One of the most notable parts of the first presidential debate was what wasn't mentioned: Mitt Romney's now-famous remarks saying that 47 percent of the American public is "dependent on government." Both Republicans and Democrats seemed surprised that moderator Jim Lehrer never asked about it, and President Barack Obama never took the chance to proactively mention it -- even though his campaign had been hammering Romney about it all week.

But Vice President Biden brought it up within the first half-hour of the vice president debate on Thursday, also mentioning Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) remark that 30 percent of Americans want the "welfare state."

Noting that Romney opposed the auto bailout -- which both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations supported -- Biden said Americans should not be surprised by Romney's economic policies.

"It shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility of their own lives," said Biden. "My friend [Ryan] recently said in a speech in Washington said 30 percent of the American people are takers. These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Gov. Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans who are fighting in Afghanistan right now who are not quote, not paying taxes."

Biden also invoked Grover Norquist, the conservative president of Americans for Tax Reform, criticizing Republicans for consistently signing his pledge vowing not to raise taxes.

"Instead of signing pledges by Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, 'We're going to level the playing field. We're going to give you a fair shot again. We are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street.'"

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  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin shake hands after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin shake hands after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin gesture after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin gesture after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, shake hands following their the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin shake hands after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Joe Biden, Jill Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden kisses his wife, Jill Biden, following the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Vice President Joe Biden talks to Janna Ryan, wife of Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Paul Ryan, Janna Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, kisses his wife Janna following the vice presidential debate with Vice President Joe Biden at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan's wife Janna, left, shakes hands with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, following the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden listens to Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Paul Ryan, Joe Biden

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, listens to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Paul Ryan, Joe Biden

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, and Vice President Joe Biden discuss a point during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, Martha Raddatz

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, and Vice President Joe Biden, center, listen to moderator Martha Raddatz during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    A combination picture of the vice presidential debate between US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 11, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, makes a point to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answer a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden participates in the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, speaks during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Jill Biden, Beau Biden, Hunter Biden

    Jill Biden, center, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, sits with her sons Beau Biden, left, and Hunter Biden, right, before the start of the vice presidential debate, at Centre College in Danville, Ky., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden reacts to a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, challenge each other during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin watches as Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, respond to moderator Martha Raddatz during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Janna Ryan, Ted Olson, Lady Booth Olson, Betty Douglas

    Janna Ryan, second from right, wife of Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., his mother Betty Douglas, Ted Olson, second from left, former solicitor-general of the U.S. and his wife Lady Booth Olson sit in the audience before he start of the vice presidential debate, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Centre College in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden participates in the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participates in the vice presidential debate with US Vice President Joe Biden (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (L) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participates in the vice presidential debate with US Vice President Joe Biden (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (L) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)