This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: This is deadly earnest man. This is deadly earnest. How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes in the middle class has been buried the last four years, how in lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?
PAUL RYAN, R - VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Vice President Biden just today said that the middle class over the last four years has been, quote, "buried." We agree. Of course the middle class has been buried. They are being buried by regulations, they're being buried by taxes, they're being buried by borrowing. They're being buried by the Obama administration's economic failures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER: Well, the vice presidential candidates talking taxes on the stump ahead of this big debate. Here behind us is Richie -- the Richie Auditorium there will be a lot of talk about the economy, not just for the ladies we talked to today and their concerns but for a lot of people wanting to know the next four years what it would look like under both administrations.
We're back with our panel. Steve, your thoughts about what was said on the trail today and what lies ahead for these two candidates?
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it's a rather interesting thing that Vice President Biden said. They've tried to clean it up in the hours since he made that comment, but I think he is right. The middle class has in fact been buried over the past four years. We have seen a drop in real income, real household income over the past four years that is even worse than it was during the immediate recession following the financial collapse of 2008. So that is an argument that I would expect Governor Romney to pick up.
I think the real question going into the debates is whether we're going to see the Governor Romney we saw sometimes in the Republican primary debates who was tough and aggressive and sort of took the fight to his opponents, or whether we're going to see this softer Gov. Romney that we've seen more on the campaign trail over the past week -- week, ten day that's has been sort of softer and trying not to drive the contrast so much.
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, I think that obviously Vice President Biden was talking about the consequences of the deep recession country went in and as the administration -- the administration's perspective, from his perspective as they were trying to get the economy straightened out, that the middle class has had a rough time. And what he is saying, you know, again, being generous to him because it's obviously some gaffe-type material for the Romney campaign, but that the administration -- the Obama administration has been pulling the middle class up and seeks to continue to do so.
I think tomorrow night you are going to hear a lot of discuss about taxes, about Medicare, about what the middle class really can expect going forward. So that is the argument that is going to come interestingly not just from Obama but also from Romney.
BAIER: OK, Charles.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There is one bit of repair he's going to have to do. Amid all the attacking, the reason that his numbers are so much worse in the swing states than they are in the national polls is because of six months of advertising about he wants to cut the taxes for the rich and to tax the middle class. You see ad after that, and they are both false. I think he needs to look at the camera straight, explain in a sentence or two why each is completely false, and to then turn to the president and ask him how he can premise his entire election on a way of presenting the Romney position that is so at odds with the truth.
So, it's a bit of defense, and then I think he goes on offense. But that, I think, is something he has to do because those images of him as cutting the taxes of the rich to -- and putting burden on the middle class is killing him.
BAIER: Panel, as always, from different parts of the country, thank you, Steve, Juan, Charles. That's it. But stay tuned for final look ahead from Denver as we get ready for this big night tomorrow night.
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