Biden says Romney revealed true self with '47 percent' remarks

Vice President Biden swung hard at Mitt Romney's secretly recorded remarks that 47 percent of Americans do not take personal responsibility for their lives.

President Obama was criticized by Democrats for failing to mention the remarks, which Romney made at a private fundraiser earlier this year, in last week's presidential debates.


But Biden pounced Thursday night during his vice presidential debate with GOP running mate Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.), using the comments to paint Romney as a candidate more interested in helping the nation's wealthy than the middle class.

"It shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives," he said.

"These people are my mom and dad, the people who I grew up with, my neighbors," Biden added. "They are elderly people ... they are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan."

Romney later disowned the comments, calling them "completely wrong." Ryan leapt to his defense during Thursday's debate.

"This is a man who gave 30 percent of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined," he told Biden. "Mitt Romney's a good man. He cares about 100 percent in this country."

But Biden didn't let up. He said that if someone believes Romney did not really mean the remarks, "I've got a bridge or something to sell you."

Biden also jabbed at Republicans for signing the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not approve higher taxes, headed by Grover Norquist.

"Instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us not to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we're going to level the playing field," the vice president said. 

"It's about time they took responsibility," he added.

Ryan closed the exchange with a parting jab at Biden's tendency to gaffe.

"I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way," he said.

Biden responded that he usually means what he says — and said voters he believe Romney was stating his true beliefs in that candid "47 percent" moment.