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. volksmaniac

    This administration's use of scare tactics in practice again . Not necessary if you have a legitimate argument to begin with .

    October 20, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Doyle Wiley, MI

    The Vice President comments were appropriate and correct. The longer people how are looking for work and can't find it, the higher the crime rate will be; not just Flint Michigan but all over the United States. Yes, rapes will increase, people need to seriously think about that are all the consequences of the elected officials’ lack of action on jobs.

    October 20, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Jason Materra is a Republican Operative . . .

    Come on CNN, do some research for a change. . . geez . . . Materra has been deep into GOP politics; don't you guys Google before you post stories?

    October 20, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. cecilia

    exactly how could we keep from offending the delicate Republican Tea party conservative Christians – instead of using the word rape – what would you have us call it so as not to offend you people – how outrageous to ask the Vice President if he has to use that language – what language rape – is it just the word that offends you folks – how about the act itself – does that offend you lilly white pure of heart and mind hypocrites – give me a break

    October 20, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Derrick

    I think that this is the same thing if you protest against us you are a terrorist if you don't pass this bill first then we can read whats in it. If you don't do this then you may not see your social security etc.. They are all about fear tactics. Biden is a true reason that some have been in office way to long.

    October 20, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Robert

    @JR – Think about all the tarp bailouts!!! All those Goldman Sachs who got the bonus of bonuses.. that was Bush's choice.. imagine how much better we'd be if that money was there to pay cops, firefighters, and teachers...

    October 20, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. ck1721

    How about we spend $150 billion and give every man woman and child a $500 gun. People could be armed to defend themselves and all of those crime statistics would drop. You would also create tons of jobs in the gun/ammo industry because you would have a demand for 300 million firearms. I'm pretty sure we could get a group discount and get the guns for less than $500 each. Maybe they would throw in some free ammo and a safety class for everyone.

    October 20, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Max Powers

    How does anyone have a problem him pointing out the very obvious fact that crimes goes up when there are fewer officials to enforce the law? This isn't a conservative vs. liberal issue. It is both statistically and intuitively obvious. This isn't a scare tactic, it is something that people have been well aware of since early civilization. Fund police, or rapes, murders and robberies increase. For the more dense, if there is no one to arrest a rapist, he can do it a lot of times. Even if he gets a short prison sentence, that provides a time period where he can't rape. Politics are one thing, denying the obvious is just frustrating.

    October 20, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Derrick

    Since when is it the Federal governments responsibility to ensure that our Police and Firedepartments etc.. are funded. They are funded by the state legislation. Why is government involved in Healthcare, Housing Fannie may freddie mac, School systems, Banking and now they are out of the car business and in to protection of caps and fire departments. Can you not do your jobs as government and protect our borders? Oh my bad deportation is up now that Obama is in office? HAHAHAH there are no jobs that is exactly why deportation is up. They are getting caught comming back home etc.. Trust me I live in Texas and no this..

    October 20, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. student

    It's amazing how all supporters of what Biden said are backing him up with statements that support decreasing crime and subsequent rape. While those making negative statements about him can only proclaim rude statements that have no facts that support them. Secondly, what kind of 'language' is offensive here? The truth hurts, and rape is what will continue to increase if nothing is done about it. Third, both democrats and republicans should fight to get representatives in office that are concerned with improving the country and not with achieving their own agenda at the cost of the public's well-being by trying to get the opposition to 'slip up.'

    October 20, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Latch

    Funny. I seem to remember the GOP saying forever that if you don't vote for them, terrorists would take over America. How is this any different, really?

    October 20, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. 1900innoho

    Biden should learn to keep his mouth shut. Crime has gone DOWN across this country. And to emphatically state rape will go up if the jobs bill isn't passed is IRRESPONSIBLE, Mr. Vice president. Just plain ignorance showing itself by the sound of your voice!

    October 20, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Bill in VA

    Reply to Rudy NYC who writes : What do you suggest should be done under the following scenario? The state creates new tax cuts, which in turn creates a deficit. The deficit is closed by cutting state aid to communities, earmarked for fire and police protection. Do you still suggest that local taxes be raised to make up the difference, so that the policemen and firemen will not be laid off?

    Yes Rudy. Lets not make this complicated. I could give you the scenario where the leaders of a locality cut taxes and rasie pay to make everyone happy then goes broke – sorta like Greece. That is our problem? Only if you live in that locality it is. Federal dollars ahve no place in local employment matters. We all have to live within our means – people do – governments at all levels must as well. I have yet to hear a coherent argument why local matters should be solved with Federal dollars. If you live in a responsible locality with no deficits and I don't, why should your tax dollars be subsidizing me?

    October 20, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. DemWisperer

    The inverse relationship between crime and the poverty rate is just another liberal fallacy in which its enlightened believers blindly except.

    October 20, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Max Powers

    @ Jesus Christ Inrealityhere...You are right, Jesus didn't tax anyone. However, tithing was not just a recommended practice, it was the law. The church ran the country. If you want to live in a theocracy, this is the wrong country. Our forefathers came here to escape theocracy. Anyway, Jesus didn't tax anyone. Because he was a homeless person in a country occupied by the Roman Army. So he couldn't tax people. But he told people to pay their taxes to the Romans, because during his life, that was who was in charge. Pay your taxes and quit whining. Jesus might save you from hell, but he still wants you to pay your taxes.

    October 20, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. "I got mine, screw you!"

    "Biden should learn to keep his mouth shut. Crime has gone DOWN across this country. "
    Another accomplishment under Obama's Presidency! Never would have knowingly admitted it if you weren't gnashing your teeth.

    We need to keep saying this ~ "Funny. I seem to remember the GOP saying forever that if you don't vote for them, terrorists would take over America. How is this any different, really?" – Thank you.

    October 20, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Pam

    Since when is the word 'rape' a dirty word?
    Of course crime will increase if law enforcement doesn't have sufficient staff !
    Must have been a FOX reporter!!!!

    October 20, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. wjgiunta

    People: Stick to the facts and stop the stone throwing. He is absolutely correct in his statement. Who could debate this? Yet, you bend the words, attack the person, and politicize the meaning. I think you can not see past your political party and their brain washing. If the words are not the exact words that your party has endorsed, you personally attack the person. Please think for your self and try to visualize what is good for our country and not just for your party!

    October 20, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. hjs3

    You know there is an old adage that says..."If the shoe fits... wear it."
    Out conservative brethren just seem to find it difficult when it's on the other foot...

    October 20, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Solus5

    Bills don't kill and rape people... People kill and rape poeple.. I thought the first 870Billion dollars was suppose to go for "shovel ready" projects... Unemployment was not going to get above 8%, yada yada yada... Now, we are to believe that passing of the 500B bill will all of a sudden do something that 870B couldn't do..

    The Dems slush fund must be running low... Come on!!! They have donors to repay... Just pass the bill so Dems can meet thier financial obligations to all those donors...

    October 20, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Richard

    Police departments have "literally been cut in half"? Was this done with a jackhammer? Why does Biden get a free pass when W. was criticized for every word he said?

    October 20, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. rapierpoint

    Rudy NYC – a) it wasn't a "hypothetical question. Biden should be able to produce the data that shows crime has risen 3X and be able to show that it's an anomaly. He hasn't done that. Furthermore, if it is an anomaly, he needs to show causation that it resulted from less police and not because of the economy. Which he also hasn't done. As for your point, if downturns are accompanied by rise in crime, then we'd still see rise in crime even if police weren't laid off. The question is what, exactly would be the effects of reducing the police force? that answer has also not be supplied or supported either. Seriously, regardless of what side you fall on, when times get tough, you have to tighten the purse strings. Sane people would reduce spending for non-necessities first. First responders (police, firemen, etc) should be the last area to cut (unless there is waste in those areas). Don't know the details of Flint's budget and where they are spending all their money and how it compares to past spending. The main point is that the VP was fed some data and decided to make a cause and effect claim about it without actually supporting his claim. But don't worry, politicians do that all the time and we aren't suppose to call them on it. We just call politicians when they use the wrong term in our opinion, whether it be "rape", "brother", "tar baby" or what have you.

    October 20, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Jeff

    Sanity get your facts straight. The governor is a Republican and they control both houses as well.

    October 20, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. @Anonymous

    You out to check this news site more often, ACORN doesn't exist anymore. You might recall it was shut down after congress defunded it upon accusations of voter fraud. Of course every investigation done concluded that there wasn't evidence of a single fraudulent vote. But that was months later. Still, only a couple thousand people lost their jobs, no harm no foul.

    October 20, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. c.riley

    Conservative's reasoning will never work.....less of public services means leass protection for our citizens...Less does not mean improvement.

    October 20, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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