As President Obama nears the end of his presidency, he set a defiant tone in his second to last State of the Union address.
Vice President Joe Biden said the president isn't trying to go on the offensive during his last two years in office, but he's making it clear "it's time to talk about the middle class," especially as the country recovers from the financial crisis and is experiencing its fastest economic growth yet during Mr. Obama's presidency.
"Have you noticed an awful lot of Republicans the last three weeks or four weeks are claiming credit for this recovery? What caused the recovery were the programs that in fact we put in place," Biden said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." "All the president is saying is, don't stop the momentum now. You're acknowledging there's real momentum, now let's keep it going and get the middle class a better deal."
One way Mr. Obama proposed to do this is by increasing capital gains taxes and closing a trust fund loophole that primarily benefits the wealthy. According to the White House, the loophole "lets the wealthy pass appreciated assets onto their heirs tax-free."
"So we're just saying, hey look, what's more appropriate? To spend $220 billion and give middle class people a tax break, or continue something that has no productive value and not a single Republican can give you a good argument why there should be an exception to them paying tax on that?" Biden said.
With both the House and Senate controlled by Republicans, it won't be easy for the president and the Democrats to push the proposal forward. However, Biden said he's having private conversations with Republican leaders, and "they know it has to happen."
"Have you ever heard a Republican use the phrase 'middle class' as you have in the last year? They get it, they get it," Biden said, calling it a value system he's convinced Republicans agree with.
He said he saw Republicans in the chamber standing "an awful lot" during the State of the Union address.
"I looked out and I saw a whole lot of friends in both political parties. I like those guys," Biden said.
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As for foreign policy, Mr. Obama asked Congress to pass an authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Biden said it's not about rethinking the strategy, but doubling down against ISIS.
"We're gaining ground in Iraq -- Syria, there are no boots on the ground. Syria is a dysfunctional country with nobody in charge," Biden said. "The fact of the matter is, we're working with our Arab allies and European allies to begin to build coalitions to be able to take on both Assad and [ISIS]. It's a difficult process, it's going to take time."
Biden stressed they are making progress, but the best way is to "get everybody in on the deal."
"The president and I come from a school of thought that say that Congress has an equal say on war and peace," Biden said.
Biden also addressed questions on recent gun shots fired near his home in Delaware, saying he is not worried about security at all and that there was no evidence the bullets were aimed at the house.