Mitt Romney’s campaign pounced Tuesday on remarks by Vice President Joe Biden about “the middle class that’s been buried the last four years,” calling the comment a candid acknowledgment that President Obama’s economic policies have failed.
The president’s reelection team responded by accusing Romney of a “desperate and out-of-context attack.”
Biden uttered the phrase in the course of criticizing a tax plan by Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Some analysts have concluded that the GOP ticket’s proposal would lead to lower taxes for wealthy Americans and bigger tax bills for low- and middle-income households.
“Look, guys, this is deadly earnest, man,” Biden told the crowd at a rally in Charlotte, N.C. “This is deadly earnest! How they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years? How in the Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?”
“Vice President Biden made a stunning admission today,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said, “and we couldn’t agree more: The middle class has been ‘buried’ under the last four years of this president’s policies. Under President Obama, the middle class has suffered from crushing unemployment, rising prices and falling incomes. They can’t afford to be ‘buried’ for four more years. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will take our nation in a new direction and are offering exactly what hardworking families need—real reforms for a real recovery.”
A tweet from Romney’s Twitter account added: “Agree with @JoeBiden, the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November #CantAfford4More.”
The Obama campaign said Biden’s overall message was an indictment of Romney’s tax plan, not Obama’s economic record.
“As the vice president has been saying all year and again in his remarks today, the middle class was punished by the failed Bush policies that crashed our economy, and a vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is a return to those failed policies,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said.Callum Borchers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.