Biden, reporter face off over crime statistics
October 19th, 2011
06:47 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden, reporter face off over crime statistics

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden had a tense exchange Wednesday with a reporter who questioned him about comments suggesting that if Republicans block a bill aimed at preserving police jobs, rapes and other crimes would increase.

"Do you regret using the rape reference to describe Senate opposition" to the bill, Jason Mattera asked Biden as he left a rally with police unions and others who have faced the budget ax in recent months.

"I didn't use ... no, no, no," Biden responded. "Let's get it straight, guy. Don't screw around with me. Let's get it straight."

"You didn't use a rape reference," said Mattera, of the conservative news organization Human Events.
"No, let me explain," Biden said, pointing toward Mattera. "I said rape was up three times in Flint. Those are the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder is up; rape is up; burglary is up. That's what I said."

"And if the Republicans don't pass this bill, then rape will continue to rise?" the reporter asked.
"Murder will continue to rise; rape will continue to rise; all crime will continue to rise," Biden said.
Asked by Mattera whether it was appropriate to use such language, Biden scoffed and walked away
The exchange took place in a crowded hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building.
The conservative blogosphere has been filled with angry commentary in recent days because of Biden's suggestions that Republican opposition to the bill would lead to an increase in rapes and other crimes.

In his speech at Wednesday's rally, Biden said police departments in cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan, have been "literally cut in half" because of budget cuts.

"In many cities, the result has been, and it's not unique, murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up," he said.

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. ArnieM

    If increased spending on police won't reduce crime, and reducing spending on police won't increase crime, then let's eliminate all spending on police altogether.

    October 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. MrE

    We are talking crime rates. That is a statistical representation of incidence per population over time. Many people with skills, education, aspirations have left Flint and Camden. What is left is a population that has less education, greater poverty, and less jobs. Of course the crime rate will go up. People getting jobs decreases crime, not the number of police on the street (or at the doughnut shop).

    For every policeman with benefits, we could use the same amount of proposed money to get real jobs for 2-3 real people. This Biden proposal is just another sellout to payoff another traditional Democrat constituency.

    October 20, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. LittleBearCB

    Talk about attacking the messenger! Biden is only relaying a statistical fact based on a solid trend...

    October 20, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Ed 1

    Again Joe opens his mouth and out comes stupid any surprise here and he is just nothing but a bully.

    We don't need him around four more years either.

    October 20, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Jody

    Teapublicans want to cut police funding ... till their home gets robbed, till their kids are assaulted, till someone is murdered on their front lawn. Then they'll cry to high heaven that the government isn't doing enough to halt illegal immigration, implying that crime is because of illegals. These folks need to realize that cutting, cutting, cutting spending can kill the roots of the plant, not just acting to prune the branches.

    October 20, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Desperate lies from desperate politicians like Obama and Biden. Now that the leftist main street media doesn't have a monopoly, the truth is able to be told. These leftists will ie about ANYTHING to cling to power, I cannot begin to imagine what this country will be like with another 4 years of these lying imbeciles.

    Joe Wilson was very, very prophetic when he shouted his famous "You lie!" to Obama.

    October 20, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. TH

    Police don't prevent crimes. The ONLY thing they ever do is close a case if it falls in their lap.

    October 20, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. AreWeTherYet

    Um... Police are 90% RESPONSIVE to crimes. Unless we're suddenly in a world where police will be able to arrest someone BEFORE they commit rape, robbery, murder, shopilifting, etc, the CRIME will occur. CRIME will RISE regardless of the amount spent on police. The ARREST RATE and VISUAL DETERRENCE factor will increase with more police on the street, which may or may not reduce crime in total. It is splitting hairs, but I see what he was trying to say. However, Ramblin' Joe managed to let himself get caught in another gaff.

    Think it through – when you call 911, are you PREVENTING a crime, or REPORTING a crime? And when is it that the police show up? You got it, Ace. After......

    October 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. cf

    He stated a fact: Rapes, murders, and all crimes increased. What is wrong with stating the truth? Are we not allowed to use the "r" word now?
    Hey Republicans: ignoring problems and pretending they dont exist, wont make them go away.

    October 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Straight Shooter

    Sanity – Michigan's Governor is a Republican and Republicans control the House of Representatives and Senate. So...what's your point?

    October 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Left Coast

    Of course the Republicans are upset. "Tough on Crime," "Zero Tolerance," "Family Values," "Low Taxes for Job Creators," are the time tested sound bites of the Party. If anyone shows how shallow these are, they are upset. Biden is showing that the Party has to rethink how it deals with the world. That is see the world as it is, not as the Republicans wish it would be in their perfect world of the very few pampered by the very many.

    October 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. RapierPoint

    It's scare tactics, plain and simple. Biden said go look at the numbers. Well I'm wondering what year he is comparing his numbers so, since crime hasn't gone up 3 times what it was. (Unless he was simply stating that over 3 years it's increased each time, but it sure does sound like he said that if they had 100 incidents, that they are now having 300. If he would take the time to check out the FBI stats, he would see that, while homicide is up (not even doubled), rape is down, assaults are slightly up, robberies are down, and burglaries are slightly up in Flint. Nothing to suggest his extreme statement of crime being up *3 times*

    October 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. peter

    Eh, so what? When Republicans said that a Democratic WH would bring more terrorist attacks on the US, you didn't hear Democrats whining and bellyaching about it. Democrats just got to work, like intelligent people do. The record now speaks for itself. Biden, you should have looked that reporter in the eye and said, 'Yes, that's what I said. If the Republican bill passes, rape, murder, and all sorts of crap will happen. Just like when Republicans had a chance to implement their voodoo economics plans over more than a decade, they tanked the economy."

    October 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. sortakinda

    If police presence is a deterrent, and police presence is not there, one might conclude that without deterrence, those crimes will increase. However, I don't think any criminal EVER said that he/she committed a crime because there were fewer police on duty that day.

    October 20, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Justin

    When Obama is asked about the country he tells everyone that hard work needs to be done he doesnt tell everyone that things are allright he tells us things will be allright with patients & hard work by all of us. Biden tells us what will happen if the GOP blocks yet another bill. My point is I want a president who tells us the truth even if its not what we want to hear. Obama told us it would never be easy & it isnt. Biden is telling us this would be unwise to do this to police officers & firemen because of the consequences. I'm glad Obama & Biden dont sugar coat things. I fear a president & vice president who lie & tell us everything is ok when it's obviously not.

    October 20, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Marjee123

    The republicans opposition to this job bill and every job bill that has been presented will lead to more than crime rates rising. It will lead to more Americans dying. And this shows that they don't give a darn about the American people – only the corporations and the rich (which they are among) they love. It is time they were was a clean sweep of all republicans out of office every where in this country. Then maybe we can return to the once great country we were. And there are some conservative Democrats who should go with them.

    October 20, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. nythebankruptstate

    This jobs bill is only political advertising. Seriously, go ahead and pass it, put your police, firefighters and teachers back to work now (how many are union members by the way) and then, next year at this time when there is no money to fund those salaries, where are you? Layoffs are going to happen again, only this time, there is even less money as the government has not even tried to reign in spending. The mantra seems to be spend now and we will worry about how to pay for it later. Well folks, hate to tell you but later is here and now. We can't keep funding county, towns, villages and school districts without having a plan to bring in the necessary revenue to fund those disbursements, New York is continually driving businesses out of business through higher taxes, licenses and regulations – just see where we are right now. Tell our government now that they need to stop selling us on a bill that is only short fix and does nothing to fix the bigger long term issues.

    October 20, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Denise

    GOP ultimate goal – privatize everything....FEMA, SS, law enforcement, schools, and the list goes on. A true Orwellian state. Conservatives...what a waste of carbon.

    October 20, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Scott M.

    Wow. The amount of vitriol on here never ceases to amaze me. For all of you saying that cops don't prevent crime, fine. Fire all the cops in your towns and see what happens. Guess what? When there are fewer cops, there are MORE crimes committed! Because there's no one to catch them! Ok you want to focus on just rape, fine. Try to get your puny brains to understand htis little slice of logic: if someone commits a rape they are likely to do it again. If they commit a rape and don't get caught, it's almost certain they will do it again. How are rapists caught? By citizens or police? Well, I've never heard of a "citizen's arrest" of a rapist. Police research the crime, find patterns, find potential suspects, and work hard to arrest the person committing the crime. Haven't any of you watched Law & Order? I mean come on, this isn't rocket science people. Less cops=more crime. How can you people possibly argue with that? Why does everything have to be political? So sick and tired of hearing you people whine and moan about how bad Obama and Biden are. I know it's sour grapes for the 8 years of Bush bashing, and I'm not suggesting that Obama deserves no criticism, but this is ridiculous.

    October 20, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Nancy

    Biden did NOT lie.

    There are parts of Flint that the Flint police force will not enter without backup from the Michigan State Police... does that give you some idea of what the police in that town are facing? Yet ignorant people still like to compare apples (Flint) to oranges (Ann Arbor) when it comes to staffing of the police department.

    The fact is that Flint is NOT a university town like Ann Arbor... Flint needs more "boots on the ground" to control the crime problems in the most poverty-stricken areas of the city. Biden called it like it is, and the conservatives are just grabbing unrelated "facts" to somehow bolster their idiotic view that anything this administration says or does is wrong. Get off the kool-aid, folks, and wake up to the real world – or visit inner-city Flint, Michigan and see how long your conservative fanny lasts there.

    October 20, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Navy Mike

    Look, I like Joe and I see the point he's trying to make.....However, I'm wondering why the FED is involved in local police, fire, and educator employment at all. Aren't those city / state expenditures?

    October 20, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. jrzydvl

    You can't hire enough cops to make a dent in tcrime in Trenton and you can't hire enough firefighters to put out all the fires in Camden. Halloween is coming...keep an on Camden, NJ. Its TRADITION !!!

    October 20, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. JohnReedjr

    Just what do the Repugnants think will be the result of budget slashing and tax cuts. Less money for states, less money for towns. What do towns do...educate and protect. So what happens in the towns and cities with less money? Less education and less protection, and guess what...Crime rises.

    October 20, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. BinFL

    All of you Repubs are really getting scared, aren't you? You know you have no credible candidate and that we are going to have Obama/Biden for another term. I for one am very happy to see both the President and the VP fighting back and giving these jerks what they deserve. For 2 1/2 years the President has tried civility and for what, all he got back was a slap in the face every time. What VP Biden said was only common sense but apparently a lot of you don't know what that is.

    October 20, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Connecticutian

    I don't think his choice of words is a big deal either way. And I'll give him benefit of the doubt about accuracy, since I don't have numbers; seems logical that crime would go up. BUT...

    Why is local law enforcement a federal matter? Do you REALLY want the White House overseeing your local cops?

    Where does the Govt get the cash to fund these officers? YOU, through your taxes. Why not cut out the middleman, and let your hard-earned money be more productive and efficient by going straight to your state and local forces, rather than get bunfled up and parcelled out in DC?

    October 20, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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