By Amie Parnes - 08/13/12 06:07 PM EDT
DURHAM, N.C. — Vice President Biden swiped at his challenger, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), on Monday, saying that while he is “a “good man,” the presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee has a “fundamentally flawed vision.”
Two days after presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, Biden cranked up his rhetoric, taking aim at the Republican congressman and his proposals.
“His definition is — it's clear, Congressman Ryan and the congressional Republicans, as one person said, have already passed in the House what Gov. Romney is promising to give the whole nation,” Biden said. “And ladies and gentlemen, we know, we know for certain, what I’ve been saying for a long time, there is no distinction, let’s get this straight, there is no distinction between what the Republican Congress has been proposing the last two years, actually the last four years, and what Gov. Romney wants to do.”
“So let’s cut through all this," the vice president added. "We’re running against, or they are running on, what the Republican Congress has been promoting for the past four years."
Biden sought to portray no daylight between Romney’s policies and what Ryan has proposed. And a particularly pugnacious Biden also aimed to pour cold water on the tax plan trumpeted by Romney and Ryan.
“What’s gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break?" he asked. "What’s gutsy about gutting Medicare, Medicaid and education?”
Biden frequently referred to Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, during his address, at one point quoting from the congressman’s acceptance speech on Saturday, where he said he and Romney would “restore dreams and greatness.”
"What he didn't say, what he didn't say was that the very plans he voted
for, what Romney has supported, put America's greatness at jeopardy.
How do they think we got in this mess in the first place?
"As my little granddaughter would say, 'Was it Casper the Ghost who came along and did this?' Who did it?"
Biden said Romney and Ryan would be like “the last administration on steroids."
Campaigning in Florida earlier in the day, Romney went on the defensive on Ryan’s controversial Medicare plan — to convert the government program into a voucher-based system — telling Florida voters that he and Ryan both want to "preserve and protect Medicare."
At the same time, Romney said President Obama’s plan on Medicare was “not the right answer.”
In an interview on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Ryan also defended his position.
"My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida," Ryan said, seated beside Romney. "Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because the government made promises to them that they've organized their retirements around. In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms that have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late '90s."
Before Biden spoke on Monday, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) told a crowd of a few hundred people that "the Romney Ryan plan will not work. The math does not work.”
In a response to Biden's speech, Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said the vice president had "doubled down on the same failed policies that have resulted in skyrocketing debt, higher taxes and record job losses. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand that our country is facing serious challenges that have been made worse by the Obama Administration’s big government agenda.
"The Romney-Ryan ticket will lay out a bold vision for our country and promote commonsense policies that will create jobs, help the middle class and turn around our struggling economy.”