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. liz

    People who don't believe in science, facts and geography are rarely bothered by math/statistics

    October 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Richard

    What do Democrats care about crime increases? The "system" is responsible for turning those poor, poor people into muderers and rapists, right Democrats??

    October 20, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. jackal & jester

    Here is a great example for all those that need a visual example of what the world would look like with less cops. Go watch the Batman movies. It is like that but with no dark knight to help us.

    October 20, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Scot

    Way to go Joe ! Give it back to them ! They have been a loud mouth bunch for quit a while and need it shoved back at them ! Go 99%s out there we all love ya !

    October 20, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. DC Johnny

    So it's okay for Biden to respond that he wishes the GOP congressmen had guns to their head, only months after openly criticizing the right for violent rhetoric?

    Where is Obama on this one? When is he going to step up and blast Biden for such commentary?

    He won't. Because this administration is all about manipulating the truth and abusing power to persuade citizenry into action, just like the previous one.

    October 20, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Canide

    So - positive correlation. There's also a positive correlation between increases in gun permits/ownership/CCW and drops in crime. So - which correlations are good correlations, and which ones are bad correlations. Correlation: biden's mouth is moving, so he is awake. Probably.

    October 20, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. neastsider

    Jason Mattera is the anus of the teabaggers. The rest of us–the non rich for the repugs– are being raped and murdered every day by the terrorist antics and extreme teabagger idology of the repug teabaggers with their refusals to even consider giving the average person a small break.

    October 20, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. rapierpoint

    Pragmatist – You say "anybody...finds anything wrong in what the VP said, then the fellow needs help". Did you bother checking the validity of Biden's statement about rapes being up 3 times? If you had, you would have found that it's an extreme exaggeration. In fact, in 2011, they are projected to be not even double. A slight rise, but significantly lower than Flint's numbers in 2006, 2004 and about on par with 2007 and 2005. So, really, it was an outright lie designed to dupe people into being scared. And you think people having a problem with that are the ones that need help?

    October 20, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Bobbie

    What he said was.. 'he wished the opponents of this bill would find themselves under a 200 pound man demanding that they submit'. In my opinion, that crosses the line, don't ya think?!!!

    October 20, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. rapierpoint

    jackal & jester – you could be right, but how do you explain cities a lower cop per citizen ration having lower crime rates? They have less cops, and they also have less crime.

    October 20, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. PBaldwin

    Conservatives, by in large, are absolute idiots! There have been no tax increases in the Obama administration (though there should be) yet it's being accused of over-taxing businesses and creating a hostile business environment. I challenge ANY conservative to point to a time in history where their policy has led to growth, a balanced budget, and any sort of financial stability. And don't give me the Reagan-era crap. Reagan was a nice enough person but our country took the Clinton amdministration to rebound from the trickle-down-policies of old. I am a student of history and politics and was once (when I was a very young, ignorant adult) a Republican and I have yet to find any time when our country was run by republicans that our "fiscal house" was in order. Unless of course they are only thinking of the wealthiest people and businesses which typically they are...

    October 20, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Old man yelling at the clouds.

    To all the thinking and rational people (liberals, independents, progressives, Democratic voters, etc.) posting here – these lizard brains don't post here to debate, discuss or educate – they bang their stubby little fingers in anger and fear.
    They have been separated from the truth and reality for so long that when you engage or respond to them it just feeds their arrogance – they want to go backward in time – how could anybody approach such a creature? They're like cornered scared little rabbits laying on their back kicking at the air.
    Really have any of them ever been in any way rational or deliberative when posting here or anywhere?
    They just repeat the garbage fox media and hate radio spews out at them.

    October 20, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. bkgrandma

    What a surprise...a conservative reporter doesn't like the word rape. Could it be because the conservative Republicans
    have been doing that to the middle class people in this country for years? Steal from the poor to give to their rich friends,
    in exchange for monetary favors.

    October 20, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. dave

    What a brilliant democratic idea. We can solve all of our problems in one step. Hire everyone as cops. There would be no crime,no unemployment, because we all know cops prevent crime and that the government is the best employer.More BS on how to spend more of our money.

    October 20, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. wishing

    @ Eric.
    The reporter seems more offended with the subject of rape than murder.
    Does that mean that it is better to be murdered than raped.
    The first entry may be clearer, but I couldn't find it and tried to retype, too quickly apparently.

    October 20, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Toni

    It's a fact! In most every city where budget cuts have force the cities to let go of law enforcement crime is up. It's also a fact that where school districts have had to let go of teachers and facitlities are not improved that the achievement level of students has gone down.
    As long as we don't pay for these services these trends will continue. What else can anyone expect, it's a no brainer!

    October 20, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Dave R.

    Biden was completely justified in what he said. Especially because the reporter was going to try to twist his words into something he did not say. I would be hacked off too.

    October 20, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Paul Price

    It seems every time the President or Vice-President points out anything that is based in fact, such as Vice President Biden did when discussing crime increases, the Republican find their words to be "inappropriate" . The Republican goal, out of
    their own mouths, is to make sure the President is a one-term president. They do not care about the elderly, the unemployed, the education of children, the police, the fire fighters, the military, at all. They protect the wealthy, abandon the middle class, and cry wolf every time something true is spoken in opposition to their lies.

    God Bless You, Mr Vice President, for maintaining your position, and with dignity emphasizing the points you made so
    loud and clear.

    October 20, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Dean

    Where is the outrage from the press and women everywhere. He wants to see a 200 pound rapist standing over oppnents to the jobs bill and there is no outcry? Can you imagine what the headlines would be if a Republican had said this. He is a disgrace to the office of Vice President, a heart beat away from the Presidency. If Obama doesn't dump him, he doesn' tdeserve a second term. Women everywhere of all political persuasions should be castigating Biden for this. I have 3 daughters and I am outraged. I am a Democrat, but Biden sure doesn't and can never represent me. And NO an apology will not be accepted. He needs to go.

    October 20, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Lynne

    It's so funny how so many people want their cake and to be able to eat it too! They want to Police to protect them but they don't actually want to have to pay for it. Well, what if your employer wanted you to do your job but didn't want to pay you? How would you feel?

    You are protected by the police. You pay taxes. Taxes pay police officers pay checks and part of their pensions (some pay all, some only part). The police protect you. The police get shot at. The police could die. Don't you think they earn their pensions?

    My job doesn't require me to put myself in the line of fire. Most of us are not required to be in the line of fire...but so many people complain about police pensions. Don't you think the fact that every morning when they leave their homes it could be the last time they see their loved ones and they still do it, earns them their pension?

    October 20, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Joeinalabama

    The population of Flint is going down, about 20% in the last 10 years. Why shouldn't the number of police and teachers go down???

    October 20, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. JROSS

    Just a reminder – Michigan is not [governed] run by Democrats. Currently, the state has a Republican Governor and a Republican majority in the State House and Senate. In the past two election cycles the Legislature has had Republican majorities. The Financial Crisis, in Michigan, tracks to the Republican rule of fat boy John Engler.

    October 20, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. RTinKC

    The real questions for Joe and the Choosen One should be: If it is important to provide additional funds for police to prevent a rise in crime, why are you burying this funding in a bill with other party line non-starters and not proposing it as stand alone legistation? Are you really willing to play politicis with people's lives just for re-election material? Republicans aren't against cops or stopping crime. They are against much of the other assorted junk they want to throw into this bill and they want to know how they plan to pay for it. Doesn't sound so unreasonable to me.

    October 20, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. myopinion

    so why are we talking about dems and repubs and cutting police and fire jobs when it is the bureaucats and congress that decide to cut these jobs, kind of interesting they don't feel the need to cut anything that applies to them. in michigan the legislature just approved to cut live time health care for new/future legislators but the cuts don't apply to those in office. talk about double standards

    October 20, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. vivian m.

    Oh, the humanity. Repubs, get over it!! YOU are the scorched earth masters. And, immoral, unAmerican, corporate apologists ruining our democracy and the global environment, But then, I am biased.

    October 20, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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