Vice President Joe Biden is rallying a defense of his boss, fighting slurs that President Obama is in over his head and lashing out at "Tea Party Republicans."
In Oklahoma this week where Obama isn't high in the polls, the veep said the president isn't just smart, he's got strength and character.
"People knew Barack was really bright, they knew Barack was straight, they knew Barack was a different kind of politician. What they didn't know was just how strong he was. Republicans spent a lot of time trying to tag him as a follower, not a leader. Well, he's put that to bed," said Biden. [ See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]
What's more, said Biden, a long-serving and influential senator on foreign affairs, the president proved his mettle in getting Osama bin Laden, though new reports say he almost aborted the mission.
Sending in special forces, Biden said, proved the president has "a backbone like a ramrod." His comments in Oklahoma were recorded in a pool report.
Showing the frustration that the White House has had with the House GOP, Biden also took a shot at the division between old school Republican leaders and the new Tea Party members who appear to be wielding power. "But the problem is, the Republican Party, we're not sure who it is." [ Check out political cartoons about the Tea Party.]
Here's the full pool report on Biden's comments:
Vice President Joe Biden spoke to a group of donors and local party officials Tuesday evening at the home of Dr. Stephen Adelson and his wife Ellen Adelson.
Noting Oklahoma's lack of enthusiasm for President Obama, Biden said, 'I'm flattered you'd be seen with me.'
Biden opened with a few remarks about two former Oklahoma U.S. senators, Fred R. Harris and David Boren, before moving on to explain why he believes Obama will be re-elected.
'Presidential elections are about strength and character,' Biden said. 'It's the one race that's measured different than any other in American politics. It comes down, in relative terms, to has the most strength and the most character.
'People knew Barack was really bright, they knew Barack was straight, they knew Barack was a different kind of politician. What they didn't know was just how strong he was. Republicans spent a lot of time trying to tag him as a follower, not a leader. Well, he's put that to bed.'
Biden said Obama's decision to send special forces to get Osama bin Laden proved the president has 'a backbone like a ramrod.'
Biden said Obama had taken some unpopular but necessary decisions early in his administration and is 'one of the few elected officials who believes even if you're going to be a one-term president you do the right thing. Because of that very nature he's going to be a two-term president.'
Biden talked about the economy and the extent to which many Americans are hurting. He said George W. Bush should not be blamed for all of the country's economic problems and that it has taken a long time to get into the current predicament.
Biden said the intransigence of Tea Party Republicans caused a larger debt reduction agreement between the administration and Republican leadership to come unraveled.
'This wasn't about money,' he said of the debt negotiations. 'This was about a fundamental change in social policy. It's a legitimate question. It's a legitimate question. But the problem is, the Republican Party, we're not sure who it is.
'This is going to be the clearest-cut election ... this is going to be the clearest choice of where we want to be. These guys have laid it out where they want us to be. And we're going to debate it. We're not going to debate just in terms of, you know, a 30-second political ad. Paul Ryan laid out their budget. Their budget, over the next decade, eviscerates—eliminates—Medicare. They say it's a voucher system. I call that eliminating it.'
Biden finished up with a little pep talk featuring injured military personnel and American advantages over China.