August 22nd, 2012
06:40 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden: Republicans have 'discovered the middle class'

Detroit (CNN) - In front of a friendly audience, Vice President Joe Biden repeated a crowd-pleasing political attack against Republicans on Wednesday – with a new level of sarcasm.

"It's amazing, they discovered the middle class," the vice president said mockingly against his rivals. "And they care about it. They're running to save the middle class."

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Biden began the swipe by referencing the tough economic conditions the Obama administration inherited when it took office – a situation brought on by Republican policies, Biden claimed.

It was one of many seemingly ready-made applause lines Biden laid out for an audience of over 1,100 supporters – mostly African Americans - at Renaissance High School in inner city Detroit. It was the second of a two-day campaign swing that began in Minnesota on Tuesday.

Those at the Detroit event expressed their agreement with several of the vice president's points. At the beginning of his remarks, the crowd even booed the first mention of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"No, no, no," Biden said, attempting to tamp down the jeers. "I disagree with him on almost everything, politically. But he's a decent man."

Yet, Biden stoked the audience displeasure with political attacks.

At one point, he repeated his fresh assessment of the man who wants his job, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

"Congressman Ryan, who is again a good man and a good family man, he has given definition to Gov. Romney's vague commitments…up to now," Biden said. "Now we know Congressman Ryan and…the Republicans in the Congress, they–as one person said–they have already passed in the Republican House what Gov. Romney is promising to pass for the whole nation."

"They call their new economic plan, what they're talking about, they call their plan new, they call it bold and they call it gutsy. But the neighborhood I come from, there's nothing gutsy about giving a millionaire another tax break. There's nothing bold about cutting Medicare, Medicaid and education and research and development in order to pay for that tax cut."

At another turn, Biden lumped his opponents together as sort of political bogeymen who would throw the country into deeper economic misfortune.

"Their theme is, 'Restore the dreams and greatness of this country.' But what I'm telling you, is that the very plans the congressman voted for over the last 14 years, the very economic policies the governor supported over this period of time – as governor and as a businessman – they are the very same policies that put America's greatness in jeopardy."

Biden also tailored his remarks to play up the administration's actions to bail out Detroit's automobile industry in 2008–actions that are popular in Michigan but derided by many conservatives.

"In spite of Gov. Romney's insistence that we, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," we rescued the automobile industry - saving 1 million jobs," Biden said, referencing a now famous newspaper piece from Romney. Since then, Romney has argued that he deserves some credit for his proposal to save the auto industry.

"I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back," he said in May. "My own view is that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help. And frankly, that's finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy."

Romney's campaign responded to Biden's speech.

"For millions of middle-class families, Vice President Biden couldn't be more out of touch with the state of the economy," spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.

"After claiming yesterday 'the middle class is coming back,' the Vice President is now claiming that 'Detroit is getting back up.' But after nearly four years, middle-class families are struggling with lower income, fewer jobs, and increasing unemployment. The Romney-Ryan plan will provide 12 million new jobs, higher take-home pay and a brighter future for the middle class."

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Minnesota
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Dean

    Democrats 'discovered' the middle class decades ago. That's where they get their financing for entitlements to support the lower class (so they don't have to work).

    August 23, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. artraveler

    With the help of the Republican Robert's SCOTUS, the Republicans are using Citizens United to change this country from a Republic to an Oligarchy, just l;ike they did in Russia and like in Russia, when thhpeople come back, they will wish for the old "horrible" 39% tax rates when the 90% tax rates and the estate tax and no money out of the country under law hits home. It may not solve the country's problems but it will allow the rest of us top begin to think that the US is a country for all, not just the well connected.

    August 23, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. artraveler

    Mittens was in Little Rock for a "closed" social gathering and dinner for, I guess the Middle Class?, with a dinner price of $50,000 a couple with the Mitt. Since the average income in this state is under $35,000, I doubt if many "MIddle Class" people had a chance to rub elbows and discuss policy with him. He did have to SNEAK in a back door for all the protestors outside, not like Bush 2, when they cleared the streets 4 blocks around an event. I guess that comes later.

    August 23, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  4. Texas Bob

    To Carol 191
    You write the you were a Demo but now a GOP supporter because of policies. When everyone here knows you are a Tea Party right wingnut. You guys get on a blog and spead your talking points andd think no one knows where its coming from. You never supported the President. I am really getting tired of your lies.

    August 23, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. Lizzie

    artraveler, we're is your outrage over Pres.Obamas CLOSED fundraisers, do you think the middle class can afford the prices they charge. Keep dreaming.

    August 23, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. yolanda

    @artraveler...bitter much? Maybe if you put as much effort into working as you do into blaming those who are successful, you would want lower tax rates. But then, that would require effort on your part. Much easier to be nasty and negative, huh?

    August 23, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Pete

    Romney only knew of the middle class when he shut down corporations that hired them or his hired help at his homes.He's like the rest of your republican hypocrites ,preach about something when its convient,other wise who cares,that's your thinking about any middle class issues,you've been obstructing on those since the presidents inaugeration haven't ya!!!

    August 23, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. Ed1

    I see you don't turn down any money from the Unions and 1% what a joke the two of you are nothing but starting class warfare you can't do anything else why don't you talk about how you have cut our debt in half and all the jobs your buddy said he would do that's right you can't.

    August 23, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. Larry L


    I came to this (eww) CNN (eww) site to read what Gov. Romney said about how President Obama is replacing the Freedoms of the American people with big Government, so I will enter my words on the article about this lame Minstrel.

    Romney's analysis of our president's misguidedness is spot on, and indeed, Bless Obama's heart, he is soooo wrong. .

    "I agree Romney is absolutely correct, the Democratic Leadership has led us all astray, has lied to EVERY ONE of us, including you, dear reader – think clearly about it and how you have been betrayed by the Pelosicrats of the nation – they only want to make beggars of all of us."
    Your comment only proves you watch Fox News. Romney's comments about the President's impact on welfare have been shown by all fact-checkers to be outright lies. Their "swift boat" attack regarding the killing of Osama Bin Laden are once again, proven to be dishonorable lies. Look it up yourself – they give references and proof of the lies. Ryan's comments about the President's work to support Medicare have also failed multiple fact checks – and Ryan gets a "pants-on-fire' rating for lying. Your sappy comments reflect the delusion of somebody who is either unwilling or unable to step beyond the Fox News sound bites and be an "independent American". Do your own fact checking outside of Fox News and learn something!

    August 23, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. gord

    republicans have been killing the middle class since 1980 now they want to finish the job

    August 23, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. streetdude66

    Remember Bidens remark about the GOP wanting to put black people in chains & how the GOP thought they could somehow spin it that Biden was racist & not themselves? Someone should have told them when you go up against the VP of the USA youre playing big league ball because in less than a week the Dems had them stumbling & stuttering over the fact that not just Akin but Mitt, Ryan and other GOPers are against women who seek out aborions due to rape (despite what Etch-A-Sketch Romney & Etvh-A-Sketch Ryan are saying now.). No wonder hes mocking them now,

    August 23, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Ancient Texan

    The present administration has had four years to improve the economy and put people back to work and it has been four years of dismal failure. Give someone else a chance and if it is a return to the Bush type economy, GOOD! The economy was great until the Dims took control of Congress in 2007. UNemployment @ an average of 4.7%, the DOW reaching 14,000 and the annual deficit the last year of Bush's term was $191 BILLION. Obama's deficit every year has been above $ 1.1 TRILLION.

    August 23, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. Fair is Fair


    HOW... ? how are "you people" just gonna make 12 million new jobs appear? ?? out of nowhere ..... tell us exactly what your going to do mr. Romney ...oh and no more fibbing please.
    Hey look... all Obama has done is stood next to Glinda, tapped the heels of his ruby sllippers 3 times, and said "there's nothing like hope and change... there's nothing like hope and change".

    August 23, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We had a high end executive where I worked that was the most genial yet secretive guy you've ever met. He was fired for stealing us blind.
    My point is that Robmey is not even genial.
    Obama 2012. Seriously my fellow Americans.

    August 23, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. Larry L


    I wonder what Joe knows about the middle class. Wearing his $250 silk shirt and $100 tie.
    Joe came from the middle class and worked his way up. Romney & Ryan were spoiled rich boys and never had to do any real labor to build a family, buy a car, or put food on the table. The difference is clear to those with an open mind.

    August 23, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. colleen

    Neither party 'knows' the middle class – they are more alike than different... lets stop pretending.

    August 23, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Keeping it Real

    As opposed to the Democrats discovery that the middle class only exists for purposes of tax revenue? To fund their ultra liberal social agenda? Biden is an embarrassment to the entire country.

    August 23, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. ThomasJ

    My question for the Romney/Ryan ticket, and all of it's supporters, would be how can their plan provide for 12 Million jobs when they keep telling us that the government doesn't create jobs?

    August 23, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  19. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    averageamericanblogger, you tend to forget that women won the right to vote during the Wilson (Democrat) administration. Also, starting with Harding, the Republicans started down the road of not doing anything for anyone that did not have the corner office on the top floor. Most of the accomplishments you state ended with Teddy Roosevelt, who the Republican party tried to suppress by nominating him to Vice President, thus hoping to neuter him. Once Roosevelt finished McKinley and his own terms, the Republicans nominated a safe candidate named William Howard Taft. Taft disappointed Roosevelt so much that he ran as a 3rd party candidate in 1912, splitting the ticket and giving the election to Wilson.

    August 23, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. Bill the Cat

    Grampa Joe has no business mocking anyone. A bag of hammers is smarter than that clod...

    August 23, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  21. colleen

    Who's against women? oh pleeeassee..... it's just a war on words – the gift of manipulation... As a woman – the President and certainly the VP do NOT represent me... can we stop the generalizations?

    August 23, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. Larry L

    @Cynical Vet

    "I personally hate Obama on a level that makes me physically tremble"
    You need to get professional help. Your hate is either caused by deep racism, delusion, or some distortion of reality caused by an overdose of Fox New and other hate media. This is the sort of hate that creates domestic terrorists. The President is a good man and although his policies may not support your beliefs, he is a dedicated American worthy of respect. If you've fallen victim to the "birther" and "swift boat" lies the problem lies in your mind – and makes you "tremble". Get help before you ruin your life.

    August 23, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. Susan

    Uh OH!! The Republicans have uncovered the Democrat's secret plan to stop America from working and encourage the poor to stay poor, or is that the poor will get rich off of welfare instead of working. Poor people and Democrats are lazy, don't cha know. Democrats hate America, hard work, and God. Yes it is true, the Democrats want to destroy America so that they can live in a destroyed America and support welfare. I absolutely believe this to be true. I also believe that the wealthy and super wealthy care about us dumb, middle-class people who want everybody to have abortions and stop working. Makes sense to me! Yeah – I llive in Massachusetts and suffered through Romney's failed govenorship, you know – the one that he doesn't talk about. Vote Republican and maybe you too can be rich.

    August 23, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  24. Larry L

    @Larry of MA

    Biden is a good example of why there is gridlock in DC – totally partisan – demonizing everything GOP
    Can you look yourself in the face and say the "Democrats are acting in a totally partisan fashion"? Do you recall the "pledges" taken to Grover Norquist? The hostage-taking over the debt increase vote that caused our S&P rating to drop? The 33 votes in the House to repeal the AHC law? The blanket votes for "personhood" attached to things like the Defense Budget? The 137 filibusters by Republicans in the Senate – blocking even the things they created in committee? How about the "birthers" and the "swift boat" lies regarding the killing of Bin Laden? Pull your head out and turn off Fox News. The more you watch the less you know.

    August 23, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. Romney's Horse

    Heck. I'M more "middle class" than most of the GOP supporters. Go figure!

    August 23, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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