(LAS VEGAS) — Vice President Joe Biden used controversial language to describe the GOP agenda in an exchange with an audience member in Las Vegas Thursday.
Biden referenced Young Guns, the book the Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., co-wrote with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in his speech to union workers at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas Events Center.
“They have guns but no bullets,” a member of the crowd shouted.
“Unfortunately, the bullets are aimed at you,” Biden replied, pointing at the man who had spoken and prompting laughter from the audience.
The vice president added that Republicans were dividing the country by talking about “a culture of dependency.”
Shortly after the rally, Romney-Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck hit back at Biden.
“Today’s over-the-top rhetoric by Vice President Biden is disappointing, but not all that surprising,” Buck wrote in an emailed statement. “In the absence of a vision or plan to move the country forward, the vice president is left only with ugly political attacks beneath the dignity of the office he occupies. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will bring serious leadership to Washington that will focus on an agenda of job creation and economic growth that benefits all Americans.”
Biden Press Secretary Amy Dudley clarified the comment, saying in an emailed statement, “The Vice President’s exchange with an audience member today was clearly a reference to how the policies discussed in Paul Ryan’s book, Young Guns, would devastate the middle class. Given that people don’t assume that Paul Ryan is literally a gun, it probably makes sense not to assume that Joe Biden was speaking literally about bullets.”
During the foreign policy portion of his stump speech, Biden made a mistake in talking about the troops. Neither presidential candidate has ruled out military action against Iran to stop its production of nuclear weapons, but the vice president jumped the gun a bit, referring to U.S. veterans who supposedly fought in Iran.
“How many of you know someone who served in Iraq or Iran?” Biden asked the audience.
In reply, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raised his hand.
“How many of you know someone who has been injured or lost in Iraq or Iran?” Biden asked again. “Well, let me tell you something. We owe … these families more than we can ever pay them.”
As Biden continued, it became clear that rather than referring to a secret war, he had mixed up “Iran” and “Afghanistan.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “so far you know when you’re in the theater in Iraq or Afghanistan, the vets can tell you this if you were there: When the military talks about someone who’s been killed they refer to them as a fallen angel.”
In response to a question about a potential war with Iran at the vice presidential debate last week, Biden answered, “It is not in my purview to talk about classified information, but we feel quite confident we could deal a serious blow to the Iranians.”
In Biden’s address Thursday, he expanded on President Obama’s comments that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s plans for the economy were “sketchy” [watch that Obama speech here].
“Well I folks, I don’t think they were just sketchy,” Biden said. “I think they were Etch-a-Sketchy.”
For the second day in a row, Biden hammered away at Romney and Ryan’s views on women’s issues — specifically, equal pay and abortion — and said that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, would be in danger of being overturned under a Romney presidency.
“They don’t believe a woman has a right to control her own body. We disagree,” Biden said. “And after these debates, do you have any doubt who they will likely appoint to the Supreme Court of the United States? How much chance do you think Roe v. Wade will survive after four years of a Romney Supreme Court?”
Later in the day, Biden stopped by an elementary school, where he was swarmed by children eager to greet the vice president.
Turning to one of the members of faculty, Biden asked the students, “Is she a good teacher?” to which they shouted, “Yeah!”
“I tell you what,” Biden said. “I wish my constituents liked me as much.”
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