Biden invokes combat troops, others to personalize Romney's '47%'
September 22nd, 2012
08:42 PM ET
8 years ago

Biden invokes combat troops, others to personalize Romney's '47%'

Merrimack, New Hampshire (CNN) – Fanning the flames over Mitt Romney's criticism of 47% of Americans in a controversial video, Vice President Joe Biden sought Saturday to personalize the numbers by conjuring up stark images: U.S. servicemembers hunkered down in a fort under fire, an elderly woman with a hardscrabble existence and a young couple with children barely getting by.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it's worth taking a look at who those 47% of the American people are," Biden said at a campaign event in Merrimack.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"Right now, we have 68,000 combat troops in Afghanistan. ... Right now, as we speak, it's well into the middle of the night, heading toward morning. There is some master sergeant sitting in a FOB that I've visited – a forward operating base – with six or seven guys and maybe a woman. Up there, defending a position being shelled all night. Who – because he or she is in a combat zone, risking their lives and too many having given their lives - he is not paying any tax on his salary."

"Does he view himself as a victim?" Biden asked.

His comments came in direct response to Romney remarks caught on a secretly recorded video at a private fund-raiser in May.

In it, Romney said: "There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what."

"There are 47% 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."

Democrats have pounded Romney since the tape was revealed.

Biden invoked other stories throughout his speech to personalize those who may not pay federal income taxes.

"How about the 78-year-old widow, who's living alone, scraping by on their Social Security and Medicare – which she worked, I might add, to earn," he said. "How about that 63-year-old Vietnam veteran from my generation who still has to go to the VA hospital once a week for treatments. The 27-year-old young couple, who in the middle of this recession, they're probably working combined three jobs and have two kids and are at least able to get a child-care tax credit for putting their child in a decent environment while they're at work."

"Are they dependent?" Biden asked.

Though Biden sought to personalize Romney's remarks in similar fashion on Friday, his Saturday comments went further in their starkness and impassioned delivery.

"How can you say we have this cycle of dependency and we feel like victims?" Biden thundered. "They are full of faith and fight and determination. The last thing they think of themselves, the last thing they think of themselves, is as victims.

The Romney campaign responded to Biden's comments though did not directly address Biden's offensive against the GOP candidate's words.

"Vice President Biden today doubled down on the same false attacks and abysmal policies that have failed to turn around our economy and bring change to Washington," campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement. "President Obama's broken promises and disappointing record remind voters that the Obama-Biden Administration doesn't deserve another four years in office. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a record of bipartisan accomplishment and real plans to bring change to Washington and finally get our country back on the right track."

Meanwhile, Biden admitted one thing about his candor.

"I have a bad habit of being candid," the vice president said while attacking Romney's tax plan.

Also see:

- Rubio tweets his airline woes

- Ryan 'very comfortable' as Romney's V.P. candidate

- Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses

- Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me

- Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he 'does not understand' middle class

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • New Hampshire
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. reginaldb6

    President Obama, and Vice President Biden keep on taken the fight to Romney and exposed his Lies and deception.

    September 22, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. larrylinn

    To add insult to our troops, the Republicans blocked the Veterans Job Corps bill last week.

    September 22, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. mike

    What a piece of trash...leave the military out of your little political games already. I paid an effective rate of less than 14% last year. If you don't like it, change the tax code. I chose to be in the military and have served for more than 25 years and am getting out this year fearful of Obama's (lack of) leadership and manipulation. I have no faith in him or any in his administration and my fervent hopes are people will come to their senses soon enough to save our country from itself.

    September 22, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    But Biden has helped create and increase the 47%....many of those are the dependency group that votes Democratic and Obama and Biden are helping keep them there.

    September 22, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  5. gt

    poor uncle joe.....a sad joke... the troops. think your a joke you say ..this election is a bfd....and guess what your a joke....

    September 22, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Anna B

    Thank you VP Biden for your eloquent and thoughtful comments on Romney's ugly repulsive lies! Romney looks down on the armed forces and old people – hopefully they will get the point and not vote for him!!!

    September 22, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Mr. Moderate

    Also included in the 47% are the 67% of filers in my family who do not pay income taxes. They are not dependant on the government, they do nnto consider themselves victims and they are not voting for Obama because they are too young. They are my children and because they have income from interest and part time employment, they have to file, but generate too little income to pay.

    September 22, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems are simply exposed, and they can't stand it, so they are making every excuse in the book, for the outrageous fact, that 47% of Americans pay ZERO income taxes.

    They claim they aren't putting people on welfare and KEEPING THEM THERE? What outrageous liars.

    September 22, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  9. honest mari

    Ryan,s campaign aid is "mouthing" VP Biden's comment on his party's and its representatives inability to articulate and understand the middle class as those who continue to bear the burden for the top 1%. These are the 47% on whose.back the CEO makes his millions and without whom the highstake investor's investment becomes futile. It is for the same 47%(99% middle-class) who Democrats such Joe Biden are pleading with your party GOP to give a break so that the top 1% who made billions off the 47% may pay their fair share as we climb out(with dogged determination to succeed) of the abbysmal deep economic hole YOUR party threw us into. AMERICA will survive and live up to the dreams and desires of the founding fathers and that of all those who have loved and worked for her selflessly -A LAND FREE FOR ALL, A LAND OF JUSTICE FOR ALL, A LAND ENDOWED WITH RIGHTS FOR ALL, INDEED A LAND OF LIMITLESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL .GOD BLESS AMERICA AT ALL TIMES.

    September 22, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. Boss69

    What bipartisan record? What plan? More lies. Same Bush advisors who INTENTIONALLY destroyed economy. Vote GOP back in and the Great Depression will be nothing compared to what's to come. WHERE ARE THE JOBS JOBS JOBS from 2010? Only thing accomplished is treasonous obstructionist BS.

    September 22, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  11. warmonkey

    'The Romney campaign responded to Biden's comments though did not directly address Biden's offensive against the GOP candidate's words."
    Is that like,a different way of saying that the Romney campaign did NOT respond to the comments?

    September 22, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  12. RogueRobots

    Romney, Ryan, and Rubio will be performing in their newly formed band called the ROGUE ROBOTS at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser near you. Your choice of chickenhawk, pork barrel buttroast, elephant jerky, or flank of olympic tax deductible dancing horse. Served by welfare to work waitresses and unemployed military vets. Under new management by Sarah Palin.

    September 22, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  13. Ed1

    Biden you are so full of it you know 47% of the people don't pay taxes and your party is to blame for giving our tax dollars away to the biggest scam ever called food stamps and welfare.

    September 22, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  14. RogueRobots

    If you plan on attending the Rogue Robots fundraiser, don't forget to bring your photo ID to prove you are an Amurican. No hidden cameras please.

    September 22, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Romney , Five sons , all avoided voluntary military service !

    Biden , two sons , one volunteered for military service and served in Iraq .

    47 % America , 53 % ?

    September 22, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  16. Dan Cox

    I highly doubt that the majority of the military will vote for Obama. he doesn't,t eactlly engender their respect. Joe Biden...LOL

    September 23, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  17. Louden Swain

    Biden has been drinking again an singing "the villages"

    September 23, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    God Bless Joe Biden and President Obama!

    September 23, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  19. Robert Smith

    Biden points out the truth. RR lie through their teeth.
    Pauly voted for every Bush spending bill, but he's a deficit hawk?
    Romney has never struggled and has stashed his money in odd places. As president to show such a lack of confidence and commitment that you would park you money in the Caymans? Their ideology is money above all else, greed and avarice.

    September 23, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  20. Debra from Atlanta

    Romney people can attack Vice President Biden all they want, but it came out of Romney's mouth dissing 47% of the american people. He said they clothing, food, or shelter. This man is evil in his soul.

    September 23, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The right wingnuts give Mittens a pass when he instructs Iran how to attack America with a 'dirty bomb.' Then the right wingnuts gave Mittens a pass when he said the retired veterans and seniors who support him are moochers. Mittens is just another out of touch birther.

    September 23, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  22. w l jones

    Tell them like it VP Biden.I might be poor but pride to be an American.

    September 23, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |