's camp was making a "desperate and out-of-context attack."

"As the vice president has been saying all year and again in his remarks today, the middle class was punished by the failed (former President George W.) Bush policies that crashed our economy - and a vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is a return to those failed policies," campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement.

The U.S. presidential election is November 6.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Stacey Joyce)

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Comments (20)
usa.wi.vet.4q wrote:
Do any of you idiots remember how to compromise?

Oct 02, 2012 3:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Freedom4A wrote:
Our freedom and security are threatened, not with military threat, but economic threat. And I am tired of all the lip services by politicians. I am voting for a presidential candidate who will:

1/ impose a outsource tariff on products outsource to China and ship back to US for consumption to level the playing field for companies who stay here and help to create jobs here. If necessary, offer long-term tax incentives to companies who invest in America’s modern manufacturing infrastructure to start making products here again so that we can reduce imports and increase exports. WE CANT JUST ASK COMPANIES TO STAY AND INVEST HERE WITHOUT HELPING THEM TO COMPETE.

2/ Eliminate MFN tariff for products from China. MFN was intended to help 3rd world countries to sell their low quality products here at a competitive price. China is no longer in this category now,

3/ balancing trade by negotiating with all countries we have trade deficit with — They need to buy more American products. We have trade deficit with almost every nation on earth, can we sustain this situation for long??? NO.

I dont care it is Democrat or Republican, if you really care about the average JOE and the well-being of the country as a whole, your party must already have done the above.

Oct 02, 2012 3:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Amskeptic wrote:
“Republicans immediately seized on what they termed a ‘stunning admission’” … of course. The childishness, the spitefulness, the narcissistic self-regard, the savage ignorance of the Republicans knows no bounds and has no decency. They yet do not grasp that the reason Obama’s poll numbers have held up is because Obama is actually attempting to serve the American electorate while the Republicans serve only their corporate masters. I praaay (to God!) that the American people make this election a referendum against the influence of Republican corporate money (aka “free speech” according to the misguided souls on the Supreme Court). Joe Biden has more integrity than all of his naysayers combined.

Oct 02, 2012 3:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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