(CBS News) DURHAM, N.C. - Vice President Joe Biden on Monday began seeking to make the case that Rep. Paul Ryan's record as House Budget Committee chairman is an ominous portent for how he and Mitt Romney would govern in the White House, saying that Ryan "has given definition to the vague commitments that Romney's been making."
Addressing a crowd of about 500 people here in his first public remarks since Romney chose Ryan, Biden said the Wisconsin congressman's budget plan already has already been through the wringer as a referendum, and came up short.
"We're running against, or they're running on, what the Republican Congress has been promoting for the past four years," Biden said. "And fundamentally, the American people have already rejected that Republican congressional initiative."
The vice president said he likes Ryan personally, calling him "a good guy, he's a decent guy." Recounting the conversation that the two had on Saturday when Biden called to congratulate him, he said, "We both talked about it: These are stark, stark choices."
Ryan's budget plan, which included a significant Medicare overhaul, passed the Republican-controlled House last year almost entirely along party lines, but has not moved in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Referring to the vote, Biden said Monday to massive applause, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends."
Biden also took issue with the contention that the plan is gutsy. "Now look, what's gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break?" he asked. "What's gutsy about gutting Medicare, Medicaid, education? What's gutsy? They talked about what they're proposing is new. Folks, it's not only not new, it's not fair."
After charging Ryan with helping to blockade progress in Congress on creating jobs for the middle class, Biden also pointed out the vow in Ryan's acceptance speech as a nominee to "restore the dreams and greatness of this country." Biden said, "What he didn't say: that the very plans he voted for, and what Romney has supported, put America's greatness in jeopardy. How do they think we got in this mess in the first place?
"As my little granddaughter would say," he continued, "'Was it Casper the Ghost who came along and did this?'"
Responding to Biden's remarks, Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said the vice president "doubled down on the same failed policies that have resulted in skyrocketing debt, higher taxes and record job losses. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand that our country is facing serious challenges that have been made worse by the Obama administration's big-government agenda."