August 22nd, 2012
06:40 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden: Republicans have 'discovered the middle class'

Detroit (CNN) – In front of a friendly audience, Vice President Joe Biden repeated a crowd-pleasing political attack against Republicans on Wednesday – with a new level of sarcasm.

"It's amazing, they discovered the middle class," the vice president said mockingly against his rivals. "And they care about it. They're running to save the middle class."

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Biden began the swipe by referencing the tough economic conditions the Obama administration inherited when it took office – a situation brought on by Republican policies, Biden claimed.

It was one of many seemingly ready-made applause lines Biden laid out for an audience of over 1,100 supporters – mostly African Americans - at Renaissance High School in inner city Detroit. It was the second of a two-day campaign swing that began in Minnesota on Tuesday.

Those at the Detroit event expressed their agreement with several of the vice president's points. At the beginning of his remarks, the crowd even booed the first mention of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"No, no, no," Biden said, attempting to tamp down the jeers. "I disagree with him on almost everything, politically. But he's a decent man."

Yet, Biden stoked the audience displeasure with political attacks.

At one point, he repeated his fresh assessment of the man who wants his job, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

"Congressman Ryan, who is again a good man and a good family man, he has given definition to Gov. Romney's vague commitments…up to now," Biden said. "Now we know Congressman Ryan and…the Republicans in the Congress, they–as one person said–they have already passed in the Republican House what Gov. Romney is promising to pass for the whole nation."

"They call their new economic plan, what they're talking about, they call their plan new, they call it bold and they call it gutsy. But the neighborhood I come from, there's nothing gutsy about giving a millionaire another tax break. There's nothing bold about cutting Medicare, Medicaid and education and research and development in order to pay for that tax cut."

At another turn, Biden lumped his opponents together as sort of political bogeymen who would throw the country into deeper economic misfortune.

"Their theme is, 'Restore the dreams and greatness of this country.' But what I'm telling you, is that the very plans the congressman voted for over the last 14 years, the very economic policies the governor supported over this period of time – as governor and as a businessman – they are the very same policies that put America's greatness in jeopardy."

Biden also tailored his remarks to play up the administration's actions to bail out Detroit's automobile industry in 2008–actions that are popular in Michigan but derided by many conservatives.

"In spite of Gov. Romney's insistence that we, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," we rescued the automobile industry - saving 1 million jobs," Biden said, referencing a now famous newspaper piece from Romney. Since then, Romney has argued that he deserves some credit for his proposal to save the auto industry.

"I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back," he said in May. "My own view is that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help. And frankly, that's finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy."

Romney's campaign responded to Biden's speech.

"For millions of middle-class families, Vice President Biden couldn't be more out of touch with the state of the economy," spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.

"After claiming yesterday 'the middle class is coming back,' the Vice President is now claiming that 'Detroit is getting back up.' But after nearly four years, middle-class families are struggling with lower income, fewer jobs, and increasing unemployment. The Romney-Ryan plan will provide 12 million new jobs, higher take-home pay and a brighter future for the middle class."


Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Minnesota
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    So Joe stuck pretty much with negative swipes? How about a plan from Obama/ Biden 2012? Anything? Not yet, huh?
    How about the last over 3 1/2 years of work you have done on the same problems facing the nation now? Going to avoid that conversation too, huh? Good idea. Best swept under the rug. But you know Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are probably going to bring it up in the debates. Might want to polish up your excuses.

    August 22, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. 2020

    Ryan add-on makes this election AN REFERRANDUM OF THE DO NOTHING CONGRESS.

    What is its poll number? 18? that is high, too high.

    Ryan ibudger like a nerd, numbers means nothings to human.

    No one deny life, but Ryan is an extreme fanatic. He plays God.

    No, it is wrong, Ryan.

    August 22, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Mike

    For some reason the last sentence of the article strikes me as a lie. I'm pretty sure if romney is elected he will be conferencing in the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson about what they want to do first.

    August 22, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    Sorry Mr. VP, but they are still looking because when your nose is up in the air like theirs they can't afford to look down to see how the rest of the 99% are doing. Mainly because they don't care!

    August 22, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. BlkPwr817

    Funny how they FAIL to care about it from 2000-2008. Wasn't a big issue to them then, just like it's a non-issue to them now. Rich only get Richer in RomneyHood Land...Soon you'll understand!

    August 22, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. myviewis

    What??? I just read in the Dept. of Labor that Detroit's unemployment rose 0.1% in June 2012 to 9.7%. What is this crazy Biden talking about??? I also read the economy didn't get better in Michigan it is just that people's benefits have ran out or just stopped looking for work because there is no work in Michigan. Talk about twisting the truth.

    August 22, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. Af

    These are false promises, Romney had said to give more tax cut for those millionaire because they pay $6.50/hr wage to middle class people.Romney has over $250m and middle class people are paying more tax than him. Romney Ryan go away, anti- middle class politician

    August 22, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. D. Tree

    Romney & Ryan claim they will "provide 12 million jobs" and "Higher take home pay,".... and they'll do it while cutting spending AND giving themselves a tax cut. What a bunch of liars – they'll say anything to get elected, and then they'll give us more Bushonomics. No thanks! I'll stick with Obama, because at least we're steadily adding jobs. !

    August 22, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Jeff

    I don't mind the bold statements from Gov. Romney's campaign. I would just like to hear some of the details on how he intends to create 12 million jobs, while increasing take home pay. Technically, one could increase overall take home pay by creating 12 million minimum wage jobs and forcing all unemployed people into those jobs, inherently increasing tax home pay from 0 to minimum wage. This is not what I'm suggesting will happen, but without details one is left to speculate.

    August 22, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. Lip Service - nothing more

    "Biden: Republicans have 'discovered the middle class'
    -------------------------

    Where? In a Wikipedia? Republicans can't even answer a few siimple questions on their own issues. The only thing republicans have discovered is that Tampa is in Florida, and its going to be humid.

    August 22, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Now, Joe, the Republicans always rediscover the Middle Class every time an election comes around. Then they promptly forget about them on January 3 for Republicans in Congress and January 21 for Republican Presidents. The problem is about 4 months before the elections, the Republicans manage to convince enough of the Middle Class that they have not ignored them for the previous 20 months.

    August 22, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. dontbow

    maybe next he can discover why he never received a brain.

    August 22, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. GOP = Greed Over People

    Give 'em Hell, Joe!

    August 22, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Why doesn't somebody ask romney the tax cheat ,how he is going to produce 12 million new jobs, with higher pay or are we soppose to guess ??????romney didn't create any new jobs in,mass while he was gov. I was there ,while he was MIA runing around the country for president. Guess what the most asked question was at the time, where's the govenor romney ????? Answer , I don't know !!!!

    August 22, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. DSO

    Republicans fail to realize we need to raise taxes. Democrats fail to realize we need to cut spending. We are a long way from balancing our budget. Do the math, people!

    I can understand why the Democrats want to tax the rich – because it sounds good to every one else (i.e. the not-so-rich), and the Democrats are better at counting votes than they are at counting dollars.

    August 22, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. CBR

    G0od for Joe Biden. Republicans have not done much for the middle class. Their future plans will help those in the higher income brackets. They want small businesses to succeed but not one of them will give the whole story. Big box stores have pushed small businesses out. All of us are responsible as well because we run to the big box stores to get better prices which they can offer because they buy in volume from China and other Asian countries. It is not fair to blame the President for this shift in allegiance. If you continually shop in big box stores you cannot complain about the financial disparity and don't complain about the lost jobs. We reap what we sow and we buy from countries that moved their manufacturing plants overseas where people do not even get paid the minimum wage. No one worries about the workers they just want the goods made whiile they keep the costs low.

    August 22, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. Another Ex-Republican

    Too little too late to be concerned about us now republicans you blew it years ago. Thank you President Obama and Vice President Biden for caring about us.

    August 22, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. Anon

    Republicans certainly don't care about the middle class though.

    August 22, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Squigman

    I doubt that they have. But if enough of the middle votes, then they'll hear loud and clear. The only way to get they're attention, is to hit them in the wallet. If they get their big pay taken away, they might become humble enough to join the middle class. Until this happens, they're clueless.

    August 22, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    well with the Ryan budget and Romney's tax plans both favoring the wealthy and upper 1% who else is left for the GOP to balance the budget on but the middle class and the poor of course since programs will be taken away from them at a record pace. So the GOP needs to discover us so somebody can help get out of this hole we are in.

    August 22, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. Yeah right

    The republicans have found the middle class. Yeah right. Romney's horse is more middle class than most in the US.

    August 22, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  22. eciam

    Yes Romney, "You Build It" in the Cayman Islands !
    P.O. Box Fake Company

    August 22, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Lizzie

    Cranking it up at a roaring campaign rally, Biden says: “With you we can win North Carolina.”He was in Virginia at the time.Earlier, he told the crowd, ““Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street.”Then slipping into a southern accent, he finished with, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”Nice move, Joe … except the many black folks in the crowd weren’t laughing.A day later on the campaign trail he tells supporters:  ”Folks, where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles?Okay, so the guy doesn’t know what century we’re in?  He can’t know everything!And bless his heart, remember when Joe, at a rally in Washington, had those nice things to say about the guy’s dead mother.“His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she’s- wait- your mom’s still- your mom’s still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul.”Make fun of him if you will … but Joe Biden is the kind of guy who acknowledges the little people in the crowd …“Stand up, Chuck, let ‘em see ya.”He was referring to Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham – who is in a wheelchair.Hey, anybody can make a mistake.  At least Joe cares about the middle class.  In Athens, Ohio, campaigning in 2008, he got the faithful going with a shot at John McCain …“Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”Yes, Joe, and 2 plus 2 equal 6,000.Speaking to the House Democratic Caucus, at a retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia, Biden channeled his inner Yogi Berra and said, “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong
    ”Maybe, but what are the chances that he’s going to get the name of the guy who put him on the ticket wrong.
    “A man I’m proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States – Barack America!”

    August 22, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. TommytheT

    Funny, Mr Biden always knew where the Middle class was...beneath him...need proof, watch how he talks to them win not a rally and just trying to appear one of them.

    August 22, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. averageamericanblogger

    Republicans have always been for the middle class, like they have always been the party of freedom. While the Dems were passing Jim Crow laws and hanging around Tammany Hall, Republicans were fighting to give women the vote and Create the first National Park.

    The fact is Dems hate the middle class, because the middle class doesn't care for big government. Corporations LOVE big government, welfare queens and kings LOVE big government, the middle class – not so much.

    Every leftist and statist of every stripe throughout history has targeted the middle class.
    "The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation." Vladimir Lenin

    Democrats want people in poverty, because people in poverty vote Democrat and are dependent on government.

    August 22, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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