Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments were notably absent from the presidential debate last week, but on Thursday in Danville, Kentucky, Vice President Joe Biden made up for lost time.
Biden lit into his Republican rival Paul Ryan for the comments Romney made at a fundraiser months ago when he told donors that 47 percent of the country saw themselves as “victims” and were “dependent” on government for services.
“Romney said no, let Detroit go bankrupt. We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Gov. Romney said no, let foreclosures hit the bottom,” Biden began. “But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives.”
“My friend recently in a speech in Washington said 30 percent of the American people are takers,” Biden said, referring to Ryan with the honorific he used all evening. “These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Gov. Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off social security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are quote not paying any taxes.”
“I’ve had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent — it’s about time they take some responsibility here, and instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we’re gonna level the playing field, we’re gonna give you a fair shot again, we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and main street, making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy.”
This sort of attack was noticeably absent from President Barack Obama’s repertoire at last week’s debate in Denver, and many saw it as a missed opportunity.
Ryan defended Romney by attacking Biden for the high unemployment rate during his time in office, and defending Romney as a generous man.
“Mitt Romney’s a good man,” Ryan said. “He cares about 100 percent of Americans in this country. And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
“But I always say what I mean,” interrupted the gaffe-prone vice president. “And so does Romney.”
“We want everybody to succeed,” Ryan went on. “We want to get people out of poverty, in the middle class, onto a life of self-sufficiency. We believe in opportunity and upward mobility. That’s what we’re going to push for in a Romney administration.”
Moderator Martha Raddatz passed the baton to Biden, who ridiculed Ryan’s comments.
“The idea — if you heard that — that little soliloquy on 47 percent and you think he just made a mistake, then I think you’re — I — I think — I got a bridge to sell you,” Biden concluded.