Biden: Romney is 'profoundly wrong' about America

Vice President Biden in March 2012 file photo
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

(CBS News) Hanover, N.H. -- Vice President Joe Biden got emotional today in his first remarks on the controversy surrounding Republican nominee Mitt Romney's suggestion at a spring fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans are victims who want government handouts.

"He thinks these folks believe they're entitled. That they've become dependent, they see themselves as victims who won't take responsibility for their own lives," Biden said to more than 1,000 students at Dartmouth College. "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 went on to ridicule Romney's remarks as out of touch. "Based on everything he's done in his career, I believe he genuinely believes that nearly half this country is made up of people who see themselves as victims who in fact are dependent on government," Biden said.

"As my dad would say, I don't expect the government to solve my problems," Biden said. "But at least it's got to understand my problems, just understand them."

Biden gave some examples of the types of people he said Romney was including in the 47 percent: An elderly widow "living on Social Security and Medicare which she worked for her whole life to earn," a war veteran in his 60s who is treated at a Naval hospital, a young veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who is in school on the GI bill, and a young couple with minimum wage jobs who get a child care tax credit. Biden added that the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, would eliminate that credit and cut student aid.

Romney's campaign swiftly responded to Biden's remarks with an email attacking the economic record of the Obama administration. "With record levels of poverty, high unemployment, and falling incomes, Americans know they're not better off than they were four years ago," campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said. "Mitt Romney will be a president for 100% of Americans, with a plan for a stronger middle class that adds millions of jobs, gets our economy growing, and results in more upward mobility, not government dependency."

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    Rodney Hawkins covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.