(CNN) - The economic recession. China's one-child policy. The "sands of Iraq." The Bush-era tax cuts.
What do they have in common?
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Vice President Joe Biden has called them all "God-awful."
And he used the phrase multiple times at a campaign speech on Wednesday in Dubuque, Iowa, including when criticizing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"I think his foreign policy is right out of the Cold War and his economic policy is just doubling down on the eight years of the last administration that put us into this God-awful mess in the first place," he said. "I honest to God believe that is the fundamental difference between us."
The economy has "created over 4 million of those private sector jobs," he continued, but "we've got a long long way to go to dig us out of that God-awful hole we were pushed in."
Earlier this month, he told the U.S. Conference of Mayors coming into office in 2009 was "like walking into a meat grinder."
"You, among any group of elected officials, have seen up close and personal the incredible impact of this God-awful recession we inherited - all of us inherited, Democrats, Republicans, president, congress, governors, mayors," he said at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "We all began in 2009, I'm not going to go about who is responsible, who is at fault or why it happened."
It's a phrase he's used before - many times - to describe more than simply the economy.
He vividly recalled the heat of the Middle East when speaking to veterans at a White House dinner in March.
"More than a million of you strapped on desert boots and walked across those God-awful sands of Iraq, with temperatures up to 135-140 degrees, averaging about 117 degrees in the summer," he said.
In April, the former Delaware senator described tax cuts in an appearance on MSNBC.
"What goes through my mind is that was the same argument sitting on the Senate floor, listening to George Bush make when he put that God-awful tax cut through for the super wealthy without paying for it," he said, arguing that what followed the tax cuts was "slower job growth than any time in 50 years."
The MSNBC host asked him about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "You think this is an instant replay?"
"This is an instant replay," Biden said. "All this God-awful additional tax cut, the Romney rule wants to put in there, another $250,000 a year tax cut for the average person making over a million bucks, on top of the Bush tax cuts?"
And in early June, he recalled at a high school graduation in Miami, Florida the late 1960s, when "Dr. Martin Luther king was assassinated in Memphis three months before my graduation day. There were riots in many cities in America, including my own. Wilmington, Delaware was burning."
"As a young public defender, I still imagined, with my generation, that we could heal this God-awful situation. That we could rise out of the ashes, and maybe find a way out together," Biden said.
His use of the phrase also isn't new this spring.
"The insurance industry [spent] hundreds of millions of dollars to make the health care bill out to be this God-awful tragedy," he said in a July 2010 interview.
In 2006, he used it to describe the war in Iraq as well.
"We put our U.S. soldiers in the most God-awful position they can be put in," Biden said. "We put them into a situation without any plan as to how to occupy a country."