September 21st, 2012
08:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he ‘does not understand’ middle class

Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) – On Tuesday, as a secretly recorded video flared up problems for Mitt Romney, Vice President Joe Biden largely held his fire. But by Friday, the vice president refused to hold his tongue any longer - and pounced.

Over two campaign events in New Hampshire, Biden mounted a full-throated response: he questioned how Romney could “be so profoundly wrong about America” and claimed the former Massachusetts governor “does not understand” the middle class.

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The vice president even checked Romney’s outward behavior.

“Look at his demeanor and everything he’s said in the campaign,” Biden said. “He means what he says, he actually thinks that these people believe they’re entitled. That these people have become dependent, they see themselves as victims.”

At issue is the secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney at a May fundraiser. In it, Romney said: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.”

"There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them,” Romney added. “Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”

Romney has defended the substance of his comments, saying his economic message will not be attractive to those who do not pay income taxes. And many Republicans have come to his defense. Among their arguments: citing the nearly half of American taxpayers who, indeed, do not pay federal income taxes.

But Democrats have pounded Romney since the tape was revealed.

Biden added to the chorus of criticism during his two New Hampshire events: an afternoon stop at Dartmouth College in Hanover and at an evening rally at the New Hampshire state house in Concord.

“By now, all of you have heard or seen on television what Romney said at a fundraiser of big donors,” the vice president said in Hanover.

“He thinks these folks believe they’re entitled. That they’ve become dependent, they see themselves as victims who won’t take responsibility for their own lives.”

“How could he be so profoundly wrong about America?” Biden thundered. “How is that possible?”

At the Concord event, the vice president went further.

Repeating the “profound misunderstanding” charge, Biden added: “My dad used to have an expression. He’d say, ‘Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problem. But I at least expect them to understand my problem.’ And this man does not understand.”

Romney’s campaign responded to Biden’s comments.

“With record levels of poverty, high unemployment, and falling incomes, Americans know they’re not better off than they were four years ago,” spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement. “They are looking for a new direction.”

“President Obama yesterday admitted he can’t change Washington, and Vice President Biden – having spent the last four decades in Washington – can’t either. Mitt Romney will be a president for 100% of Americans, with a plan for a stronger middle class that adds millions of jobs, gets our economy growing, and results in more upward mobility, not government dependency.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign day contained at least one gaffe, giving his opponents fresh material for their stereotype of Biden as a mistake-prone vice president.

As he talked about Americans included in Romney’s 47% comments, Biden said “they include the 650,000 troops still left in Afghanistan.”

A Biden aide later clarified he meant to say about 68,000.

And there was at least one colorful moment.

At Dartmouth, the vice president’s wife – Dr. Jill Biden – introduced her husband.

“This election is personal to me and it's deep-deeply personal to the man I'm about to introduce,” she said. “I've seen Joe up close,” she added. Though she clearly referred to his optimism and “big heart,” the crowd giggled, causing Dr. Biden to chuckle and pause.

When the vice president took the stage, he ginned up the reaction.

“I want you all to know that the only reason I hang around is so she can see me up close,” Biden said, prompting even more laughter.

“You can tell you're on a college campus, man,” he added.

Also see:

- Ryan gives House GOP a 'pep talk'

- Defending Romney, McCain cites 2008 campaign trail misspeak

- Romney to ramp up campaign schedule with bus tour

- Pawlenty takes post at Financial Services Roundtable

- Letterman: No hard feelings toward Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • New Hampshire
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Workers Unite

    Biden speaking on any other day shows Joe knows nothing about America and freedom !

    September 21, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. John Mcaluney

    Wow, Cheap Joe Biden says Romney does not understand Middle Class. Funny, Joe Biden understands copying speeches from others. VP Joe Biden is not Middle Class, he is Political Class. That is disgusting.

    Obama/Biden are two frauds.

    September 21, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. sayhi2yourmom4me

    Why would Romney understand the Middle class anyway? Anyway, it's true that there are some people who are kind of moochers. I only say this because I have known a couple. But the thing is, in my experience, those people aren't really that civic minded. In other words, I don't think many of them actually vote. However, I do believe that there is value that in not letting sections of this country not slip further into poverty, call it 'redistribution' if you want, but I think it's benefited all of us, including the upper class, at least indirectly. Anyway, it's interesting that as a group, rich people lean republican, but the states where most of the rich people live lean democrat.

    September 21, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. 2020

    Not only Romney doesn't understand middle class. He don't give a damn.

    He paid 14% tax, after he lost this election, you can be assured he goes back to amend his return, and recover his paid tax.

    His tax is for the show, a haox.

    September 21, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    In 2007 the twit said on March 17 that he always wanted to be rich and famous and he loves being both.
    This guy is running for president because his daddy told him first business then politics and the presidency.
    It's obvious he doesn't want the job and he is trying his darnest to lose the election. They are beating up on President Obama about redistribution remakrs he made 14 years ago. It turns out that the bully bishop said the same thing just a few years ago.
    The clinicher really is that is we are to believe him, no way, he should immediately cancel his campaign and candidacy and forfeit the election to President Obama. He said that anyone who pays more taxes than they have to should not be allowed to run for president. Last year his tax deductible contributions were over $4M but they only claimed $2M (he made $13M but he doesn't have a job, keep this in mind also) . Why you might ask? He said that his average tax rate was 13% in the last few years. They claimed half of the actual money because that would givie them a 14% rate. If they had used the whole tax deduction contribution it would have only been 9.1%. In other words he loses both ways. He should be running because he cut back his tax deductions and if he had left the entire deduction money then he would have only paid 9.1%.

    September 21, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  6. vuswing

    Joe Biden's father was an idiot for not telling his son that some day he would be the lap dog for the worst president in the history of the USA. Biden has never done one damn thing for this country...not one.

    September 21, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. normajean @ verizon ,com

    I'd go a lot farther than saying he doesn't understand the middle class!!!...I don't think he understands people in general.!! Most of the people he would meet in a day would be a long way from the wealth that he is used to and I can't see him relating to even their daily lives.He has never had a bill he couldn't pay...never had a sick child and couldn't afford a doctor...never had his only car die and not be able to even get it fixed. He doesn't and CAN'T relate to any of us .and don't think he ever will...and I don't think he even tries!!!! His presidency could be a diisaster!!

    September 21, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. tkret

    Joey, Joey, Joey. Do you actually believe the dribble that comes out of your mouth?
    Please enlighten me as to how Gov Romney is so profoundly wrong for America. And also explain how he does not understand the middle class.
    With reference to the 47%, twist it however you want Joey, Mitt was saying that there are many people who are included in that number that don't want to be. He wants to make it possible for them to not be dependent, but to be working and building their own dreams; whereas you and the Chicago Mob want more people to be dependent on Government for everything. (By the way Mr. Gaffe, Mitt IS NOT against people being on Government assistance who actually need it. He is talking about the people who are abusing the system).
    And Joey, your Dad was right. But in this case, it is YOU who does not understand the problems. Your administration wants more and more people to pay into the Government coffers so you can make more people dependent on the Government. Where's the money going to come from?
    Oh, and I see another gaffe. Apparently now you don't have a clue as to the number of troops in Afghanistan. Considering your position, you should know these details.

    September 21, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. tammyk tammy

    Hey Romneyhood, whatever happened in your mind to the inalienable rights of all men endowed by our Creator? Does life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ring any bells within your arrogant tiny little mind. I guess the party which put God in every other sentence of its platform forgot that this great nation's founders actually believed in those ideals. It will be kind of hard for 47% of the people to reach for those ideals when you don't even believe that every human being in the richest nation of earth doesn't qualify for food, shelter, or the basic dignity of care when they become old or sick. Maybe Romneyhood's new day one goal should be to tear down the Statue of Liberty because we won't be welcoming any poor, tired masses yearning to be free since Romneyhood and his merry henchmen will be busy creating America's own underclass of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the hopeless, the very tired right here at home.

    September 22, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  10. SafeJourney

    Romney does not understand the middle class. Sheeeeeesh , Romney does not understand Romney.
    Romney, you are Lyin Ryan are done. Do yourself and America a favor and pack it up a go home

    September 22, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  11. Borderless

    Biden is the most embarrassing VP we have ever had. He just needs to sit down and shut up.

    September 22, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. enuff

    These people that attended this event paid $50,000 per plate. That's more than most people make in a year. How could relate to the common man when they have no problem paying that for one plate of food? And most probably didn't even clean their plates.

    September 22, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  13. Jerry

    Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he ‘does not understand’ middle class... And YOU DO!!! Lying hypocrite.

    September 22, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. GI Joe

    He sure does understand his wealthiest contributors -- that want him in there so they can pay 0 taxes.

    September 22, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Well said, Joe! Mittens is an elitist who just does not understand real people who make up our country. All the money in the world will not make him popular, or even deserving of the highest office in the land.

    September 22, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. The Elephant in the Room

    Romney, in his own words, is the most damnming witness AGAINST his own Presidency. You`d have to be a FOOL to vote for him given what he has said behind your back. O nly unbriddled racist hatred of President Obama would allow any enlisted military man, any disabled vet, any retired senior citizen, any "working class person [of ANY COLOR], to cast a vote for Romney.

    There is line for the movie, A SOLIDER`S STORY, where a dying Adolf Ceasar [a hated black NCO] tells Denzel Washington [a black enlisted man about to kill him], "THEY STILL HATE YOU".

    I remind the people that don`t think they are in the 47%, Romney and the affluent, STILL HATE YOU, even if you give the Republicans your vote - and by extension, them tax cuts. Don`t be stupid.

    September 22, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. FedUp

    And this comes from a millionaire who is working for a millionaire! Great advertising.

    September 22, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. charlesName

    Don't get how romney can say Iam wanting a hand out???? I & all workers have payed for our medicare & S.S. so makes me think romney has a plan to get $$ from our medicare & S.S. for his profit. Or why don't he ask us the people what we want?? I say leave my medicare & S.S. alone. They just want the rich not have to pay in taxes for it because they can aford health care. Sad!!!

    September 22, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    R'money new campaign slogan "Profoundly wrong about America”.

    September 22, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    Ryan is as whacked as Palin, but Palin was just stupid, Ryan is smarter which makes his insanity more dangerous.

    September 22, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. 200 TON HAMMER

    Vice President Joey Biden,your a down too earth kool in touch with the middle class and poor you shall be President 2016 hopeful your son runs as vice president with you

    September 22, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Alain Clermont

    Being from Canada I am a little confused. Is Mitt Romney trying to say that he is part of the 47% that he is trying to attract because he doesn't seem to pay his full share of taxes and that he lives off the labor of the employees in the companies that he is involved just like the 47% he blames for living off Government handouts. Could one of your reporters please ask Mitt to clarify that for me.

    September 22, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |