Vice President Biden and the ‘T’ word

Aug 1, 2011 7:04pm

At a meeting with House Democrats today, Vice President Biden got an earful from Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., who said “the Tea Party acted like terrorists in threatening to blow up the economy.”

Doyle used the term several times. Several sources told Politico that the Vice President responded, “they have acted like terrorists.”

Did he say that?

Democratic officials in the room did not respond to emails sent by ABC News.

A spokeswoman for the Vice President, Kendra Barkoff, said, “the word was used by several members of Congress. The vice president does not believe it’s an appropriate term in political discourse.”

The Vice President told CBS News’ Scott Pelley, ""I did not use the terrorism word…What happened was there were some people who said they felt like they were being held hostage by terrorists. I never said that they were terrorists or weren't terrorists, I just let them vent. I said, ‘Even if that were the case, what's been happening when you now have taken and paid the debt and move that down so we can now discuss, the nuclear weapon's been taken out of anyone's hands.’"

As ABC News' Sunlen Miller notes, some in the GOP took umbrage.

Senator Jim DeMint, R-SC., on the Senate floor this evening called it “deeply disturbing” to hear the reports of the comments.

“It's deeply disturbing to hear the vice president refer to tea parties as terrorists as did he today, holding a gun to the heads of Republicans and forcing us to make cuts,” DeMint said, “Clearly vice president Biden and many here are not listening to what Americans are saying and are trying to diminish what Americans are saying by suggesting this is part of one small group.”

And Senator  Rand Paul, R-KY, tweeted the Vice President: "Laughable to be called 'terrorist' by those holding economy hostage. Prefer to be thought of as freedom fighter. #teaparty.”

If the Vice President did indeed use the "t" word to describe Tea Partyers — "new tone" notwithstanding — he wouldn't be the first official to do so.

Earlier this year, former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told Bloomberg Television that "the people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of al Qaeda terrorists. Really. They're really putting our whole society at risk by threatening to round up 50 percent of the members of the Congress, who are loony, who would put our credit at risk."

-Jake Tapper

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