Vice President Biden found himself under fire Tuesday from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), who condemned alleged comments he made attacking the Tea Party.
Bachmann, a GOP presidential candidate, and Palin, a potential candidate, each reacted with outrage at a report that Biden, at a closed-door meeting with Democrats yesterday on Capitol Hill, said that Tea Party Republicans had “acted like terrorists” in negotiations over a debt-ceiling compromise.
“I like Michele Bachmann. For real,” Biden said, recounting a moment shortly after seeing Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) return to the Capitol. “We’re all standing there around, and Michele walks up to see Gabby, because she cares about her. I mean, look. The thing that sometimes gets lost in this place — maybe I spent too much time here as a senator — there is a basic humanity here, man. It matters between people. I know that sounds corny.”
Bachmann, who identifies heavily with the Tea Party, emailed supporters late Monday night to ask them to sign a petition demanding an apology from Biden. She joined Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in asking Biden to apologize.
Only in the bizarro world of Washington is fiscal responsibility sometimes defined as terrorism,” Bachmann wrote.
Palin also expressed outrage during an interview Monday night on Fox News.
“What we’re feeling is that growing more debt isn’t going to get us out of debt, and raising taxes in a down economy is a bad idea, and we’re taking a stand in light of those,” she said. “And so to be called a terrorist because of our beliefs from the vice president, it’s quite appalling. It’s quite vile.”
Whether other Republican presidential candidates join the pile-on is yet to be seen. Both Bachmann and Palin are seen as political figures whose own political fortunes are heavily tied to the Tea Party movement, the ascendant group of grassroots conservatives that Palin in particular has especially encouraged.
Already, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has joined the chorus: “Seriously Joe - this is beneath you and your office. Apologize and mean it,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Updated at 9:42 a.m.