NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. – President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill would provide roughly $30 billion in aid to state and local governments to help retain about 400,000 teachers at risk of being fired because of budget cuts, and an additional $5 billion to help local governments keep about 18,000 police officers and 7,000 firefighters on the job. For that reason, President Obama has spent much of his bus tour this week visiting schools and communities colleges, and Wednesday afternoon he will make remarks at Fire Station No. 9 here in North Chesterfield, Virginia.
Vice President Biden — who in the Senate in 1994 authored the COPS bill providing funding for 88,000 additional police officers – has been making the case as well, in his somewhat more passionate style.
In Philadelphia on Tuesday, standing with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other officers at Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania, the vice president said that one argument he’s “heard from my friends who oppose” the jobs bill is that “this is just temporary.”
“Well let me tell you, it’s not temporary when that 911 call comes in and a woman’s being raped if a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape,” he continued. “It’s not temporary to that woman.
“It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and a gun is being pointed to his head,” he continued, “if a cop shows up and he’s not killed, that’s not temporary to that store owner.
“Give me a break, ‘temporary’!” the Veep said. “I wish these guys that thought it’s temporary, I wish they had some notion what it’s like to be on the other side of a gun. Or a 200 pound man standing over you telling you to submit. Folks, it matters. It matters!”
A senior administration official says “The Vice President was talking about the serious nature of a crime. He was clearly making the point that a delayed response from the police could result in even more serious consequences of the crime.”
In Flint, Michigan, last week, the vice president said, “if anyone listening doubts whether there’s a direct correlation between the reduction in cops and firefighters and the rise in concerns in public safety, they need look no further than your city, Mr. Mayor…
“Let’s look at the facts: in 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city,” the Vice President said. “In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields.”
“God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it,” he said. “And God only knows what that number would have been had we not been able to get a little bit of help to you.”
-Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce