- (Photo: REUTERS / Joshua Roberts)
The Obama administration has been using inflammatory rhetoric on its jobs bill recently. In separate speeches this week, Vice President Joe Biden said Republican opposition to the bill will mean that more women will be raped and houses will burn down.
Biden was responding on Tuesday to Republican complaints that the jobs bill's funding for firefighters and police officers is only temporary, while the tax cuts are permanent.
“It's not temporary when that 911 call comes in and the woman is being raped and the cop shows up in time to prevent the rape,” Biden said in a low voice. His voice then grew angrier and louder: “I wish [Republican members of Congress] had some notion of what it's like to be on the other side of a gun, or a 200 pound man standing over you telling you to submit.”
Biden continued the same line of argument at a Wednesday speech in Washington, D.C., surrounded by firefighters and police officers. He argued that homes will burn down and people will die if Republicans do not pass the jobs bill.
“In many cities, the result has been – and it’s not unique – murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up and folks, there’s a simple reason for it. There’s been a perfect storm out there – these God-awful Ponzi schemes that the last outfit allowed Wall Street to engage in resulted in this gigantic collapse of the financial industry.
“Housing – the bottom fell out. Foreclosures increased, particularly in poorer neighborhoods. Abandoned homes are created. Drug lords move in. Arson increases. Budgets fall because the property taxes fall. Cops and firefighters get laid off. Response times increase from five minutes to 30 minutes, and people die, and people’s homes burn to the ground.”
Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, responded to Biden's remarks on Wednesday, saying, “Nothing could be more irresponsible and mean spirited. No victim of violent crime would ever wish that others were forced to experience the same trauma they went through – especially to make a brazen political point. So why would the sitting vice president of the United States?”
A modified version of Obama's jobs bill received 51 votes in the Senate last Friday, short of the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Some Democrats said they would vote in favor of ending debate on the bill, but would not vote in favor of the final bill, so the final bill would not have the support of a majority of Senators.
The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, is not bringing the full bill to a vote, but may vote on parts of the bill separately. Republican leaders have been asking the president to work with them on a bipartisan package of job-creation measures that they could support.
After Biden's speech in Washington on Wednesday, a reporter from Human Events, a conservative publication, asked if he regretted the rape comments.
“Let's get it straight, guy. Don't screw around with me. Let's get it straight,” Biden responded. “I said rape was up three times in Flint. Those are the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder is up, rape is up, burglary is up. That's what I said.”
“And if the Republicans don't pass this bill, then rape will continue to rise?” the reporter asked.
“Murder will continue to rise. Rape will continue to rise. All crime will continue to rise,” Biden answered.
The reporter then asked, “Do you think it's appropriate for the vice president to use language in such a way?”
Biden, looking frustrated, walked away without answering.