Ryan swipes Biden on 'buried' remark, says it's time to 'stop digging'

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan at a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, teed off on Vice President Biden's comment Tuesday that the middle class had been "buried" over the past four years.

Ryan said Republicans "agree" that the middle class had been "buried" by the struggling economy.

"That means we need to stop digging by electing Mitt Romney the next president of the United States. Of course the middle class is being buried ... they're being buried by the Obama administration's economic failures," Ryan said.

"I got to tell you, help is on the way, we can turn this around," Ryan added.

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Biden made the remark during a campaign stop in North Carolina on Tuesday as he was discussing the Romney-Ryan tax plan.

"This is deadly earnest, man. This is deadly earnest,” Biden said. “How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the 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.”

The Romney campaign quickly worked to amplify the comment, issuing a statement from a campaign spokeswoman calling the remark "stunning" and scheduling a press call for later Tuesday afternoon to discuss the vice president's remark.

During that call, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said it was "a very important date in America" because of Biden's "singularly correct observation."

But Sununu also admitted he didn't think the gaffe was significant enough to change votes.

“No, but I think it sets the stage for the debate that will take place tomorrow," Sununu said, adding it would tell voters "this is what you really ought to be looking for" during the contest.

An aide to Biden on Tuesday defended the vice president's comments in an email.

“As the Vice President has been saying all year and again in his remarks today, the middle class was punished by the failed Bush policies that crashed our economy — and a vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is a return to those failed policies," the aide said. "With more than five million private-sector jobs created since 2010, the Vice President and President Obama will continue to help the middle class recover and move the nation forward."