Biden: Romney on taxes is a "quackin' duck"

Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking to supporters during a campaign rally at Marion Harding High School Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in Marion, Ohio.
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

MARION, Ohio - Class warrior Joe Biden took Mitt Romney to task on Wednesday for claiming that the tax breaks that reduced his rate to 14 percent are "fair," referring to the Republican presidential nominee's comments as "a quackin' duck."

With one of his now trademark, plain-speak appeals to blue-collar voters, Biden invoked an anecdote from his childhood, when he asked his mother to go "hang on the corner with the guys," and she cautioned him about getting into trouble.

"I said, 'Well I won't, Mom.' And she'd look at me and she'd say, 'Joey, if it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck!'" Biden told about 1,500 people at Marion Harding High School. "Man, this is one quackin' duck! This is one quackin'duck, Folks."

Biden was referring to a CBS "60 Minutes" interview in September, when Romney responded in the affirmative when asked whether tax breaks that lowered his rate to 14 percent on $20 million in income in 2011 were fair in light of taxpayers earning far less and paying higher rates.

"On television he said the math is too complicated for us to understand... I know the math," Biden said. "The math is, the little guy gets crushed and the big guy gets rich! That's the math. That's how it works."

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a response, "Vice President Biden and President Obama showed again today that their campaign is getting smaller and smaller as Election Day approaches. With no plan to grow the middle class, Americans know another four years of Obama-Biden policies will mean more of the same: falling incomes, higher taxes, and more debt."

At another stop, in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, Biden greeted patrons of a diner and acknowledged in an off-hand way that his public comments have sometimes gotten him in hot water at the White House. Introducing his daughter, Ashley Biden, the vice president joked, "They have her with me the last two weeks to keep me from making mistakes."

"Did it work?" patron Mary Lee Simpson asked.

"So far," Biden replied.

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