Biden to firefighters: Romney doesn't understand you
July 25th, 2012
05:34 PM ET
6 years ago

Biden to firefighters: Romney doesn't understand you

Philadelphia (CNN) - Vice President Biden spoke to a friendly convention of firefighters on Wednesday, praising them for their work and stating that Mitt Romney's presidential aspirations represent a threat to their economic livelihoods.

First calling Romney a decent family man, the vice president went on to portray the Republican presidential candidate as out of touch.

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"[Romney] said, 'Guaranteeing the government will keep its fire, police and teachers intact is not an effective way to get the economy rolling again,'" Biden quoted.

"I don't think he understands what you're all about....what makes you decide to go into this profession that you couldn't pay enough to 90% of the population, including me, to do what you do, everyday."

Biden also sought to tie Romney's policy priorities to those of others in the GOP.

"I think this new Republican Party looks at you as both the reason for - and the solution to– this God-awful recession we inherited," the vice president said. "We inherited, by the way, because of their policies –the same policies they're continuing to push."

"They look at your ranks and they see an easy place to cut budgets to accommodate their priorities. Not just you: cops, public workers, generally."

The vice president spoke to over 3,000 firefighters attending the 51st convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Philadelphia. President Obama will speak to the gathering, by telephone, on Thursday, CNN has learned.

It was sure to be a friendly reception. During his speech, Biden reminded the audience of his long ties to unions, and firefighters in particular, and played up his and the administration's work on their behalf. Many in the crowd applauded enthusiastically during Biden's speech.

"A Republican Congress elected in 2010, overwhelmingly bent on obstruction, obstructing our efforts to help you to protect your jobs and keep enough people on the force to be able to protect your lives," the vice president said, referring to GOP opposition to the Recovery Act. "Because what most people don't know out there is your lives are more in jeopardy, literally in jeopardy, when you respond [to emergencies] without a full complement of firefighters."

Despite claims from Republicans that the stimulus wasted billions and did not spur economic growth, Biden used a direct appeal to the firefighters to claim that it worked.

The act "allowed fire departments to re-hire, to avoid layoffs."

Throughout the speech, Biden cast the GOP as unmoored from its more principled past.

"This is not your fathers Republican Party," the vice president said. "They really, really believe that they have to cut you and millions of other middle class Americans in order to rebuild this economy. Because they believe it is core...that the way to rebuild the economy of this great nation is from the top down."

In response to the vice president's remarks, Romney campaign spokesman, Ryan Williams, sent a statement from a retired battalion chief for the Philadelphia Fire Department.

"Joe Biden can come to Philadelphia, and he can try and tell the hard working men and women of this city that he understands what we've been going through. But no matter what he says, he can't cover up the words of the President. The President may think the private sector is 'doing fine.' He may want small businesspeople to believe that they 'didn't build that.' But we know that he is simply out of touch with the struggles that middle class Americans are going through, and that he doesn't understand what drives the American economy. The President and Vice President should remember one thing – they didn't build our success. We did," said Fred Donnelly, retired, battalion chief, Philadelphia Fire Department.

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    The act "allowed fire departments to re-hire, to avoid layoffs."
    Maybe until the freshly printed money dried up and they had to be laid off anyways. Now our kids are sitting their holding the $800 BILLION bill to repay and the fire fighters STILL had to be laid off because they could not be afforded.

    Obama and Biden JUST DON'T GET IT. The government exists to provide for the people and the private sector what they CAN AFFORD. The government does not exist to provide jobs for everybody that some federal bureacrat thinks need a government job. Professional politicians that have never had a real job have a hard time understanding this very fundamental truth. they have been in government so long they have lost touch with reality.

    July 25, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    Biden don’t get it , Romney can own a fire department, he is super rich

    July 25, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Bootstomper

    Obama up 6 in none other than the wall street journal poll. WSJ is mitts kind of people.

    July 25, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Vito

    I would like to know why has'nt anyone mention the fact of Joe Biden when running for President, he said that Omama was to young to run a country, no expierence he said, and yet when he was chosen for V.P. on the ticket everything changed. Was this his price for becoming V.P. ?

    July 25, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. ron

    Actually, romney does understand "you people". "You people" spend too much time protecting the lives/property of "common people". "You people" need to be paid to protect the rich. Since the rich don't suffer many fires, "you people' should be paid less money for fewer hours. That way when "you people" get the call to go to work for the rich, you'll appreciate having a job that much more and will show up and do that much of a better job! And, some of you are republicans to boot!! LOL

    July 25, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Myviewis

    Biden should have gone into acting, wow, his good at theatrics. Seriously, he thinks Romney is against firefighters? This coming from a man that supports a president whose very words said he is anti-small businesses, they're the ones who started a witch-hunt against small businesses and on top of that they want to nail us with more taxes leaving nothing in the bank for us to work with.

    I am glad Biden reminded them of his long ties to Unions because this what matters to Obama and Biden=UNIONS. They are more into protecting Unions and the money they make than making sure Americans are working.

    We small businesses are always looking out for the firefighters and firefighters know it, when they need us we are right there with them helping them in which ever way we can and we do take on financial burdens when needed in our communities. Give me a break, Biden just fills his mouth with nonsense but it is us that build our businesses and it is firefighters dedication and good work that built their success.

    July 25, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

    Tax Cuts for Millionaires + Increased Military Spending = Reduced Deficit

    Source: Romney Economics

    July 25, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    Bootstomper – Obama up 6 in none other than the wall street journal poll.
    Margin of error is 6%. It's called a statistical tie. National polls aren't really import though as this will come down to a few battleground states. Those states polls are what matter. Winning the popular vote doesn't matter, just ask many of the losers that have won the popular vote yet lost the election.

    July 25, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. dontbow

    BIden only understands trashing others for personal gain. He has no business openinig his mouth.

    July 25, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Rex

    well, Mr Biden, you've had almost 4 years to change things.. you haven't.. it's time to get some new blood in, and do what President Reagan did, get the economy moving again..

    July 25, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. CBR

    Heed his words. He is not wrong about this.t

    July 25, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. mississippi

    a retired fireman got his now he cares lest about firemen still saving lives that's GOP, TEA PARTY WAY OF LIFE

    July 25, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Q

    Republicans are constantly demonizing public employees like police and firefighters, but are the main ones that will dial 911 when someone breaks into their homes are if it catches on fire.

    July 25, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. To: Forward into the .....

    It is interesting in your rebuttals you fail to use facts – you manufacture the statistics you use! Rationalization is a wonderful tool but it is not the "truth" as you put it. Why don't you just "Suck It UP and QUIT WHINNING"! When you look at FACTS – Bush blew through a Surplus and we were hemoridging jobs when he left office! And Two wars which were not funded. I know you practice Denial – but under Obama we have stopped the hemoridging and are adding and saving jobs – unlike Romney who would OUTSOURCE THEM AS HE DID WHILE GOVERNOR OF MASS. These are Facts!

    July 25, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Name bullock

    Biden and obama out 2012

    July 25, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hell, Robmey doesn't understand anybody that makes or is worth less than seven figures.
    The good news, however, is that he doesn't need to because he won't be our President.
    Obama 2012. Because the presidency of the United States is NOT for sale.

    July 25, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Learn to Fish

    Love all the "we inherited" whining, as if the economy wasn't what they campaigned on. Although, their actions would make more sense if they didn't understand the state of the economy in 2008.

    July 25, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Forward into the

    Have you ever said anything positive about a Democrat? You fail to use any facts or logic in you arguments – try actually reading what is going on and shut off FOX News, and Rush.

    July 25, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. GonzoinHouston

    Mitt Romney has displayed very little empathy for the middle class, and it may be because he has had none of the life experiences that the middle class goes through: He's never had a mortgage, never made a car payment, never worried about what a layoff would do to his family. He's never worried about health insurance. He's never lain awake at night thinking "How on earth am I going to put 5 boys through college?" He's never had to scrimp to save up for anything.

    I've never heard him say anything sympathetic about the people who lost jobs because of Bain. I will grant you, the layoffs were probably necessary to prevent the whole company from folding, but that's cold comfort to those who got the pink slip. He's never said anything about trying hard to help any of those people find new jobs. I just don't think he understands how 95% of us live, and that concerns me.

    July 25, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. gt

    bfd....foul mouth joe preachers to the his people....joe has never had a job that has not been paid for from taxpayers....

    July 25, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Skunco

    Romney and his friends do not need any goverment services, because they can buy anything anytime for the rest of their lives. So why not cut. They dont need it. This is not who I want representing me.

    It's getting hard to make a buck so what do they do? Instead of doing somthing useful (the hard way) they find sneaky ways to exploit everything. Why sweat and grow your own apples when you can sit in an office chair and find a way to take them legally from others.

    And dont tell me people take money from them (taxes) their taxes are lower than they ever where and thats a fact.
    And it was never their money to begin with, tax isnt some new concept they get surprised with each year. We agree to it by staying in this country.

    And dont tell me they pay more taxes than us. Of course they do they have 1000 times the money we do, of course they're going to pay the majority of it.

    I do agree we need to cut entitlements though. Freeloaders do not need houses, tv's, cable, free medicine. Just cheap shelter, food, water, basic first aid.

    July 25, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. Sorensen

    Romney really does not understand anybody. Including himself. That is why everything he says and does is fake and
    artificial. That is why he can never connect with anybody. Including the brightest people in the GOP.

    July 25, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. anthony78

    A firefighter making 7.5o is really gonna get Willard and his 70k write off for horse dressage. And how about that car elevator...

    Wait till Mitt releases his taxes (if ever) and we come to find out he paid NOTHING in 2009. The year after most middle class Americans got hit hardest with the most losses.

    I'm pretty sure the Firefighters are going to relate to 'community organizing' President Obama, be it, these men are 'community servants' as well.

    Obama 2012.
    (because apparently Republicans don't believe anything listed below ever happened...)

    -Avoided Depression
    -START treaty
    -DADT repealed
    -AHCA passed
    -Equal Pay Act
    -OBL RIP
    -Terror Leaders Droned
    -Iraq War ended

    July 25, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  24. roma_victor

    Government exists to keep predators like Mitt Romney at bay. Without government regulators we get a world of impure food, company stores, and crumbling infrastructure, while Mitt and his rich friends eat lobster and caviar and move through the air in helicopters as they laugh at the little people suffering below them. They don't love America, they love their Cayman Island bank accounts.

    July 25, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. Larry L

    @FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    Professional politicians that have never had a real job have a hard time understanding this very fundamental truth. they have been in government so long they have lost touch with reality.
    Mitt Romney made his money the old-fashioned way... his Daddy gave it to him. He has no concept of the situation of the working class. Read the Vanity Fair article on Romney's financial dealing – then comment.

    July 25, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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