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Biden chides Romney on '47 percent'

September 26, 2012 12:10 am


Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke to his supporters at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds Tuesday, has made seven campaign appearances in Virginia this year. lo092612biden2.jpg

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at his campaign rally at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds exhibition hall.

By Chelyen Davis

By Chelyen Davis


--Vice-president Joe Biden said the Republican presidential ticket doesn't understand the middle class and has a "profound misunderstanding of who the American people are."

Biden, in his seventh visit to Virginia this year, was speaking to a rally of supporters in Chesterfield, south of Richmond. The local fire department said 626 people attended the rally in a small exhibition hall at the county's fairgrounds.

Biden cast the presidential race as one between two fundamentally different views of the middle class, and characterized Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as politicians who would lower taxes on wealthy Americans at the expense of the middle class.

"Middle class is a value set," Biden said, in which people aspire to own a home in a safe neighborhood with good schools that prepare their kids for college.

He said Romney's recent comments, which surfaced in a video last week, that 47 percent of Americans who have no federal income tax liability are "victims" who feel dependent on the government, show that he and Ryan "just don't understand" the middle class.

Most of those people, Biden said, pay numerous other taxes and don't pay federal income taxes because they don't make enough money.

"Romney should be respecting their hard work. That's the job of a president, to lift people up, not to tear them down," Biden said. "We are all in this together, and if the 47 percent doesn't make it, the country doesn't make it."

Biden pointed to Ryan's budget plan, which Biden said would cut education spending and cut Medicaid for millions of people, and to Romney and Ryan's opposition to letting tax cuts on the wealthiest households expire.

Wealthy families, Biden said, "don't need another tax cut. They know they don't need it."

He also accused Romney of proposing further tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, a statement based on an analysis of Romney's tax plan by the Tax Policy Center. The TPC analysis is partially based on assumptions because Romney hasn't released a full, detailed tax plan.

"Enough is enough," Biden said. "We've got to lift the burden off the middle class."

Biden criticized Romney and Ryan for opposing plans to reduce the national deficit by combining spending cuts with revenue increases through taxes. He said Republicans accuse Obama of not taking the debt and deficit seriously, while "they rejected every single plan that has been put forward" that contains revenue provisions.

"These guys think compromise is somehow a dirty word," Biden said.

He also said Republicans ignore their part in creating the nation's financial problems in the first place.

"They're acting like somehow in September 2008, the recession fell from the sky," Biden said. "To solve a problem, you've got to figure out the cause of the problem in the first place."

He said Democrats want to create jobs "from the middle out it doesn't work from the top down."

Biden ended his speech with a call to support military troops, both in service and after they return home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Biden isn't the only one of the top four candidates in Virginia this week; On Thursday, Romney has a rally scheduled in Springfield and Obama has a campaign event scheduled in Virginia Beach.

Both presidential tickets have made frequent stops in Virginia, considered one of a handful of battleground states in November's election.

In response to Biden's remarks, Romney campaign Virginia communications director Curt Cashour said Biden is "recycling false and debunked attacks because he can't tell the people of Virginia about the Obama-Biden record of fewer jobs, more debt, and lower incomes. The reckless policies coming out of the Obama-Biden White House are jeopardizing economic growth, blocking job creation and putting our national security at risk. Middle-class families can't afford four more years like the last four years."

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028

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