Vice President Joe Biden went into last night’s debate with a heavy burden to revive the hopes and passion of the Democratic base, who were becoming dispirited after a listless performance by President Barack Obama at last week’s debate and the media onslaught and polls that followed.
His mission was to aggressively expose the Romney/Ryan platform as full of falsehoods, and get out a series of key talking points: the “47 percent,” the saving of General Motors, the refusal of congressional Republicans to work with President Obama, and their slavish devotion to an extreme ideology on taxes, abortion, and Grover Norquist. Biden managed to get those points out, in one instance, during a single answer. Asked by the moderator, veteran ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, what the Obama administration would do to get unemployment under 6 percent, and when, the vice president reeled off an exhaustive (and exhausting) bill of particulars:
… I don’t know how long it will take. We can and we will get it under 6 percent. Let’s look at — let’s take a look at the facts. Let’s look at where we were when we came to office. The economy was in free fall. We had — the great recession hit; 9 million people lost their job; $1.7 — $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes, in retirement accounts for the middle class.
We knew we had to act for the middle class. We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class. And in addition to that, when that — when that occurred, what did Romney do? Romney said, “No, let Detroit go bankrupt.” We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, “No, let foreclosures hit the bottom.”
But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. My friend recently in a speech in Washington said “30 percent of the American people are takers.”
These people are my mom and dad — the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, “not paying any tax.”
I’ve had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent — it’s about time they take some responsibility here. And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we’re going to level the playing field; we’re going to give you a fair shot again; we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street, making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy.
And with that, he became an instant hero of the Democratic base.
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