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Biden keeps pressing middle-class message after VP debate

October 12, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Biden continued stressing the Obama administration's economic message a day after his debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.… (Tom Lynn / Associated Press )

Joe Biden sought to build on momentum from the vice presidential debate by venturing into Paul Ryan’s home state on Friday to continue hammering the GOP ticket on policies he said would devastate the middle class.

The vice president mocked Republicans for making “unusual distinctions” to try and justify the Ryan-authored House Republican budget and Mitt Romney’s economic plan, one he said would cost $5 trillion and disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

TRANSCRIPT: Read Biden, Ryan’s arguments

“Folks, it's time to lift the burden off the middle class, not double down on the Great Recession that hit them,” Biden said. “But as I said last night, we shouldn't be surprised at their continued opposition to everyone chipping in. These are the folks who talk about 47% of the American people being unwilling to take responsibility.”

Though he spent most of his 20-minute speech on economic policies, Biden led his remarks by discussing his Republican counterpart’s statements about  Afghanistan on Thursday night. The Obama administration, he said, has committed to the fact that “we are leaving Afghanistan in 2014, period.”

But “Congressman Ryan, he made it very clear that Gov. Romney has a very different view.”

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“He says he thinks we should get out in 2014 … [but] we should never have announced that,” Biden said. “When asked, do you guarantee you'll get out, he said, it depends. … You heard it. It depends on the situation on the ground. It depends.”

But in a jab tied to Democrats’ argument that Romney is recalibrating his positions to cater to more centrist voters, Biden added sarcastically: “Like almost everything, it depends. It depends on which day you ask him the question.”

Another area where Biden expanded on his stump speech covered the issue of abortion, as he warned that Romney could appoint Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe vs. Wade.

“Congressman Ryan made it very clear that he and Gov. Romney are prepared to impose their private views on everyone else,” he said. “Roe vs. Wade is hanging. Do you think they're possibly going to appoint two justices to the court who aren't going to join Scalia and others to overrule [it]?”

Biden spoke in La Crosse, Wis., far enough from Ryan’s congressional district but close enough to carry on the campaign’s aggressive posture.

INTERACTIVE: Predict a winner in the battleground states

The Romney campaign countered that Biden on Friday, as was the case in the debate a night earlier, “was unable to describe any vision for the future and used dishonest attacks and distortions to distract from his failed record.”

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan that will create millions of new jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, and create a brighter future for all Americans,” spokesman Ryan Williams said.

Biden had returned home to Delaware after the debate Thursday but flew back out on the campaign trail this afternoon. After a brief fundraising jaunt this weekend, Biden is set to make a three-day campaign swing through Nevada and Colorado next week, as he picks up the pace of campaigning in the closing weeks.

“The great news is that now that his debate’s done, I can have him all the time,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said. “He’s an absolute warrior for us out there.”

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