HANOVER, N.H. – Vice President Joe Biden unleashed a stream of attacks on Mitt Romney Friday over the GOP nominee’s recorded comments that 47 percent of voters consider themselves to be “victims” and are “dependent upon government.”
Biden had refrained from commenting on the topic earlier in the week.
“He thinks all these folks … believe they’re entitled, that they’ve become dependent, [that] they see themselves as victims who won’t take responsibility for their own lives,” Biden said on the Cutter-Shabbaz Lawn at Dartmouth College. “How could he be so profoundly wrong about America? How is that possible? Not in my neighborhood! Not where I grew up! Not the people I know!”
Biden rose to the defense of the 47 percent Romney referenced at that May fundraiser.
“Ladies and gentlemen, folks, this is not a country of victims. This is a country where when people get knocked down they get back up. There’s absolutely no quit in America. There never has been any quit in America,” Biden said. “When I hear Romney and Ryan, this new Republican Party in Congress, talk about decline and dependency, I give you my word, I don’t know what country they’re living in. I really don’t. I don’t see it. I don’t see it anywhere I go. I don’t see it in the neighborhoods I grew up in. I don’t see it in wealthy or poor neighborhoods. I don’t see it.”
Romney’s controversial remarks surfaced Monday when Mother Jones magazine posted a secret fundraiser video showing the GOP nominee speaking candidly. During a Univision “Meet the Candidate” forum Wednesday, Romney cleaned up his statement, saying he is concerned about “the 100 percent of America.”
Earlier in the week, Biden stayed quiet when reporters asked him to comment on Romney’s remarks, saying he would “let his words speak for themselves,” but on this college campus today, Biden quoted his father to stress how people across this country feel about the role of government in their lives.
“We believe … America’s always prospered when hard work is rewarded, everyone has a fair shot, everyone plays by the rules, everyone gets a fair shake, where everyone is held accountable, rich and poor and, first and foremost, where everybody gets an opportunity,” Biden said. “We don’t think people who reject responsibility should be given opportunities again. We think they’ve made a choice. But the vast majority, the overwhelming majority of the American people – as my dad would say, ‘I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but at least it’s got to understand my problems, just understand them.’”
Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney’s campaign, responded in a statement: ”With record levels of poverty, high unemployment and falling incomes, Americans know they’re not better off than they were four years ago. They are looking for a new direction. President Obama yesterday admitted he can’t change Washington, and Vice President Biden – having spent the last four decades in Washington – can’t either. Mitt Romney will be a president for 100 percent of Americans, with a plan for a stronger middle class that adds millions of jobs, gets our economy growing, and results in more upward mobility, not government dependency,”
Biden, who is on a two-day tour in the Granite State, is campaigning with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, for the second time since the convention.
Jill Biden introduced her husband, drawing laughs from the college-aged crowd when she said just how well she knows the vice president.
“This election is personal to me and it’s deep-deeply personal to the man I’m about to introduce. I’ve seen Joe up close,” she said as a round of giggles went through the crowd.
She gasped as she realized why they were laughing and insisted, “It’s in my remarks! Really!”
When he took the podium, Biden whispered a few words to his wife before speaking to the crowd himself
“Where I come from, I am known as Jill Biden’s husband and I’m voting for her. I want you all to know that the only reason I hang around is so she can see me up close,” the vice president said to more laughs from the crowd. “But all kidding aside, you can tell you’re on a college campus, man.”