Biden tells audience middle class has been 'buried' last four years

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Vice President Biden said Tuesday that the middle class has been “buried” for the last four years.

Biden made the remark at a campaign rally while arguing that Republicans would raise taxes on the middle class. He said the tax hike would be especially bad given what the middle class has been through over the last four years.

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“This is deadly earnest, man. This is deadly earnest,” the vice president 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.”

Republicans quickly seized on the remarks, accusing the Obama administration of implementing policies that have hurt the middle class.

“Vice President Biden made a stunning admission today and we couldn’t agree more: the middle class has been ‘buried’ under the last four years of this President’s policies," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "Under President Obama, the middle class has suffered from crushing unemployment, rising prices and falling incomes. They can’t afford to be ‘buried’ for four more years."

“We agree, the middle class has been buried the past four years by Obama's failed policies from higher taxes to more debt, which is why he doesn't deserve another term in the White House to make it worse,” said Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.


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Biden seemed to retool his remark later in the day at a second campaign rally, modifying his speech to say the middle class had been "buried" under policies Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan had been pushing.

"The middle class was buried by the policies that Romney and Ryan supported," he said.

The vice president's office said Biden, in his first speech, was arguing that President Bush's policies had caused the economy to crash, putting a strain on the middle class over the past four years. A Biden aide said Romney would return the country to Bush's policies. 

“As 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.”

All of the Bush-era tax rates are set to expire at the end of the year. Republicans want to extend all of the tax rates, while Obama wants to end the lower rates for upper-income households.

The vice president, campaigning in Charlotte and Asheville on Tuesday, was off to a bumpy start earlier in the day after his plane had to abort a landing attempt.

Arriving at his event more than an hour after its initial start time, Biden told the crowd that there were some “queasy stomachs on our plane.”

This story was posted at 1:33 and last updated at 5:12 p.m.