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. Diana

    " The Romney-Ryan plan will provide 12 million new jobs, higher take-home pay and a brighter future for the middle class."

    Yeah that sounds good. How are you going to do that? Oh wait, give the individuals with the higher income tax breaks. Because that's worked so well in the past to create new jobs and higher take home pay for the middle class, right? I'm tired of seeing billionaires and millionaires take home 6 figures and paying their workers minimum wage or outsourcing for labor for pennies. That's not higher incomes, and tax breaks won't make the employer raise those incomes either. How do you plan to battle them apples???

    August 22, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Pete

    Republicans can take note and watch how the Democrates have done it for decades with SocialSecurity,Medicare,Medicaid and civil rights,women's rights included..Republicans have don't zilch,nada,nothing but help corporations,WallStreet and banks,anything to help these extremist to line their pockets or have I've been wrong.I certainly don't think so!!

    August 22, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I'd like to see the Romney projections that cutting regulations and the taxes on the wealthy would help the middle class. I don't think that I have ever seen anything that comes close to that. The idea of trickle down only works in an ideal world, and we aren't there.

    August 22, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. vinci

    Biden also compared republicans to squealing pigs. Where's the story and outrage on that c n n ?

    August 22, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. greg

    tax cuts for the rich led to the economic collapse at the end of Bush's term. Cut Corporate rates. Eliminate Corporate loopholes. Tax carried interest at full rates. Let the Bush tax cuts expire.

    August 22, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  6. paul

    Republicans always discover the middle class–a few months before the election. After the election; it is the rich come first and if they feel like it, then we might throw a few crumbs your way. Biden is 100% correct.

    August 22, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  7. Michael

    If repuglcan leaders love the middle class, why vote against the American Jobs Act, and every proposal from President Obama that would help the middle class! Repuglicans like for the middle class left, evaporation of 1/2 trillion surplus, -8.9 GDP, 11 trillion national debt, 1.3 trillion deficit, 2.8 trillion in tax cuts (unpaid for)2 Wars (unpaid for), Medicare prescription plan (unpaid for), 3 trillion borrowed from China, a Wall Street, Banking, Auto, Mortgage crisis’s, losing over 700,000 jobs monthly and a economy on the brink of depression when President Obama took office!

    August 22, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  8. ardale

    Do you preface discussions of ryan or romney speeches with "an entirely white audience". they are, but you dont.

    August 22, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. zisee

    Mr. Biden, I think you are a joke and you are on another plain in this world, Joe Biden's mouth run a muck. Maybe the plugs have gotten to your brain.

    August 22, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  10. imvotingforobama

    Way to go Joe!!!

    August 22, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  11. Daveinil

    The really scary part is that this clown would be president if anything happened to Obama.

    August 22, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. longshot

    Recent poll shows who Americans blame for their economic condition: 1. congress, 2. big business. Funny thing is, that is the GOP ticket in a nutshell – Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney represent the worst of GOP trickle down party of NO, and corporate america outsourcing jobs to make stockholders rich and killing the middle class. Americans know who's killing the middle class, and its face is on the GOP ticket.

    August 22, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  13. allenwoll

    The GoP - An extremely potent hallucinogen ! ! ! : Let the DEA handle it ! ! !

    August 22, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. Mark

    Who knows, maybe someday Clueless Joe will find his brain. Maybe the Wizard of Oz could help.

    August 22, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  15. Marty

    Republicans discovered them right after the democrats destroyed them.

    August 22, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  16. mb226

    If you believe the Republicans you still believe in the tooth fairy. Obama suck but think what the USA would be like if McCain ran it. His quote in 2008, "Economics is not my strong point." Hmmm

    August 22, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. Hans Shaunnity

    I just watched Romney's lies about medicare. His claims have been debunked, and he continues to tell them. Under Romney's plan, people would only have benefits until 2016. The $716 billion has to be put back into healthcare and not given to billionaires as tax cuts, and President Obama knows this.

    August 22, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  18. Larry of MA

    Biden is a good example of why there is gridlock in DC - totally partisan – demonizing everything GOP - Folks can vote for Obama-Biden but if they reelect these two, then prepare for continuoing unemployment above 8% (20% + for blacks), and more stifling debt ...

    ABout all Joe can do is tell jokes and mock - in 3 1/2 years as VP he has not once talked intelligently about ANY issue

    August 22, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Biden might be out of a job come November, so he better keep his mocking to a minimum. And I would also suggest he do a better job than what he's been doing up to this point.

    August 22, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. RudyG

    After four years in office we have yet to hear how Obama is going to get the 14 million unemployed a job again. Where are the jobs, Mr. President??
    This is the only administration I have ever seen that is still blaming the previous one 4 years later!!

    August 22, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  21. IDontBelieveIt

    Well the Republicans may have found the Middle Class but they'd better be quick because under the Obama / Biden Administration – the Middle Class is disappearing. That's according to a report out today.

    Joe obviously read the same report and he's "smokescreening" AGAIN! He's just trying to get back into Obama's good books because rumor has it he and Obama are fighting! Like Axelrod and Cutter are fighting!
    Panic, panic, panic stations at the White House.

    August 22, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  22. GeneK

    "After nearly four years?" Try twenty-four/ The middle class has been shrinking for at least that long.

    August 22, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  23. Phil Thomas

    jThese guys are wolfs trying to dress up as Sheep, I hope the nation does not fall for this. I hope they send them and the Million Dollar backers trying to purchase this country through Citizens United packing

    August 22, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  24. Larry

    Biden is a joke, pure and simple. The thought of him as President ought to be enough to strike fear into the heart of even the most staunch Democrat. And he's going to be "crashing" the RNC in Tampa? So what. Yawn.

    August 22, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  25. Larry

    And actually, the Middle Class is continuing to weaken and diminish in numbers, thanks to the Obama administration.

    August 22, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
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