Biden: Romney is "a little out of touch"

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET

(CBS News) Vice President Joe Biden came out swinging against Mitt Romney on Sunday's "Face the Nation," saying the Republican presidential front-runner "seems not to understand" the struggle of the middle class.

"Governor Romney's a little out of touch," Biden told anchor Bob Schieffer.

"I can't remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand... what ordinary middle class people are thinking about and are concerned about," Biden added.

The vice president criticized the former Massachusetts governor for his statements opposing government intervention in the auto industry and his hands-off, free-market approach to foreclosures

"I don't know if he understands that there are 12 million people out there paying their mortgage payments," Biden said. "And all we want to do is give 'em a chance to refinance at a lower rate."

"None of what he's offering does anything. It's just returning to the old policies," Biden said.

Democrats have jumped on the opportunity to attack Romney, the former head of Bain Capital who is reported to be worth up to $250 million, for being out-of-touch when he said he has friends who own NASCAR teams, that he is friends with the owners of the Dolphins and Jets pro-football teams, and when he said he's "not concerned about the very poor."

But the Romney campaign pushed back. In a statement emailed to CBS News, spokesperson Andrea Saul wrote: "Vice President Biden demonstrated just how 'out of touch' the Obama Administration is with reality. After three years of record unemployment and skyrocketing gas prices, the only thing President Obama has delivered is a string of broken promises that have decimated the middle class."

On the program, when asked by Schieffer about the president's comments to outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have more "flexibility" after the election, Biden turned the focus to Romney and lobbed another common critique.

"Speaking of flexible, Governor Romney's a pretty flexible guy - on his positions," Biden said, referring to another criticism made by both Democrats and Republican challengers that Romney changes his position for political expediency.

Biden said Romney's statements on Russia "exposes how little the governor knows about foreign policy."

Romney told CNN that Russia is "without question our number one geopolitical foe."

"He acts like he thinks the Cold War's still on," Biden said of the governor. "I mean we have disagreements with Russia but they're united with us on Iran. The... one of only two ways we're getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia."

During the new hour-long "Face the Nation" broadcast, Schieffer asked why Romney is having a hard time clinching the nomination. Biden blamed the Republican Party.

"This is not your father's Republican party," Biden said saying the electorate has moved to the right.

"The Republican electorate is different than it's been the last 10, 12 years," Biden said. "That's the change that I'm most fascinated with watching, is how much has it changed - how far right has it gone or how anti-government has it become."

Biden said the GOP is not "hiding the ball" on their positions and said the general election will be a stark contrast between the two candidates.

"They're not talking about compassionate conservatism," Biden said, referring to President George W. Bush's platform as a candidate. "They're not talkin' about public education being the key to economic growth and stability in the country."

"They're just saying exactly what they believe," Biden said.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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