DENVER–Vice-president Joe Biden is the only member of two presidential tickets who hasn’t hit the campaign trail in swing-state Colorado in the last three months, and on Tuesday he reminded everyone why.
Biden’s comment Tuesday in North Carolina that “the middle class has been buried the last four years” came as an unexpected boon to Republicans on the eve of the first presidential debate at the University of Denver.
Republicans seized on the comment, saying that they couldn’t agree with Biden more. At a hastily called press conference Tuesday in Denver, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) called Biden’s statement a “tremendous acknowledgment” of the Obama administration’s failure to boost the economy with stimulus spending.
Obama campaign officials scrambled to explain that Biden had been taken out of context, and that what he meant was that “the middle class was punished by the failed Bush policies that crashed our economy,” Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith told the Associated Press. But the damage had been done.
“Today is a very important day in American history: Vice President Biden finally got something right when he made the admission that the middle class has been buried in the last four years under President Obama,” former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said in a press call.
Romney sent a message on Twitter saying that he agrees with Biden, adding that “the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November.”
The remark put the Obama campaign in damage-control mode the day before President Obama and Romney are scheduled to appear at the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign.
Biden was speaking to a crowd in Charlotte, N.C., about the perils of raising taxes on the middle class.
“This is deadly earnest,” Biden said. “How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in the Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes?”
In Iowa, Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan also used Biden’s comment to push the case for a Romney presidency.
“That means we need to stop digging by electing Mitt Romney the next president of the United States. Of course the middle class has been buried,” Ryan said.
“They’re being buried by regulations; they’re being buried by taxes; they’re being buried by borrowing. They’re being buried by the Obama administration’s economic failures.”