Biden, reporter face off over crime statistics
October 19th, 2011
06:47 PM ET
3 years ago

Biden, reporter face off over crime statistics

(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.


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. Robert Cloosdoosch

    Sanity

    Michigan is run by Democrats, so what is Biden's point?
    _________________________________

    Get with current events., Governor Rick Snyder is a Republican. Republicans also control the state House of Representatives and the State Senaste

    October 20, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Mark B.

    The story here is not the question. It is the answer and how Biden couldn't even take ownership of the remark. Dang Joe, if you believe it SAY you believe it when pressed. Don't think you as a public servant are beyond question. You get that from your boss?

    October 20, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Inrealityhere

    @ Max Powers – guess you misunderstood me. I agree we should pay our taxes. I believe we should not be a theocracy but we should also not abandon the Christian values that made this country great ( not suggesting that you think we should) although people have the right to do that. (and many have)

    October 20, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Joel Miller

    There's no question that the presence of more police officers curbs crime. That's precisely what brought crime down over the last decade. There's also no question that hard times mean more desperation which means more crime. Biden is right. Likewise, leaving roads in bad condition means more auto accidents. Austerity means people die. Look at red states like South Carolina with the highest violent crime rate and Kentucky with the highest cancer death rate and you'll see how Republican Austerity kills.

    October 20, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. JOE

    And you people still think our real enemies are Muslims plotting to attack America? No our real enemies are the domestic terrorist group called the tea party and the gop. They are America's downfall.

    October 20, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Dan

    Sanity – Michigan is run by Democrats? Nope, both the House, Senate, and Governor are republican....and they have cut police, education, and increased taxes on the elderly and given a massive tax break to business.

    October 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. *

    @NavyAirVet Obama had nothing to do with the increase in social security benefits.
    The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is tied to an inflation measure released Wednesday. The measure, which was adopted in the 1970s, produced no COLA in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low. Those were the first two years without a COLA since automatic increases were enacted in 1975. Social Security recipients did, however, receive a one-time $250 payment from the economic stimulus package passed in 2009. The increase is going to average whopping $39 a month, which is largely offset by increase in medicare benefits.
    Go back to hating the President because you think he wasn't born here or because he didn't wear a flag pin once, it makes you look more credible.

    October 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Inrealityhere

    Sci1
    @inrealityhere...Thank you for your opinion. But it is simply that, your opinion.

    Well, yeah, I do realize that.

    October 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Obama, Biden and his desperate Democrats will do anything, say anything, no matter how untrue, no matter how low and disgusting it may be, to cling to power. It is becoming very obvious to a large majority of Americans these horrendously divisive people are not leaders and must be removed. They seek to pit American against AMerican to further their leftist policies. Policies that have failed here and in Europe. They will not be happy until there is rioting in the streets of our country, just like Greece, their economic model.

    October 20, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Chili Dogg

    The article states: "Asked by Mattera whether it was appropriate to use such language, Biden scoffed and walked away."

    On the audio, you hear Biden's aides (handlers) saying he has to go and whisking him away before he can stick his foot in his mouth again. They got him out of there pretty quick. Sounds like they are pretty experienced in moving him away from such dangerous opportunities to say what he thinks.

    October 20, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Elizabeth M

    Biden never lets facts get in the way of a good story. The truth is violent crime is DOWN!

    According to new data from the FBI, violent and property crime rates fell in America last year. Some details of the FBI data on violent crime (comparing 2009 to 2010):
    • The overall rate dropped from 431.9 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2009 to 403.6 incidents in 2010—a decrease of 6.6%.
    • Murder fell from 5 incidents per 100,000 to 4.8 incidents—a decrease of 4%.
    • Rape dropped from 29.1 incidents per 100,000 to 27.5—a decrease of 5.5%.
    • Robbery was down from 133.1 incidents per 100,000 to 119.1 —a decrease of 10.5%.
    • Aggravated assault dropped from 264.7 incidents to 252.3 incidents—a decrease of 4.7%.

    October 20, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Inrealityhere

    @Joe
    Right, because they want the outrageous government taxing and spending to stop.
    How on earth is that America's downfall? Never mind, don't even try to explain.

    October 20, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. delbre

    2012 – the end of the parties – repugs and tea

    October 20, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. dan

    i wonder if rape and murder rates went down with the last 800 billion stimulus biden and co. pushed through. maybe the poor economy and the unions pushing work out of flint had something to do with it rather than the lack of police.

    October 20, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. EMan

    But the statistics show it’s not that simple. FBI data shows Flint had 258 police officers in 2006, and 261 in 2007. But according to CityData.com, which compiles crime rate data from across the country, the city of Flint had a higher “crime index” in 2006 and 2007 than it did in 2008 –despite the fact the number of police officers dropped significantly in 2008.

    October 20, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Jumpinjezebel

    Let's get this straight. The party of NO wants to have fewer police (and teachers and firefighters) because they don't want to supply States more funding to keep budget cuts from having to lay them off. AND since they want to throw doctors in Jail for negating a rape of your grandaughter by a gorilla in the alley – there will be more children born and on welfare costing more in social services to society. NeoCons and Baggers are so smart. "Dominion" for You – jail for the rest of us.

    October 20, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Inrealityhere

    @Anonymous
    You out to check this news site more often, ACORN doesn't exist anymore. You might recall it was shut down after congress defunded it upon accusations of voter fraud. Of course every investigation done concluded that there wasn't evidence of a single fraudulent vote. But that was months later. Still, only a couple thousand people lost their jobs, no harm no foul.

    As part of a re-branding effort by ACORN leadership, ACORN International changed its name in 2010 to Community Organizations International.[114] As part of the effort by some chapters to stay afloat by severing ties with the national organization, California ACORN changed its name to Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment,[8] New York ACORN renamed itself New York Communities for Change,[10] and an offshoot of the ACORN organization called Acorn Housing changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America[115] yet has retained the same tax and employee identification numbers that it held under its former name.[116]

    October 20, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. jack

    I have a lot of respect for police and their work, but getting a $120k a year pension plan from my tax money is crazy. The fact is that one of the reason that there is less money is becuase public workers are getting a golden egg. If you brought some cost effective measures and finacial sense approach, police could still make good money compared to the private sector. I'm sure that someone will say "they have to face bullets, etc." and I understand that, but it was ultimately their choice to choose this line of work. Besides, you want to lower crime, don't focus on the top bot focus on the bottom and start working an educating kids at an early age what is write or wrong, so that you are smart enough that jumping over the counter at mcdonald becuase someone is doing their job, or reacting by beating that person that jump with a lead pipe is going to get you in trouble. The root of the problem is where it needs to be address... want to spend my tax money, fix the root, so that ten years from now you are not asking for more money for more police.

    October 20, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Matrix09

    I don't understand? why would he "regret" stating facts and telling the truth? After all, he's not a Fox news commentator, where truth is optional, and so are facts.

    October 20, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    More of Obama using borrowed money to supply federal government jobs for LOCAL unions. A total sham. If people at the local level wish to employ more police, fire fighters and teachers THAN THEY NEED TO PAY FOR THEM. It is NOT the job of the federal government to pay for this. Would Obama be doing this if these were NON-union employees? Dang right he won't be!! A TOTAL SHAM. But that is all Obama and the Democrats know.

    October 20, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Dave

    I cannot believe that anyone takes away from this anything aside from the fact that Biden is a moron. TONS of money went to those States, and the DEMOCRATS running those States used the money to fill the pockets of union bosses, pay fat pensions AND cut police and emergency services. I am fascinated by the simpletons who HONESTLY think "well, we just didn't spend ENOUGH. Spend more." Well, brainiac, how much more? "Uh....MORE!" They have done this with every single industry they can dig their dirty little fingers into, and they've destroyed every single thing they've touched. Cars, Steel, Education, Travel, Pensions, Health Care will fall next, and still the simpletons will still be crying "MORE!" Disgusting.

    October 20, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Alina77

    Its time to ask the reporter "Do you think you know your job?" Conservative "reporters" think so. I am glad Biden pushed back IT ABOUT TIME.

    October 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. doug

    every area of this nation where rape, murder and crime are a big problem happen to be under complete Democrat rule and the people being used as pawns in the Democrat's great society plan.

    October 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. SlowGun

    @Elizabeth M

    Biden never lets facts get in the way of a good story. The truth is violent crime is DOWN!

    According to new data from the FBI, violent and property crime rates fell in America last year. Some details of the FBI data on violent crime (comparing 2009 to 2010):
    • The overall rate dropped from 431.9 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2009 to 403.6 incidents in 2010—a decrease of 6.6%.
    • Murder fell from 5 incidents per 100,000 to 4.8 incidents—a decrease of 4%.
    • Rape dropped from 29.1 incidents per 100,000 to 27.5—a decrease of 5.5%.
    • Robbery was down from 133.1 incidents per 100,000 to 119.1 —a decrease of 10.5%.
    • Aggravated assault dropped from 264.7 incidents to 252.3 incidents—a decrease of 4.7%

    ----------------------------------.

    ummm Elizabeth, the cuts haven't happen yet....Biden's point is if they do happen (Less police) then crime will go up.

    October 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Elizabeth M

    "I don't understand? why would he 'regret' stating facts and telling the truth?"

    Maybe because he neither stated facts nor told the truth. Violent crime, including rapes and murder, is down nationwide and in Flint, MI.

    In short, Biden made up stuff to fit his narrative. He's the poster boy for why politicians deserve and get no respect.

    October 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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