Last Updated:October 19 @ 10:11 pm

Biden: Middle class 'buried' the last 4 years

By Matthew Daly and Mitch Weiss

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the middle class has been "buried" during the past four years, a statement that Republicans immediately seized upon as an unwitting indictment of the Obama administration.

Biden tried to clarify his comments later in the day, declaring that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan would hurt middle-class voters.

"The middle class was buried by the policies that Romney and Ryan supported," Biden said, attempting to squelch the controversy before it could provide momentum to the GOP heading into the first presidential debate, a session on economic policy scheduled Wednesday night in Denver.

Romney pounced on Biden's initial comment, saying on Twitter that he agrees with the Democratic vice president: "the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November."

Biden told about 1,000 people in Charlotte that Romney would cut taxes for millionaires and raise them for middle-class families.

"This is deadly earnest," Biden said. "How they can justify raising taxes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?"

Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, said a Romney presidency is a solution for middle-class families who feel "buried" by taxes or government policies.

"We need to stop digging by electing Mitt Romney the next president of the United States. Of course the middle class has been buried," Ryan said in Burlington, Iowa. "They're being buried by regulations; they're being buried by taxes; they're being buried by borrowing. They're being buried by the Obama administration's economic failures."

Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for Obama's campaign, said the Republican response to Biden's remarks was "another desperate and out-of-context attack."

Republicans hoped that Biden's remarks would give them a boost heading into Wednesday's debate between Romney and President Barack Obama.

In an afternoon conference call arranged by the Romney campaign, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said Biden's comment helped "set the stage" for the debate. Of the two candidates on the debate stage, only Obama is responsible for the pain middle-class families feel, Sununu said.

"Vice President Biden finally got something right when he made the admission that the middle class has been buried in the last four years under President Obama. I suspect it is probably in his debate preparation he's been looking at the statistics that are out there. The middle class has been devastated under President Obama," said Sununu, who served as White House chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush.

Sununu said viewers should expect Romney to refer to Biden's remarks as they watch the debate Wednesday night.

How the middle class has fared during Obama's tenure is a mixed picture. Many have benefited from an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts under Obama, and a new cut in payroll taxes over the past two years. A resurgent stock market has helped those who have 401k retirement accounts.

But the value of houses, the most valuable investment for many families, still hasn't fully recovered from the housing bust that started before Obama took office in January 2009. Unemployment remains stubbornly high from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and wages are stagnant.

A September Associated Press-GfK poll found 36 percent of likely voters think their family's financial situation has worsened in the last four years, compared to 27 percent who see improvement. Those with annual incomes below $100,000 are twice as likely as their higher-earning counterparts to say their finances have gotten worse in the last four years, 41 percent compared with just 20 percent among the higher income group.

During appearances in Charlotte and Asheville, N.C., Biden repeatedly blamed Republican policies for hurting middle-class voters.

"The last time these guys were in charge for eight years, they put two wars on a credit card, they refused to pay a single penny — a single penny — for a new entitlement program for prescription drugs and they added a trillion-dollar tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, all unpaid for," Biden said.

"These are the facts," Biden said, calling the Romney-Ryan economic plan "Bush economic policies on steroids."

By comparison, Biden said, Obama's plan asks the wealthy to pay only a little bit more in taxes.

"The middle class has done enough. They have done their part. Let's not lay more burden on the middle class," Biden said.

Biden has visited North Carolina several times as vice president, most recently last month to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Both campaigns are putting efforts into winning North Carolina, a battleground state where Obama narrowly won in 2008. Polls show a close contest this year between Obama and Romney.

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Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC

___

Daly reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas in Washington, Susanne Schafer in Asheville, N.C., and David Pitt in Burlington, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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15 Comments

  1. billwvComment by billwv
    October 3, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Ole biteme: What a joke of a man! With this simpleton-in-charge, what can be the destiny of the mightiest and greatest nation on the earth? I am perplexed that I cannot figure how Americans can vote for and elect two (2) big fat zeros and expect our country to progress. For four years we have been in the quagmire of Democrat dependency and still people are not fed up. When will America wake up and shake herself as a mighty man when he awakes and cast off the chains of dependency on these two freaks of nature and turn to the One from which all blessings flow?

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      October 3, 2012 @ 8:44 am

      What a baffoon this guy is! I cannot wait until the day he is cast back into obscurity by the voters of this country!

      VOTE ROMNEY / RYAN NOVEMBER 6TH! SAVE OUR NATION!

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  2. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    October 3, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    biden and the rest of the left wing are the ones shoveling the dirt on top of the middle class.

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    • dshevlinComment by dshevlin
      October 3, 2012 @ 11:30 am

      First thing to note: An audience of 1000 people. WEAK. Gets weaker: Biden said, “How can they ( repubs ) justify RAISING taxes on a middle class that has been buried for four years. How in Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?” Excuse me, they can’t. Because a tax cut is not raising taxes, soooo what the hell does that mean Joe? Joe, when there is a tax CUT, that means NO raising, CUT = decrease. I reckon that is why only 1000 people came to listen to his mental instability.

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  3. RightWingLeftyGolferComment by RightWingLeftyGolfer
    October 3, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    Hey DUFAS – the truth hurts doesn’t it? This is about the first truthful and “transparent” thing that’s come out of the Odumbo/BiteMe administration, and yet he’s trying to put/spin the blame some where else.

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  4. dshevlinComment by dshevlin
    October 3, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    How about this Joe. We will all be good little tax payers when we have an income to be taxed. Gee what a concept. EARN and then tax the earnings. Brilliant. How does your plan work again Joe? Chains?

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  5. twspears144Comment by twspears144
    October 3, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Joe Biden is another example of the failure of Barrack Obama four years of unleadership he sits by and allows Joe to spit out lies and mistruths while as a acting Vice President of this nation. There was no raising of taxes since George Bush cut taxes for all taxpayers 6 years ago. When is America going to admit that Obamas Presidency is a failed Presidency and another 4 years will result in our nation being brought down by Obamas socialist agenda. Obama has exposed his distain for the ideals of the founding fathers and his love for socialism he views our nation as an enemy to the Muslim World. Obama support for high oil prices is plain to see. Who benifits from high oil prices if you don’t know it is oil producing Arab nations. He wants them to raise their revenues to fund the distruction of America. Obama sees himself as the leader World that will bring balance to Worlds’s needs. Obama sees himself as the Robin Hood of the World take from the rich and give to the poor. He does not understand the purpose of Robin Hood it was to take down the evil and fake leaders of King Richard’s time. The 2012 election is about taking down the evil and fake Obama and his administration. We don’t have to take anything from anybody just vote and remove them to prevent futher damage to our Nations integrity. I appeal to those who might support Obama please take a deep breath and think about this Nation changing vote that you will place on the ballot. If you don’t like America and its past history of the land of the free and land of prosperity for all to have the opportunity to achieve the American dream vote for Obama. If you believe that Mitt Romney will correct the failed policies of Obama vote for Romney and Ryan. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

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    • dshevlinComment by dshevlin
      October 3, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

      How about this Trenton – If you don’t like America the door is open, don’t let it hit you in the butt on the way out and if you voted for obummer in 2008 to prove you weren’t a racist then vote for Romney/Ryan in 2012 to prove you are not stupid. Good post! Make 2012 the end of an ERROR and end trickle up poverty. America is upside down just like all of her assets are and her assets are you & me and our ability to earn a living so Joey can tax the income. It does not work without that because the government does NOT make money. The government TAKES money. Remember that in November. It is impossible to tax something that does not exist – earnings. Support made in America by voting for the American. :)

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  6. agent007Comment by agent007
    October 3, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    I can still vividly remember how Obama announced that Biden would be assigned the task of supervising how the ‘stimulus’ money was being spent! He would be making absolutely sure that not a penny would be wasted.
    In Obama’s words: “NOTHING GETS BY JOE” …. ROFLMAO
    Yeah right!

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  7. bna42Comment by bna42
    October 3, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    “Biden told about 1,000 people in Charlotte that Romney would cut taxes for millionaires and raise them for middle-class families.”

    I hope somebody finally gets through to Obama and Biden that this class warfare language is turning people off and not solving anything.

    Obama says “we’re in this together” and then immediately attacks one of the groups that he hates.

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    • dshevlinComment by dshevlin
      October 3, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

      @bna42 – I hope nobody gets through to obummer and biden because you are right. This class warfare IS turning people off which is why less then 1000 people is a big crowd for the obama/biden ticket now. It is the stupidest plan anyone could have ever come up with, but stupid IS as stupid does. It just shows how disconnected from realville ‘we’re in this together’ really is. Since when do we go on verbals anyway? LOL…. People know. There is no support for this prez. Even the media doesn’t really support him. They are acting under threat. When they go in the voting booth no one really knows for sure now, do they????? Ahh yes, we shall see the truth in a few short weeks. Better get packin commie’s because your a$$ is grass and we the people are the lawn mowers! GO ROMNEY/RYAN 2012.

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  8. gnafuComment by gnafu
    October 3, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    The entire United States has been buried these past four years, Mr. Biden. Every Citizen is getting the shaft.

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  9. goodguynyComment by goodguyny
    October 3, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    Buried by this Administration.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 3, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

      That’s what I thought was so laughable. The Obama administration with its stimulus spending, excessive debt, and failed energy policies have been the thing that “buried” Americans, yet Biden tries to blame it on Romney and Ryan who actually had no hand in the past four years.

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  11. noveldogComment by noveldog
    October 4, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    The Big Gaffe spoke and made another gaffe. He told the truth by accident, and it nearly caused him to have a coronary.

    When the debate was over he had lost….. and looked really bad.

    Then Mighty BHO took the stage against Mitt Romney and you could see the fear in his eyes….and hear the tremble in his voice. Why did they fear? When you tell nothing but lies and have no record worth bragging about, what else is there to do? Lie and hope they don’to catch you….but Mitt and Paul caught them and made fools of them and round one goes to Mitt and Paul.

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