Biden to firefighters: Romney doesn't understand you
July 25th, 2012
05:34 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden to firefighters: Romney doesn't understand you

Philadelphia (CNN) - Vice President Biden spoke to a friendly convention of firefighters on Wednesday, praising them for their work and stating that Mitt Romney's presidential aspirations represent a threat to their economic livelihoods.

First calling Romney a decent family man, the vice president went on to portray the Republican presidential candidate as out of touch.

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"[Romney] said, 'Guaranteeing the government will keep its fire, police and teachers intact is not an effective way to get the economy rolling again,'" Biden quoted.

"I don't think he understands what you're all about....what makes you decide to go into this profession that you couldn't pay enough to 90% of the population, including me, to do what you do, everyday."

Biden also sought to tie Romney's policy priorities to those of others in the GOP.

"I think this new Republican Party looks at you as both the reason for - and the solution to– this God-awful recession we inherited," the vice president said. "We inherited, by the way, because of their policies –the same policies they're continuing to push."

"They look at your ranks and they see an easy place to cut budgets to accommodate their priorities. Not just you: cops, public workers, generally."

The vice president spoke to over 3,000 firefighters attending the 51st convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Philadelphia. President Obama will speak to the gathering, by telephone, on Thursday, CNN has learned.

It was sure to be a friendly reception. During his speech, Biden reminded the audience of his long ties to unions, and firefighters in particular, and played up his and the administration's work on their behalf. Many in the crowd applauded enthusiastically during Biden's speech.

"A Republican Congress elected in 2010, overwhelmingly bent on obstruction, obstructing our efforts to help you to protect your jobs and keep enough people on the force to be able to protect your lives," the vice president said, referring to GOP opposition to the Recovery Act. "Because what most people don't know out there is your lives are more in jeopardy, literally in jeopardy, when you respond [to emergencies] without a full complement of firefighters."

Despite claims from Republicans that the stimulus wasted billions and did not spur economic growth, Biden used a direct appeal to the firefighters to claim that it worked.

The act "allowed fire departments to re-hire, to avoid layoffs."

Throughout the speech, Biden cast the GOP as unmoored from its more principled past.

"This is not your fathers Republican Party," the vice president said. "They really, really believe that they have to cut you and millions of other middle class Americans in order to rebuild this economy. Because they believe it is core...that the way to rebuild the economy of this great nation is from the top down."

In response to the vice president's remarks, Romney campaign spokesman, Ryan Williams, sent a statement from a retired battalion chief for the Philadelphia Fire Department.

"Joe Biden can come to Philadelphia, and he can try and tell the hard working men and women of this city that he understands what we've been going through. But no matter what he says, he can't cover up the words of the President. The President may think the private sector is 'doing fine.' He may want small businesspeople to believe that they 'didn't build that.' But we know that he is simply out of touch with the struggles that middle class Americans are going through, and that he doesn't understand what drives the American economy. The President and Vice President should remember one thing – they didn't build our success. We did," said Fred Donnelly, retired, battalion chief, Philadelphia Fire Department.

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Getoverit

    It's ok, Joe. We don't undersand you either.

    July 26, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  2. Roy

    Romney's for President of Lies, Distortion and Hate. The President of no details, just hate Obama...No spine, just hate Obama. This man is a worthless robot of the Tea Party...When is he ever going to tell the truth about anything, His taxes, His business, when was governor , his faith and his detailed vision for America. Instead he lies and distort others, like he did in the primary. I deal with many republicans who say he has no spine and that he is worse than John Kerry (And they cannot stand or trust him) . MITT STOP LYING TO AMERICA. GIVE AMERICA YOU DETAILED PLAN IF YOU HAVE ONE TO STICK TO.

    July 26, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  3. ha

    Funny , all american houses are made up of wood , we need those guys . If any thing happens we call 911 who is going to respond ??? Romney or the GOP ?????

    July 26, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  4. Rev

    Republicans don't respect aid workers at all. They had years since 9/11 to provide aid to 9/11 helpers. Instead they waited until most of them died off from the health ailments caused by the towers' debris, and the Democrat in the head office to finally pass a bill to provide aid. And they did so reluctantly, holding the bill hostage and trying to tack on their own garbage demands before allowing it to pass. Only with public awareness and outcry did they finally relent and let it go through.

    July 26, 2012 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  5. trex

    ............Firemen, teachers, retirees, sick kids.....................ALL ARE THE REASON FOR THE ECONOMIC MESS WE ARE IN.........................isnt that correct MITT?

    July 26, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
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