AKRON, Ohio (CNN) – Hours after drawing Republican fire over a comment that those making more $250,000 per year will be expected to pay higher taxes because “it’s time to be patriotic,” Joe Biden told supporters in a small union hall Thursday afternoon that the wealthy are patriotic but “we have not asked anything of them.”
Earlier, John McCain and Sarah Palin seized on the original remark from Barack Obama’s running mate. “To the rest of America that's not patriotism,” said Palin at an Iowa rally. “Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse." McCain called the comment “just plain dumb.”
Biden said both Obama and McCain are in favor of tax cuts - but the decision over who gets them is a question of values.
“Is it a higher value that [those making more than $250,000] get that tax cut?” Biden asked. “Or should we take that $130 billion and give it to families making less than $150,000 all the way down the ladder? What do you value? Tell me what you value.”
“The point I want to make to you,” Biden added, “is wealthy people are just as patriotic as poor people. We just have not asked anything of them.”
After repeating “it’s a time to be patriotic,” Biden argued that the county has “no problem sending our kids to war” and hit McCain for not supporting the recent GI Bill.
“I tell you Democrats,” Biden said angrily, “don't you step down from anybody telling you that we don't value, we don't have American values. I have had it up to here. I have had enough. Tell me what you value!”
Biden also jabbed McCain and Palin for not holding press conferences. The Republican nominee hasn’t had one in over a month, and Palin hasn’t since being named to the GOP ticket. Biden said he was asked by a reporter what he thought of Palin but replied he didn’t know because she doesn’t talk to the press.
“I don’t have any idea. I don’t know!” exclaimed Biden. “It’s not just Sarah Palin. When’s the last time John had a press conference?”
Looking over at Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, he added, “Ted, you and I know, when elected officials stop holding press conferences, it ain’t because he’s found a new way to communicate, it’s because he doesn’t want to communicate.”
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt responded that in the midst of a troubled economy and a presidential election, “Why on earth does Barack Obama’s running mate worry so much about our media relations strategy?”