June 19th, 2012
03:49 PM ET
3 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:

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

    No wonder the rest of the world is fascinated, shocked, amused by American politics. The battle of the out-of-context comments.

    Both Obama and Romney cough at the same time and see the surrogates on the other side both say "oooo ooooo – he coughed, he coughed – what did he mean by that?". It is like Beavis and Butt-head.

    Stop the madness – vote third party.

    June 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. BLKMANinAmerica

    "(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. Em Romney maybe it "didn't" work for you and people like you but for middle America and those people who keep their jobs (teachers, firefighters, police persons) IT WORK the first time and it will WORK again.

    June 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Rupert Murdoch = Josef Goebbels

    Romney says, "...It didn't work the first time. It certainly wouldn't work the second time."

    Did the Bush tax cuts and financial deregulation work the first time?

    June 19, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Hey, it's the Economy Stupid. But go ahead and stick you head in the sand. Who cares about State and Local Budgets. And who cares about the huge Federal Debt. You're not going to pay it, right?

    June 19, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Steve

    A popular argument is that unions help elect the officials that set governing policy for their members. There seems to be an assumption of quid pro quo – I will support your wages and retirement if you will support my run for office. Fair enough. What I am not seeing is the difference between unions and the Chamber of Commerce. The private sector is also actively supporting candidates that will set government policy for thier members. It sounds like the private sector (GOP?) wants to eliminate any money supporting opposition candidates. Corporations are people now. Maybe the unions should incorporate.

    June 19, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. ghtbad

    One thing is for sure. This country can not take another four years of Obama/Biden. Right now we're hanging from a cliff and if these two inept empty suits get another four years we've been pushed off that cliff. At least with Romney there may be a chance we can pull ourselves away from the cliff and save ourselves.

    June 19, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Jimmy

    Biden is not even relevant. When ppl see him they think "Union Thug". He is an embarrassment to the Obama Admin. No I am not Repub. I am Indep.

    June 19, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Name willardbullock

    I said mock out of vice presdient that I looking that he is too much temper with his problems for 4 yrs

    June 19, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Jimmy

    I can remember when I had freinds that were Repub and freinds that were Dem. With the kind of speech's that Biden gives it creates nothing but hate. We are Indep and have been cut off from certain social circles because we are not Dem. I can't say the same for the Repubs. I will not vote for these two again.

    June 19, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Dave

    Nope. Romney is attacking stupid decisions that affect our deficits, debt and unemployment.

    June 19, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. WiredweirdinSF

    Should the greedy not be attack according to the hair plugged idiot? They are in collusion with the liberal democrats to downgrade services and steal money, that is what unions do. Are you not allowed to say that in the liberal regime of the most inept, incompetentl corrupt,union toady in history? Will he snarl at us again or call us more names?

    June 19, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. 2020

    Romney never understand working class, hard workers. To him, he loves to fire workers. He has no heart, no compassion, no respect to workers who contribute to the economy and betterment of society. SHAME ON YOU, ROMNEY.

    June 19, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. lies from the right but mostly hate

    The gop is attacking women,minorities,middle class,unions,private sector,public sector,gays,poor people, elderly,basicly anyone that does not earn more than a million a year and has to get up every morning to either go to their jobs or seek employment.

    June 19, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. ejktexas

    Who knew this country was in so many wars? War on unions, war on women, war on religion, war on Christmas, war on traditional marriage, war on success, war on failure, war on the middle class.....

    Why don't we end the important ones first? End the overseas wars. End the war on drugs. End the war on civil liberties by ending big government. Do those 3 and the rest will fall into place.

    June 19, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    @lies from the right but mostly hate
    Very well put, but instead of using the word attacking, it's more like the GOP are practicing "Genocide" against those you named that don't earn a million or more a year.

    June 19, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Nanson Hwa

    The political right does not like unions because it cuts into their profit margins in running a business or corporation. If it wasn't for unions the working segment of the population would be subjected to the tyranny of the organized minority and the divided majority would be reaping the crumbs of produced wealth and savings.

    June 19, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. edbonfla

    I agree with Gov. Romney in that most public sector jobs are created at the state and local levels, and rightfully so! He is not opposed to public sector jobs - just the federal government "paying" for them. I do not want to pay more federal taxes to support the governments in far-flung states that can't manage themselves and for which I have no recourse (vote) to get rid of the incompetents. The federal government should not be bailing out those states and their citizens because they can't figure out that their state/local governments are miserable failures. If those people had to pay more state and local taxes just maybe that would be the wakeup call to make the necessary changes.

    June 19, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    Federal stimulus money is the only reason people here in Wisconsin haven't seen the real effects of the draconian budget cuts forced by Governor Scott Walker on the schools and local governments, and look where that got us. Maybe the Feds should step out of the picture for a while so voters can see what it is that they've really bought. Then the Dems can step back in for the next hundred years, if there is any economy left. Austerity will be a political and economic disaster, but if disaster is what the people want, let the Republicans have it...

    June 19, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. brown pride

    Romney attacks are only the beginning if he gets elected we will be envious of third world nations.

    June 19, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Right, teachers, firemen and policemen are not AMERICANS! Screw them, right Romney and the Republican party think!! The Private sector is doing well in comparison to the Public sector is what the President was driving at, and some idiot spun it to say just the opposite!! This I guess is the funny politics that we have to go through every four years!! Go Team Obama!

    June 19, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Marines1969

    The first stimulus was all about the public sector and tax breaks. Obama and dems are not interested in the rest of the American people. Just those groups that can get him re-elected.

    June 19, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. NameScott

    Joe "stand up chuck"Biden. Does anyone really listen to a word this man says?

    June 19, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I now see why the republicans are up in arms about our president doing the right thing on immigration. Who would hire a republican when you can hire someone who is actually willing to work?

    June 19, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. The GOP needs to pack up and leave

    The GOP is attacking workers, women, minorities, the middle class, everyone that isn't older, white and male.

    June 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. J.V.Hodgson

    The debate about who created the cliff will go on forever so put aside that issue/ debate.
    For this election it is about how to fix it and government policy to do it.!?!?
    Stiglitz and Krugman say respectively increasing consumer demand or the spending power of the middle class. Krugman says more Economic targeted stimulus to create jobs and update our economic infrastructure.
    The Republican answer is more tax cuts ( a cost to the budget and increasing debt) and severe Austerity via government spending cuts at state and Federal level ( not working in Europe) as unemployment is rising and many EU nations now in double dip recession i.e negative GDP
    If you add to that more wars and war mongereing and increasing defense spending how on earth do you balance a budget which does not pay off national debt only a surplus does that.
    Draconian balanced budget measures will create a double dip recession in America, just like Europe.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    June 19, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
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