(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden had a tense exchange Wednesday with a reporter who questioned him about comments suggesting that if Republicans block a bill aimed at preserving police jobs, rapes and other crimes would increase.
"Do you regret using the rape reference to describe Senate opposition" to the bill, Jason Mattera asked Biden as he left a rally with police unions and others who have faced the budget ax in recent months.
"I didn't use ... no, no, no," Biden responded. "Let's get it straight, guy. Don't screw around with me. Let's get it straight."
"You didn't use a rape reference," said Mattera, of the conservative news organization Human Events.
"No, let me explain," Biden said, pointing toward Mattera. "I said rape was up three times in Flint. Those are the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder is up; rape is up; burglary is up. That's what I said."
"And if the Republicans don't pass this bill, then rape will continue to rise?" the reporter asked.
"Murder will continue to rise; rape will continue to rise; all crime will continue to rise," Biden said.
Asked by Mattera whether it was appropriate to use such language, Biden scoffed and walked away
The exchange took place in a crowded hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building.
The conservative blogosphere has been filled with angry commentary in recent days because of Biden's suggestions that Republican opposition to the bill would lead to an increase in rapes and other crimes.
In his speech at Wednesday's rally, Biden said police departments in cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan, have been "literally cut in half" because of budget cuts.
"In many cities, the result has been, and it's not unique, murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up," he said.