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Republicans Bash Biden Over Claims of Increased Crime Without Jobs Bill

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Oct. 20, 2011: Vice President Biden speaks to students at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H.AP

Republicans are stepping up their criticism of Vice President Biden for his claim that rapes and murders will climb if Congress does not approve proposed aid for police and first responders. 

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said the vice president is using "fear tactics." Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Biden's remarks were "over the top." 

And as the Senate Thursday night turned down a pared-back jobs bill to send $35 billion to the states for teachers and first responders, the Republican National Committee threw up a web video accusing Biden of using "scare tactics" to try to push it through. The video excerpted several remarks, including Biden's claim to a reporter this week that "murder will continue to rise, rape will continue to rise" without more aid. 

The RNC on Friday morning also forwarded around a study from FactCheck.org claiming Biden was telling a "whopper." 

Biden's narrative started last week when he claimed in Flint, Mich., one of the most violent cities in America, that the number of murders and rapes had soared as the number of police officers had dropped. He said that between 2008 and 2010, the number of murders went from 35 to 65, and the number of rapes went from 91 to 229. FoxNews.com reported last week that, according to FBI figures, the city did see a significant rise in murders but the number of reported forcible rapes actually declined -- from 103 in 2008 to 92 in 2010. 

Biden's office told FoxNews.com last week that it got the 229 number from the Flint Police Department. 

However, FactCheck.org claimed it figured out the significant discrepancy. A city spokeswoman told the site that the 2010 number counted "all cases of criminal sexual conduct," and not just rapes. 

"That's an apples-to-oranges comparison," FactCheck.org wrote. 

In a statement to Fox News Radio, the city spokeswoman on Friday continued to defend Flint's stats, calling them an "actual portrayal of the level of violent crime in our city."

"The discrepancies with the FBI and other sources reveal the differences in how crimes can be counted and categorized, based on different criteria," spokeswoman Dawn Jones said. 

FactCheck.org said Biden is "right on his larger point," that murders increased in Flint as police staffing dropped. But the site said Biden is "clearly wrong" on his stats about rape. 

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stood by the premise on which Biden was basing his claims. 

"I think it would be hard to find anyone who doesn't agree with the simple equation that fewer police officers on the street has a direct effect on the crime rate," Carney said. "Having more law enforcement officers on the job, police officers on the job, would have a positive impact on crime. ... That's the point he was making. And that's a point that the president absolutely does share." 

The number of officers in Flint has declined from 201 in 2008 to 132 in 2010, according to FBI stats, while the number of murders has just about doubled in that time. 

Carney questioned why Republicans were picking apart Biden's words. 

"Are Republicans arguing that there is no correlation between the number of cops on the beat and the crime rate?" he said. "That would be an interesting argument to hear. It's a new one, a novel one." 

The response comes after Biden on Tuesday said in an address to Philadelphia police officers that the jobs bill is not a "temporary "salve. 

"Let me tell you, it's not temporary when that 9-1-1 call comes in and a woman's being raped. If a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape, it's not temporary to that woman," Biden said with his voice rising. "It's not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and has a gun being pointed to his head if a cop shows up and he's not killed. That's not temporary to that store owner. Give me a break -- temporary," he said.