BLACKSBURG, Va. â" Joe Biden isnât going to change his brand, even a day after his comments spurred a Category 3 storm of outrage.
âI know I am sometimes criticized for saying exactly what I mean. And itâs not going to change,â the vice president told a crowd of supporters at the end of a campaign speech here Wednesday afternoon.
Biden was somewhat subdued at the outset of a roughly half-hour speech on the campus of Virginia Tech, paying closer attention, it seemed, to the TelePrompTer screens in front of him to more carefully keep to the script.
A light moment â" when he got a big chuckle from the audience to a line in his stump speech mocking the Romney campaignâs distinguishing âoutsourcingâ and âoffshoringâ â" put him back into a more feisty form, just in time to hit the message of the day: Medicare.
âThey make massive changes in Medicare, turning it into a voucher system,â Biden warned of the Republicans.
Studies show, he said, that a voucher to purchase private insurance, rather than the traditional Medicare benefit, would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year because it wouldnât keep up with rising health costs under what he first referred to as âa Ryan-Romney plan.â
âOr the Romney â" whatever it is now,â he joked, after reversing the order of the Republican ticket. âOn the one that Romney â" that Ryan introduced and his colleagues supported.â
âItâs all in the service of what they think is the way you grow the economy â" all in the service of maintaining the Bush tax cuts and adding additional tax cuts for the very wealthy,â he continued.
A day after he told another southwest Virginia audience that Republicans would âput yâall back in chains,â there was no reference to chains or âshackles,â as Biden would later say he meant to say.
The dust-up, which Romney said was evidence of an increasingly desperate Obama campaign, showed how quickly the campaign returned to a battle over sound bites and even smoke-signals on race, even after Paul Ryanâs joining Mitt Romney's ticket seemed to portend a more policy-focused debate.
Bidenâs remarks, though, were primarily policy focused, complementing President Obamaâs own message in Iowa focused on how his administration has strengthened the Medicare program. The Romney campaign nonetheless reacted to the event by saying that an Obama campaign âbased on rage and divisiveness canât hide the presidentâs failed record.â
Earlier Wednesday, as he greeted locals outside an eatery in Radford, Va., Biden dodged a question about the comments, and Romneyâs reaction to it.twitter.com/mikememoli