Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) – On Tuesday, as a secretly recorded video flared up problems for Mitt Romney, Vice President Joe Biden largely held his fire. But by Friday, the vice president refused to hold his tongue any longer - and pounced.
Over two campaign events in New Hampshire, Biden mounted a full-throated response: he questioned how Romney could “be so profoundly wrong about America” and claimed the former Massachusetts governor “does not understand” the middle class.
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The vice president even checked Romney’s outward behavior.
“Look at his demeanor and everything he’s said in the campaign,” Biden said. “He means what he says, he actually thinks that these people believe they’re entitled. That these people have become dependent, they see themselves as victims.”
At issue is the secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney at a May fundraiser. In it, Romney said: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.”
"There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them,” Romney added. “Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”
Romney has defended the substance of his comments, saying his economic message will not be attractive to those who do not pay income taxes. And many Republicans have come to his defense. Among their arguments: citing the nearly half of American taxpayers who, indeed, do not pay federal income taxes.
But Democrats have pounded Romney since the tape was revealed.
Biden added to the chorus of criticism during his two New Hampshire events: an afternoon stop at Dartmouth College in Hanover and at an evening rally at the New Hampshire state house in Concord.
“By now, all of you have heard or seen on television what Romney said at a fundraiser of big donors,” the vice president said in Hanover.
“He thinks these folks believe they’re entitled. That they’ve become dependent, they see themselves as victims who won’t take responsibility for their own lives.”
“How could he be so profoundly wrong about America?” Biden thundered. “How is that possible?”
At the Concord event, the vice president went further.
Repeating the “profound misunderstanding” charge, Biden added: “My dad used to have an expression. He’d say, ‘Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problem. But I at least expect them to understand my problem.’ And this man does not understand.”
Romney’s campaign responded to Biden’s comments.
“With record levels of poverty, high unemployment, and falling incomes, Americans know they’re not better off than they were four years ago,” spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement. “They are looking for a new direction.”
“President Obama yesterday admitted he can’t change Washington, and Vice President Biden – having spent the last four decades in Washington – can’t either. Mitt Romney will be a president for 100% of Americans, with a plan for a stronger middle class that adds millions of jobs, gets our economy growing, and results in more upward mobility, not government dependency.”
Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign day contained at least one gaffe, giving his opponents fresh material for their stereotype of Biden as a mistake-prone vice president.
As he talked about Americans included in Romney’s 47% comments, Biden said “they include the 650,000 troops still left in Afghanistan.”
A Biden aide later clarified he meant to say about 68,000.
And there was at least one colorful moment.
At Dartmouth, the vice president’s wife – Dr. Jill Biden – introduced her husband.
“This election is personal to me and it's deep-deeply personal to the man I'm about to introduce,” she said. “I've seen Joe up close,” she added. Though she clearly referred to his optimism and “big heart,” the crowd giggled, causing Dr. Biden to chuckle and pause.
When the vice president took the stage, he ginned up the reaction.
“I want you all to know that the only reason I hang around is so she can see me up close,” Biden said, prompting even more laughter.
“You can tell you're on a college campus, man,” he added.