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Biden ‘buried' remark sets off avalanche of political spin

Iowa lieutenant governor suggests voting for Obama means 'continuing to get buried'

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of over 500 people at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/The Telegraph Herald, Mike Burley)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of over 500 people at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/The Telegraph Herald, Mike Burley)

Both presidential campaigns went into high gear this week, trying to spin an off-script remark by Vice President Joe Biden about the middle class being “buried” to their advantage ahead of the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Speaking in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Biden asked how Romney and Ryan can justify “raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years?”

To Republican Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, that was an “all-too-accurate admission” of what’s happened to middle class Americans under the Obama administration.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Reynolds said more Americans are out of work, more people are living in poverty, incomes have fallen, taxes and gas prices are higher, and the national debt is increasing.

Iowa voters have a choice between “continuing to get buried” or to choose Romney, who has proposed a 20 percent cut for all taxpayers and whose pro-growth policies will lead to more jobs and higher take-home pay, Reynolds said.

Later Tuesday, Biden, who is scheduled to campaign in Council Bluffs Thursday, modified his remarks to say, “The middle class was buried by the policies that Romney and Ryan have supported.”

“Massive tax cuts for the wealthy, eliminating restrictions on Wall Street, let the banks write their own rules,” Biden said, referring to the policies of the George W. Bush administration. “We know where it ends. It ends in the catastrophe of the middle class and the Great Recession of 2008.”

Reynolds wasn’t buying Biden’s rewrite of his comment.

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“The facts speak for themselves,” she said, repeating her points on higher taxes and joblessness, and lower income. “We’re not headed in the right direction. The middle class is not better off than four years ago.”

However, a Massachusetts legislator who served while Romney was governor of the commonwealth, found it ironic the Romney campaign would try to use the comment to its advantage.

“The intent was to point out that for many years the middle class has been under pressure,” said Naughton, who was campaigning in Iowa Wednesday. “It’s pretty ironic and disingenuous to be trying to use this one-off statement.”

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