At campaign event Biden mentions rape in criticizing Republicans

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a fundraiser in Philadelphia Friday, compared Republicans in Congress to people who excuse rapists by blaming their victims.



The vice president, known for speaking his mind and at times putting his foot in his mouth, said that Republicans who want to cut spending while at the same time cutting taxes for the wealthy are similar to rape apologists.

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In setting up his comparison, the vice president explained to the audience that before the Violence Against Women Act that he championed was passed into law, “there was this attitude in our society of blaming the victim," according to a press pool account of the event.



“When a woman got raped, blame her because she was wearing a skirt too short, she looked the wrong way or she wasn't home in time to make the dinner,” Biden said.

“We've gotten by that,” he said. “But it's amazing how these Republicans, the right wing of this party – whose philosophy threw us into this God-awful hole we’re in, gave us the tremendous deficit we’ve inherited – that they’re  now using, now attempting to use, the very economic condition they have created to blame the victim – whether it’s organized labor or ordinary middle-class working men and women. It's bizarre. It's bizarre.”



After Biden's appearance at the fundraiser, his office tried to focus on the economic message.

"The vice president was obviously making the point that on any issue, we shouldn't blame the victim," Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said. "Blaming workers or union members for states' fiscal crises – an argument made by some Republican governors – isn't the answer."

President Obama has tapped Biden to be his lead negotiator with congressional Republicans on the budget.



Republicans quickly seized on Biden's comments with the party's House campaign arm calling them "tasteless and offensive."


"As much as Vice President Biden should retract this specific statement, he should apologize for comparing our country’s dismal economic situation to such horrid acts as violence against women,” said Joanna Burgos, spokeswoman for the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised about $400,000 from the fundraiser in Philadelphia. The DCCC raised more money than its Republican counterpart in February and January.

This story was updated at 9:25 p.m.