Biden Defends Comment That, for the Wealthy, ‘It’s Time to Be patriotic’

By Lee Speigel

Sep 18, 2008 7:31pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: At a Thursday rally in an Akron union hall, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden defended his contention that it is time for wealthy Americans to be patriotic and pay more taxes.

Biden was asked by ABC News’ Kate Snow in an interview aired Thursday morning on "Good Morning America" if people earning more than $250,000 a year would have to pay more taxes under an Obama-Biden administration.

"You got it," Biden replied. "It’s time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help America out of the rut, and the way to do that is they’re still gonna pay less taxes than they did under Reagan."

With the John McCain campaign hitting out at the remark, Biden felt compelled to defend his comment in front of the labor audience in Ohio.

"Catholic social doctrine as I was taught it is, you take care of people who need the help the most," Biden said in Akron. "Now it’d be different if you could make the case to me that by giving this tax cut to the very wealthy, everybody else was going to be better off. We saw what happened the last eight years when we gave that tax cut. Tell me how everybody is better off. And the point I want to make to you is, and I mean this sincerely – wealthy people are just as patriotic, patriotic as poor people. We just have not asked anything of them.”

“John McCain’s making fun of the fact that I said paying taxes is patriotic," he continued. "What I said was when a woman asked me, what do I tell people making over $250,000 a year that their taxes are going to go back to where they were with Reagan, which is a lot lower – lower than they were at Reagan, what do I tell them? I said tell them it’s time to be patriotic.”

Biden, who said there’s "no disagreement" between Barack Obama and McCain on tax cuts, but rather "the debate is who gets the tax cuts," advised Democratic supporters how to convert Republicans.

“Next time your Republican friends say to you, ‘This is going to be different,’ or ‘I don’t like Obama’s tax policy going to the middle class,’ or whatever they say, say ‘You’re right, last eight years worked pretty well, didn’t they? How do you feel, small businessman, about the last eight years? How do you feel, white collar worker, about the last eight years?’"

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