Biden attacks Romney over 2011 tax return
September 25th, 2012
02:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden attacks Romney over 2011 tax return

Chesterfield, Virginia (CNN) - Four days after Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax return, Vice President Joe Biden used his first in-person campaign opportunity on Tuesday to pounce: comparing Romney's effective tax rate against that of a middle class person.

"Ladies and gentlemen, somebody today in America making $23,000 a year pays over 20-percent of their income in taxes, in some form of taxes," Biden said. "A couple making a hundred thousand dollars a year, they pay 29-percent in total tax."

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"Romney paid 14-percent," Biden added, noting the Republican presidential nominee's 14.1-percent effective tax rate. The vice president proceeded to crank through the new numbers from the Friday release and also reiterated attacks that Democrats have consistently made against Romney.

"He made over $13 million dollars in income, almost all from investments which he paid in 17-percent or less," Biden said. "He got millions, he has millions stashed in tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The guy had a Swiss bank account. He refuses to release 10 years of his tax returns, which he demanded of his running mate?"

Biden's comments came at a campaign event in Chesterfield, Virginia. Though Obama won Virginia in 2008, he did not win Chesterfield County – a suburb of Richmond and a reliably red part of the state. In 2008, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain won Chesterfield County by eight points. In 2004, President Bush beat Sen. John Kerry here by 26-points.

Dispatching the vice president to the county is a clear sign the Obama campaign hopes to remain competitive.

During his speech, Biden repeatedly tailored his message to a middle class audience. In addition to comparing Romney's effective tax rate against middle class brackets, the vice president also reminded voters of the secretly recorded video in which the former Massachusetts governor said 47 percent of Americans are "dependent on government" – and "will vote for the president no matter what."

"Look, instead of attacking folks who work for a living and pay their way, Romney should be respecting their hard work," Biden said. "That's the job of a president: to lift people up, not to tear them down."

And Biden mocked his rival.

"He, Romney? Attacking someone on taxes? I mean, whoa! That's like me attacking someone for being passionate in politics," Biden said, noting "these people pay a lot of taxes: Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, state and local taxes, gas taxes, property taxes."

The Romney campaign was quick to respond.

"There is only one candidate in this race who has raised taxes on middle-class workers and families – Barack Obama," spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.

"Governor Romney will lower tax rates across the board and eliminate all taxes on savings and investment for low- and middle-income Americans. The robust economic benefits of a lower capital gains tax rate is the reason President Clinton signed such reforms into law, and many prominent Democrats – including members of the Obama Administration – have supported that policy."

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Virginia
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. The Debt Clock Was Switched Off Before Bush Happened

    All you people who just woke up in 2009 and blamed Obama for all the debt. Seriously? Do you seriously think that all this debt just showed up the day Obama took office? It's all Obama's fault? You guys are like the Republicans with the debt clock at the Republican convention. They keep pointing at the amount of debt like they had absolutely nothing to do with it. Bush was handed a surplus by President Clinton. The debt clock was SWITCHED OFF. LESS THAN ZERO. Then Bush happened. The mere fact the Republican idiots had the debt clock and kept pointing at it is stunningly ignorant. It just reminded most Americans that the Republicans inherited the thing when it was actually less than zero and switched off.

    September 25, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Tree

    Ancient Texan

    Marie– Romney disclosed the required tax returns. Anything else is none of your or my business. He pays more taxes in one year than you would even EARN in 5 lifetimes. Let it rest.

    You sound foolish this man has million, so what you are saying in that you don't earn to much and pay a higher taxes and its okay for Romney to pay less. Go back to the drawing board because all of your comment is just BS

    September 25, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Maxx

    Everything's a secret with Romney, his taxes returns, his tax plan, his bundlers, official e-mails. Not to worry though, in a couple of months Mitt will have plenty of time to play with his car elevator.

    September 25, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. GL

    Excuse me Mr.Romney, but how many low income americans you know have savings and investments?

    September 25, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Ancient Texan

    Tree-Even a really dense Liberal should be able to understand that Romney has already paid on his income TWICE! Ordinary AND capital gains taxes. He pays MILLIONS in taxes every year and the IRS is NOT investigating his returns. With Obama as president, the IRS would investigate if there was any chance.

    September 25, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. chehaliswa

    Yes it is my business, he is applying for the most important job in America, and I want to know if he will make more tax shelters for himself and the billionaires giving him huge amounts of money. I think I know the answer to that, and that is why Romney will not show the American people to what extent he will go to save a nickel. In the depression everyone did their part to help this country pull itself out of depression, but for people like mitt and friends they don't see it as their duty, it is their greed that leads them.

    September 25, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. onlyfacts

    Ancient Texan let it rest? If Obama was withholding his tax info would you or your Fox "news" zombies let it rest? Did Obama show his birth certificate? Is he a Muslim? Did he lower your taxes? Does Fox "news" lie to you nightly? Who are you to tell someone to let it rest? HYPOCRITE!

    September 25, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. ghostriter

    Why is it that conservatives can switch accounting practices to whichever way suits their purposes?

    For them, it's not about the rate that Romney pays, it's about how much he paid. Nice. I'm sure Wesley Snipes feels the same way. He's paid more in taxes than most have made. However, the feds decided otherwise.

    September 25, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. v_mag

    Will the right wingers please take note: It is not what you pay in taxes or how much you give away. It is what you take home that matters.

    If I made $5M and paid $3M or $4M in taxes, I would be ecstatic! That would mean I'd have a million or 2 to play around with. Why would I care if the government got a big chunk? Rich people like to have chunks like that going to the government or charity, because it buys them access and gives them bragging (or complaining) rights. Secretly, they are rolling on the floor laughing their behinds off at the people who are impressed with the amount of taxes they pay.

    I and any one else in the 99%, would jump at the chance to pay 90% in federal income taxes, if that tax was on the kind of money Rob-money is pulling down.

    Folks, it's not what you pay. It's what you keep.

    September 25, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Tom Pohl

    Once again, Biden shows how clueless he is! Comparing Romney's investment tax rate to middle class payroll tax rates are like comparing apples to oranges. They are two different things. It's not Romney's fault the tax code allows him to pay a smaller percentage than middle-class people. If you want upper income people to pay a larger share, change the tax code, not vilify those who are able to take advantage of it. I'm sure most people would do the same if they could.

    September 25, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. ghostriter

    Ancient, you are wrong. Investment money is not taxed twice. And PROFIT from those investments is taxed. Not the principle.

    Anyone having investments as their sole or main source of income making over a certain amount should be taxed at the regular income rates.

    September 25, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Seriously?

    Let us be clear about at least one thing. These vapid arguments about taxing capitol gains at a lower rate than income earned through actual work because the rich already paid taxes when they earned the money they invested is, well....hooey. You don't get a break on Sales tax because you already paid taxes on the money you just spent do you?

    September 25, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Maybe if Mittens invested his money in the USA instead of China, we'd have some jobs. Check out Mitt's Chinese Investments on Google.

    September 25, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. francine

    there is NOTHING plugs can say to keep this voter from voting for Romney now. no one ever mentions the dollar amount - like to play up the percentage. Romney paid more in dollars than most of us - that's enough. At the same time Joe Biden is a philanthropic cheapskate - so cheap - no vote for him and that other dude. no no no.

    September 25, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Good Thing For Romney That People Really Are This Stupid

    Ancient Texan: Tree-Even a really dense Liberal should be able to understand that Romney has already paid on his income TWICE! Ordinary AND capital gains taxes. He pays MILLIONS in taxes every year and the IRS is NOT investigating his returns. With Obama as president, the IRS would investigate if there was any chance.

    Even a really dense person of any political affiliation should know that the IRS does not disclose a list of people whom they are auditing for suspected tax evasion. There is no way you can possibly know that Romney is not being audited by the IRS. Romney did, however, make the following voluntary disclosure himself two months ago when asked about his taxes by the reporter David Muir:

    “From time to time, I’ve been audited as happens, I think, to other citizens as well. And the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job,” Romney said, adding: “I don’t pay more [taxes] than are legally due, and frankly, if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president. I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”

    Okay, so:
    1. Romney admits he's been audited. He doesn't give dates as to when. Why do you assume he is not being audited now?
    2. Romney paid more taxes than he legally owed in 2011. By Romney's own criteria, he is not qualified to become president.

    September 25, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. michael

    Truck Mitt filled writes offs to amend his tax rate down to 7%.

    September 25, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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