Vice President Biden said Tuesday that the middle class has been “buried the last four years” — a practically gift-wrapped gaffe that Republicans immediately grabbed to hammer President Obama on the eve of the first presidential debate.
Biden made the remark at a campaign stop in Charlotte, N.C., in the course of slamming Republican tax policies which Democrats claim would cut taxes for the rich and hike them for the middle class.
“This is deadly earnest,” Biden said. “How they can justify — 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?”
Mitt Romney, it turns out, couldn’t agree more with the first part.
He tweeted: “Agree with @JoeBiden, the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November #CantAfford4More.”
Running mate Paul Ryan echoed, saying at a rally in Iowa that “we need to stop digging” and elect Romney.
Both the Romney campaign and The Republican National Committee got to work blasting out a clip of the comment Tuesday afternoon, in what the Obama campaign decried as a “desperate and out-of-context attack.”
But Republicans used the remark to hammer home claims that Obama’s economic policies have hurt the middle class, in advance of a debate where the economy is sure to feature prominently.
An RNC official told FoxNews.com: “Joe Biden said what so many Americans are feeling every day. For four years, the middle class has been buried by Obama’s failed policies from higher taxes to more debt which is why he has a difficult time explaining why he deserves another term in the White House.”
Democrats seeking to boost voter turnout this fall are beginning to sound like the late comedian Chris Farley’s portrayal of a “motivational speaker” on Saturday Night Live. Farley’s character sought to inspire young people by announcing that they wouldn’t amount to “jack squat” and would someday be “living in a van down by the river.”
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who prefers sailing vessels to vans by the river, recently tried out the Farley method. Said Mr. Kerry, “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.” Bay State voters are surely thrilled to be represented by a man so respectful of their concerns.
This week President Obama chimed in with another uplifting message about the American electorate. Mr. Obama told Rolling Stone that the tea party movement is financed and directed by “powerful, special-interest lobbies.” But this doesn’t mean that tea party groups are composed entirely of corporate puppets. Mr. Obama graciously implied that a small subset of the movement is simply motivated by bigotry.
The President said “there are probably some aspects of the Tea Party that are a little darker, that have to do with anti-immigrant sentiment or are troubled by what I represent as the President.” The tea party is now supported by a third of the country in some polls.
Vice President Biden is out with an alarmed e-mail cash appeal warning that the GOP will mount a “blitzkrieg” against Democrats in the fall.
Comparing GOP tactics to the fast-striking forces of Nazi Germany, Biden warns in a message sent by the DCCC today: “As things heat up, you can expect House Democrats will be hit with a GOP blitzkrieg of vicious Swift-Boat-style attack ads, Karl Rove-inspired knockout tactics, thinly veiled attempts at character assassination and tea party disruptions.”
And while the GOP is mounting a blitzkrieg, Democrats are the allies.
“Our Democratic allies in the House need your help, and the President and I hope we can count on you to come to their defense so we can hold onto our Democratic Majority and continue moving American forward in a new direction,” Biden writes in the appeal.
Subtle? Not so much.
Update: Republicans were not amused by the implications of the e-mail.
Kevin Smith, spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner, e-mailed a comment that seems sure to get under Democrats’ skins: “When will Democrats learn that invoking the Nazis’ crimes against humanity in a political debate is simply inappropriate?”
Obama is a taxing machine. He’s raised taxes on the middle class. He’s raising taxes on businesses. In Obama’s world if it moves, you tax it .. and if it stands still you get a union worker to paint it and call it a stimulus project.
Now there are some people, of course, who aren’t all that happy at having their taxes increased. Is the Obama administration ready to listen to them? Is there any option open to Obama other than increasing taxes? Yeah, right.
Obama has two reasons for raising taxes. One, of course, is to obtain the revenue needed to expand government. America, to Obama, IS government. The other reason for Obama’s tax increases is wealth seizure and redistribution. Barack Obama is dedicated to the concept of transferring as much wealth from high-achievers (the evil rich) to the traditional Democrat support base as possible. Remember Joe the Plumber?
So .. .how do the ObamaBots react to people who aren’t happy with the taxes they’re paying, and have the courage to speak out? Now we know:
Joe Biden is touring the country this summer, trying to sell the stimulus package and convince Americans that it has worked. You know things are bad when you still have to get out there and sell a piece of legislation that was passed over a year ago. Sadly, Joe isn’t that great as a salesman. He tells a crowd, “there’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.” He then blamed “this godawful mess” on George Bush. Well of course. But here’s another little fact that Joe Biden failed to tell the crowd. Since the beginning of the recession, some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the government sector. And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000. Obama’s stimulus bill isn’t working. Period. It was just a conglomeration of long-time Democrat pork projects stuffed into one horrendous piece of legislation.
But back to Biden’s recovery tour: Biden shows up to a custard shop in Greenfield, Wisconsin. This is where he encounters the owner of Kopp’s Custard and we get the following exchange:
Biden: What do we owe you?
Manager: Don’t worry. It’s on us. … (inaudible) … Lower our taxes and we’ll call it even.
(A few minutes after the Kopp’s manager’s comment on “Lower our taxes,” there’s another exchange.)
Biden: Why don’t you say something nice instead of being a smartass all the time? Say something nice.
Being a smartass? Just what is it that made this small businessman a smartass? He actually told the high and exalted Vice President to “lower our taxes.” That’s all it took, and suddenly not only is he a smartass, but he’s a smartass “all the time.”
This level of arrogance is not only unforgivable, but it’s dangerous as well. We’ve lost jobs in the private sector since Obama was crowned. We’ve lost jobs in spite of his so-called stimulus bill. The people we will depend on in the private sector to create jobs are people like the owner of this custard shop in Wisconsin. He sends a message to Obama and the Democrats through Joe Biden .. and he’s called a smartass. Instead of entering a dialog with this man – perhaps asking him if his tax burden is standing in the way of a business expansion – Biden just pops off with his smartass line.
Well, my friends? I guess that’s what Obama and the Democrats think of those of us who think that taxes are too high .. and that perhaps lowering those taxes (or at least not raising them any further) might spur some economic activity.
Maybe the tea party movement needs to consider a name change … Smartass Tea Party or something more clever … much more clever.
The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan is being called to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama after issuing an apology Tuesday for an interview in which he described the president as unprepared for their first meeting.
In the article in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.
McChrystal’s comments are reverberating through Washington and the Pentagon after the magazine depicted him as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration.
It characterized him as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.
In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”
McChrystal has been called to the White House Situation Room on Wednesday to explain his comments to the magazine directly to the president, a senior administration official told Fox News. Normally, he would appear on a conference call for a regular strategy session.
McChrystal also called Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen late Monday to apologize. Mullen told the general he was deeply disappointed, according to a senior military official at the Pentagon.
The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.
“I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
It quoted an adviser to McChrystal dismissing the early meeting with Obama as a “10-minute photo op.”
“Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. The boss was pretty disappointed,” the adviser told the magazine.
Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. The White House’s troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.
McChrystal said Tuesday, “I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”
The profile, titled “The Runaway General,” emerged from several weeks of interviews and travel with McChrystal’s tight circle of aides this spring.
It includes a list of administration figures said to back McChrystal, including Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and puts Vice President Joe Biden at the top of a list of those who don’t.
The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”
Asked by the Rolling Stone reporter about what he now feels of the war strategy advocated by Biden last fall – fewer troops, more drone attacks – McChrystal and his aides reportedly attempted to come up with a good one-liner to dismiss the question. “Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal reportedly joked. “Who’s that?”
Biden initially opposed McChrystal’s proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.
“Biden?” one aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?”
Another aide reportedly called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.”
Some of the strongest criticism, however, was reserved for Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The boss says he’s like a wounded animal,” one of the general’s aides was quoted as saying. “Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.”
If Eikenberry had doubts about the troop buildup, McChrystal said he never expressed them until a leaked internal document threw a wild card into the debate over whether to add more troops last November. In the document, Eikenberry said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was not a reliable partner for the counterinsurgency strategy McChrystal was hired to execute.
McChrystal said he felt “betrayed” and accused the ambassador of giving himself cover.
“Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books,” McChrystal told the magazine. “Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so.”‘
There was no immediate response from Eikenberry. The Associated Press requested comment through an aide after business hours Monday in Kabul.
Eikenberry remains in his post in Kabul, and although both men publicly say they are friends, their rift is on full display.
McChrystal and Eikenberry, himself a retired Army general, stood as far apart as the speakers’ platform would allow during a White House news conference last month.
Fox News’ Justin Fishel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The White House says Obama and his family will travel to their hometown on Thursday and stay through the weekend. It will be their first trip back home since a visit for Valentine’s Day weekend in February 2009.
On Monday, Obama is scheduled to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.
In Obama’s absence, Vice President Joe Biden will participate in the customary wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.
More details about Obama’s trip will be released soon.