NYT's Trip Gabriel Defends Biden's 'Stray Sentence' About the Buried Middle Class As 'Yanked from Context'

Vice President Joe Biden's latest gaffe came when he asked a North Carolina crowd how Romney and Ryan can "justify raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years?" perhaps forgetting his boss has been in charge during that exact time frame (and that the Romney campaign denies it will raise taxes on the middle class). It predictably failed to make the print edition of the New York Times.

Campaign reporter Trip Gabriel did blog about it on Tuesday, but did his best to minimize the damage by suggesting the comment was a "stray sentence" wrenched from proper context: "Republicans Seize On Biden’s ‘Middle Class’ Remark."

A stray sentence by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday became the latest remark seized by the opposition and turned into a blistering line of attack against him.

After Mr. Biden described the middle class as having “been buried the last four years,’’ Republicans pounced, treating it as an unwitting admission of President Obama’s failures.

The vice president was criticizing the Republican ticket for pursuing a tax overhaul that would raise taxes on the middle class, he said.

“How can they justify raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years?’’ Mr. Biden said at a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C.


The Romney-Ryan campaign even held an afternoon press call with one of its fiercest surrogates, John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor, to drive home the theme.

Republicans seemed to seize on the remark with special fervor, coming as it did one day before the first debate between Mr. Romney and President Obama, in which the cost of Mr. Romney’s proposed tax cuts for the rich and his disparagement of 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes are sure to be topics of discussion.

In response, the Obama campaign called the attacks “desperate and out of context.’


The maladroit sentence was the latest in a long series this year that have been yanked from context and used by the opposition, including Mr. Romney’s remark that he “liked to fire people” and Mr. Obama’s comment that “you didn’t build that.”

Later in the day, Mr. Biden clarified his meaning. “The middle class was buried by the policies that Romney and Ryan have supported,” he told a crowd in Asheville, N.C.

The Times still insists that the "context" around Obama's "you didn't build that" remark shields Obama from the charge of being hostile toward individual initiative (it doesn't).