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. Jay

    Don't back off Mr. Biden. Yes, continue to fully assert that the Party of Greed and No will cause crime to go up. Keep smashing what is right for this country down their throat until they understand it. Yes, it's time to fight back.

    Stay strong my brothers in Occupy Wall Street.

    Obama/Biden 2012 and Infinity

    October 20, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Sci1

    If you cut law enforcement, crime will go up. This is not an illogical statement.

    October 20, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  3. Mitt Romney

    And Biden is so true! Rape is certainly on rise in Michigan. Hey, we have a serial rapist in Ann Arbor who is still not caught due to lack of proper police staffing. Republicans want to FUBAR this country. They are just acting patriotic but their actions speak the opposite.

    October 20, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. Zious

    Biden was right and he simply should have said so. Is it wrong to say rapes will go up? Rape is one of the biggest factors in criminal activity and yes it will go up. Not that police have a direct action to avert rapes but deterrence due to the knowledge that they are out there does decrease those numbers. Also putting repeated offenders behind bars will reduce the crime as well. With a cut in the force these numbers will go up especially now when the economy is in shambles and crime rising as a consequence. Moron partisan reporters like Jason should be made to work in the police force to understand basic nature of the problem. He would not have asked this question if one of his family members was raped and there was no police around to help.

    October 20, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. bearced

    Joe, Joe, Joe when are you going to learn it is more impotant to be politically correct than it is to be accurate.

    October 20, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. nancy

    This right wing reporter was completely out of line with his riduculous questions and he was twisting what the vice president actually said. It simply is the truth...with less police on the street crime, murders, robberies and rape will rise..pure, simple and true. No where in joe biden's comments did he say the rise in rapes could be blamed on the republicans for not passing the job bill. Just another right winger...this time a reporter...trying to promote their agenda by lying about what was actually said by the vice president. You go the punk out.

    October 20, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  7. Pam Smith

    I know people have a hard time grasping this with their smart phone and prescription med dulled little minds but police don't PREVENT rapes and murders. Per the Supreme Court that isn't even in their job description. When's the last time a cop kicked down a door to stop a rape? That's what Batman does in movies.

    October 20, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  8. Jersey Bob

    Budget cut = law enforcement lay-offs. Few cops on the street = more crime. How hard is that to understand? Are murder, robbery, and rape not crimes? If a reporter is gonna try a "gotcha" question, at least make it a genuinely embarassing entrapment instead of an opportunity to repeat the verifiable and relavent truth......

    October 20, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Sandra

    Good for you VP Joe Biden ...

    October 20, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. ebw

    And to think this bag of wind is just a heartbeat away from the presidency...

    October 20, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  11. Biddens Right

    Bidden is right and no matter hows its spun if we continue to cut funding then crime will rise. What an idiot the reporter was trying to create a scandal. Reporters are one step above ambulance chasers these days. Where was his respect for the Vice president?

    October 20, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. eric

    Well, reducing police presence WILL lead to a spike in violent crime. It always has. What's not to understand, Mattera?

    October 20, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  13. Ian

    Really not seeing what the big deal behind Biden's comment is...

    Crime in general will increase, what else is there to debate? These stupid conservative blogs, that try to misconstrue peoples' words, are getting more and more ridiculous.

    October 20, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. Tony 140

    And this is "one heartbeat" away from being President. Give me Sarah Palin anyday.

    October 20, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  15. Debbie from Arizona

    Of course Republicans are upset. Telling it like it really is, always upsets these people. 2012 is coming, and I hope the folks of this country will tell the Republicans we are tired of their garbage, tired of them blocking every bill related to creating jobs in this country, tired of them protecting the rich and powerful, tired of them protecting the corporations, trying to reduce or do away with regulations that protect the citizens of this country. Obama/Biden 2012

    October 20, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  16. Marie MD

    To start with "human events" from the party of bomb parenthood clinics?
    I don't understand why this mattera was so mad about. Was it the word raoe or the fact that rapes will increase? Maybe he and his conservative newspaper don't see rape as a crime. Just like in AK where that bimbo made it a law tto have women pay for their rape kit!
    Teapublikans are already raping the country except for the rich. Why don't these clowns complain about that!!! Idiots!

    October 20, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. Tim NYC

    Biden talks straight.

    October 20, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. SadDayInUsa

    How absolutely ridiculous is this baffoon! This is another temporary stimulus that will expire as the last. Then what?

    The reality is that local municipalities need to live within their means in a way that does not put the public at risk. We do not have the money to keep bailing out teachers, police and fire fighters unions!!! Which is really what this is all about!!!

    October 20, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. brian

    if the Gop is placed in control again the the biggest rape that will rise is the rape of the middle class

    October 20, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. Carol

    What wasn't to understand by Biden's statement? If we have less police protection obviously all crimes will escalate. If the Senate takes more police protection away they are inadvertantly responsible for more crime. Sounds as though the reporter was out of line on purpose to get a rise out of Biden, and it was a good reply by our Vice President.

    October 20, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  21. usualone

    The VP may be melodramatic but he is correct that will less law enforcement the sickos will be more active. It is unconscionable that people want to reduce the size of police departments, fire departments and the like. We all will pay the consequences.

    October 20, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. SadDayInUsa

    Didn't Flint get stimulus money back in 2009=2010. So if rape and murder r (still) going up inspite of stimulus infusion into these local govt. why would a 2nd round of stimulus help again? Could it be this is a pay off in advance to the UNIONS for the upcoming election campaign of Obama?

    October 20, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. nope

    michigan is totally run by republicans now.

    October 20, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  24. truther

    Ironic – the rapes, murders, etc that will increase will be committed by democrats!

    October 20, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. SixDegrees

    I'm not crazy about Obama as President. But it's comforting that Biden isn't.

    October 20, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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