June 19th, 2012
03:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden: Romney is attacking public workers

(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden took a sledgehammer to Mitt Romney's position on government spending on Tuesday, accusing the GOP of launching an all-out front against public sector employees.

"You guys are under full blown assault. This is the greatest assault on the working class people and their unions that I've seen in my lifetime," Biden said at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) convention in Los Angeles

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His speech marks the latest development in the ongoing skirmish between Romney and the president over the role of the federal government in providing more public jobs.

After Obama said–then later clarified–that the private sector was "doing fine" in a press conference earlier this month, Romney made news of his own when he argued later that day that Uncle Sam needs to halt further spending.

Romney said of Obama, "he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."

Obama's campaign has since taken Romney's comment and run with it, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of wanting to eliminate key jobs for middle class workers.

On Tuesday, Biden took the attack line further, saying Republicans–led by Romney–have placed union jobs in the cross-hairs.

"They hear labor, and they think 'enemy.' They hear labor and they see an opportunity to try to scapegoat labor for the problems they created," Biden said.

Rallying his audience, the vice president charged the GOP with vilifying public employees and characterizing them as "selfish" and "caring only about" themselves.

"They really don't understand what we're about. They don't get that you're the most professional, disciplined, and well-trained workers the American people can get and deserve."

Both Romney's campaign and that of President Barack Obama have maintained the debate over how to best stimulate the economy-through the private or public sector-will be the defining choice in the election this November.

Romney has described such accusations as "absurd," acknowledging that most public sector jobs are created at the local and state level.

"The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that's completely absurd," Romney said last week on Fox News, adding that what he opposes is more federal spending.

"(Obama's) got a new idea, though, and that is to have another stimulus and to have the federal government send money to try and bail out cities and states. It didn't work the first time. It certainly wouldn't work the second time," Romney said.

Also see:

Major GOP donor eyes $100 million in donations

Rubio to shelve GOP immigration plan

Romney credits governors with states' success


Sunny Romney predicts Wisconsin win


Filed under: 2012 • California • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Tell the truth. What type of governments are steadfastly against labor unions? What type of government would outlaw any sort of joint effort by the general public to organize themselves into a concerted effort? Hmm?

    What ever your answers were, it is exacttly what Republicans have been pushing for over the last two years.

    June 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. cali girl

    Teachers, Police and Fire beware. Robmey says what happened in Wisconsin is what he wants as president.
    They will come out in full force supporting our most prized jobs in public service.

    June 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. BLKMANinAmerica

    Hey Joe it's not just Romney the entire repuk party is.

    June 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Jules

    Good ol' Joe is right. According to Romney, we don't need any more teachers, policemen (note he said men and not officers) or firefighters. But remember – Romney did file a $77,000 business expense for his horse – more than the median income of American workers, including teachers, police officers and firefighters.

    June 19, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Gee... Crazy Joe talking to his master, the labor unions, about funneling more taxpayer money to them for more jobs that cities and states can't afford. More of the same old Obama insanity. Keep digging that hole deeper and deeper no matter how many generations it takes to pay off the debt.

    June 19, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Jules

    That $77,000 from my previous post was the tax deduction Romney filed for their horse that is going to the Olympics. I hear they renamed the horse Old Seventy Seven Thousand Tax Deduction.

    June 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. AL in West Palm Beach

    Where did I here that line "let them go bankcrupt" because bailing out cities that hire teachers, firefighter, and police officers mean bailing out UNIONS. so LET THEM GO BANKCRUPT, right?

    Bailing out wall street certainly helped you pocketing a few millions more...DIDN'T IT?

    June 19, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. cali girl

    I surely bet if Robmeys little cottage in La Joya was broken into and set on fire and no one came due to budget cuts to fire stations and cut in the police force he would be singing a different tune.

    June 19, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. rs

    Well, that is the Republican way. They don't need teachers, or firemen or policeman, they can hire their own. So, in their own little twisted world, if they don't need them, they shouldn't have to expend any of their vast wealth on a government that employs public servants. Either they are too selfish to see (or worse, they are too dense to care), that for the vast majority of Americans, the value of a public education (supported by those teachers), or the protection communal policing and firefighing brings is good for the rest of us and is in fact valuable to us beyond mere dollars.

    The GOP doesn't grasp that we get the government we pay for, and the government they may envision (one not supported by taxes apparently) exists only in places like Somolia or some other third-world hole. That is the GOP vision for America. Middle class- hang on if Mr. Romney wins. It's a long way down.

    June 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. NCollins1982

    OMG this is insane!!!!

    June 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. sonnie3

    Tax and spend bidden with his mouth open again.

    June 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Drew

    Excuse me, how do you cut back on police, firemen and teachers to help the American people? Only a nit-Mitt Republican can make that statement and not laugh.

    June 19, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Name JR

    Leave it to Biden for stating the obvious. The incestuous relationship between unions and politicians has squeezed the tax base to the brink. The veil is starting to be lifted on this corruption. This will be a snowball that will give prosperity back to the real taxpayers. Not the tax recipients. Believe it.

    June 19, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. In order to pay for tax breaks for Mitt, the GOP has decided to turn off the light at the end of the tunnel

    It's not just Romney, this is the GOP m.o. these days. Of course, Romney didn't send his kids to public schools and I'm sure his grandkids won't go public either... nor will any of his NASCAR and million dollar horse owning buddies. What does he care if class sizes go to 35 or 40. It's the rest of us who won't be able to get a good education for our children. The added bonus for Mitt and friends is that their mediocre offspring will have a built in advantage over others if they are the only ones who go to decent schools. Romney doesn't care about most Americans and it shows.

    As for police, I'll bet Romney can't hear gunfire at night from any of his 6 houses... and he won't even if all the middle class neighborhoods go to pot because there aren't enough police.

    June 19, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. scmom

    Hey obama 2012 bend forward man, how's your man going to pay off the deficit you say your kids will be paying for. Seems like his half-assed proposal will increase the deficit. God forbid if you will need some social security or disability or something. I guess that you are rich and Robmey will be making you richer and you have no worries. Same old mantra I only in it for myself.

    June 19, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Enough is Enough

    AFSCME and other public sectior unions help elect the people who sit across the bargining from them at the bargining table who supposedly represent you the taxpayer. Public sector employees get better benefits than most people, retire earlier, etc. Even Roosevelt felt public employee unions should be banned. Hiring more government workers will not get us out of this mess we are in.

    Typicually their

    June 19, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Myviewis

    Oh no, we're going to have to work more hours, pay higher taxes so that those GSA employees can keep their high paying jobs and continue to enjoy making videos during work hours. Why would Public sector employees who get paid more than private sector employees want to look for work in the private sector? Better benefits? No. Hmmmm, run the chance of getting fired for not completing your work? No. Get fired for playing around at work? No. Get fired for tardiness, days off? No. Wow, I can see why Public sector employees want to work for the government. Wait a minute, is it because they get to go to Hawaii on our taxdollars?????

    June 19, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. BO Stinks

    Biden is dumber than a pile of rocks.

    June 19, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. DougCollins

    Joe biden is as much as fool as those he is talking to. His friends at AFSCME are part of the cancer spreading in America.
    Only reason they want a union is to fight the small minded gov workers they work with.

    June 19, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. equitus

    Can't you people read? Romney didn't say get rid of teachers, police, etc. He was pointing out that a plan to hire more public servants right now is not the way to get the economy moving. The key word is "more." How you all took that to mean eliminate is just shameful.

    June 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. mmad5camp

    "The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that's completely absurd," Romney said last week on Fox News, adding that what he opposes is more federal spending.

    Romney have you ever been to a military base, with a DoD school. Also are the firefighter on the base state workers? And the base police, are that state workers also? Please get a grip. Yes the Government create job, you are trying to get a Govt job, all the do nothing Congressman's have a Govt job. Find some new talking points.

    June 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. DougCollins

    Arguments against fewer police and fire fighters is like a fat kid arguing he can't have another bowl of ice cream while he holds a bag of cookies. Time to cut the fat, kid.

    June 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. georgewashington

    Walker did the same thing and it worked for him.

    June 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    Give it to him VP Biden. The bishop has been attacking workers for years while making his millions.
    WHERE IS HIS 2011 TAX RECORDS????? Why isn't somebody going after him to show us how much money he made?

    June 19, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. 1crusader

    Many people have bought into the radical idea that only a few people espoused not long ago that most of the spending that the government does is unnecessary, wasteful; and that we should do away with many public employees.Most never think about the real-world consequences of that.-less teachers and larger classes, fewer police , firefighters, and the negative impact on other public services that are funded( at least in part) with federal tax dollars.[ I was recently on an interstate in my area that could use serious repairs, as do many roadways, and infrastructure that call for federal funding , but cutbacks already in place are the cause of this.Less regulation and money going into agencies means more crime, food that's less safe, more toxic waste near our neighborhoods,hazardous work sites with more deaths, injuries; and the list goes on.

    June 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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