Biden: Middle class been 'buried' the last 4 years

Associated Press
Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. at The Fillmore. Biden returned to Charlotte for his sixth visit to North Carolina this year. The visit comes a month before Election Day and a day after a new poll showed the presidential race deadlocked in North Carolina. (AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Jeff Siner)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the middle class has been "buried" during the past four years, a statement that Republicans immediately seized upon as an unwitting indictment of the Obama administration.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney replied on Twitter that he agrees with Biden, saying: "the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November."

Biden told about 1,000 people in Charlotte that Romney would cut taxes for millionaires and raise them for middle-class families.

"This is deadly earnest," Biden said. "How they can justify raising taxes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?"

Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for Obama's campaign, said the Republican response was "another desperate and out-of-context attack."

Smith said Biden has long been saying, as he repeated on Tuesday, "that the middle class was punished by the failed Bush policies that crashed our economy."

A vote for Romney and running mate Paul Ryan "is a return to those failed policies," she said.

Ryan, campaigning Tuesday in Iowa, said there's a solution for the plight of the middle class.

"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," he said in Burlington, Iowa. "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."

The Romney campaign also scheduled a conference call for reporters with former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu to respond to Biden's comments.


Associated Press writers Matthew Daly in Washington and David Pitt in Burlington, Iowa, contributed to this report.