Manchester, N.H. - Vice President Joe Biden dedicated his speeches Friday to delivering a blistering rebuttal of Mitt Romney's comments that 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income tax are "dependent on the government" -- but not without fumbling a key riff about U.S. combat troops.
"Those dependent people [Romney] refers to, those 47 percent, they include the 650,000 troops still left in Afghanistan who because they are in combat, being shot at, injured, they do not have to pay any federal income tax on their salary," Biden said in a state where veterans are an influential voting bloc. "I don't call that dependency. I call that ingratitude to not recognize they are a part of that 47%."
When the speech on the steps of the New Hampshire State House concluded, a Biden aide told reporters that the vice president had intended to say 68 thousand, not 650 thousand U.S. troops, are serving in Afghanistan. After repeatedly declining to comment on Romney's 47% remarks Tuesday - "his words speak for themselves," he told reporters then - Biden released a flood of opinion three days later: accusing Romney of denigrating seniors on social security and Medicare, veterans who go to the VA hospital or qualify for the GI Bill, and hardworking families who rely on the child care credit or Pell Grants.
"He thinks these folks believe they're entitled -- that they've become dependent, they see themselves as victims who wont take responsibility for their own lives, " Biden said forcefully on the Dartmouth campus, to a crowd of approximately a thousand students "How could he be so profoundly wrong about America? How is that possible? Not in my neighborhood! Not where I grew up! Not the people I know!"
The vice president continued to insinuate that Romney doesn't relate to Americans because of his privileged background. He mocked Romney's wealth when Governor John Lynch told Biden he should consider moving to the Granite State after re-election.
A man in the audience yelled, "Like Romney!" referring to the governor's vacation home in Wolfeboro.
Standing next to Lynch on stage, Biden mouthed words that were barely picked up by the microphone. "I can't afford it!" he said, comically raising his eyebrows, shrugging his shoulders, and holding his hands up helplessly. He proceeded to reach into his pockets and pull them inside out to indicate he didn't have any money in them.