WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that Paul Ryan is "a good guy" but has such "fundamentally flawed judgment" that his budget and tax proposals will only hurt the country.
In his first public comments in response to Mitt Romney tapping Ryan as his running mate last Friday, Biden said Ryan is "decent" and "a good guy," and that he called him to congratulate him. Biden told attendees at the Durham, N.C., campaign event that his conversation with Ryan centered on the "stark choices" that Americans have to make in November. The contrasting vision between Obama and Romney is far more clear now that Ryan is in the picture, Biden said.
"Now that Romney has selected his running mate, those differences are even more stark," said the vice president. "Ryan has given definition to the vague commitments Romney has been making. There's definition now. It's clear."
Biden took aim at Ryan's budget plan that would, among other things, cut $6 trillion from the deficit by turning Medicare into a voucher program and making steep cuts to food stamps, health care for children and seniors, and social programs. The House passed Ryan's plan on a party-line vote, but it failed in the Senate. The proposal, which Romney has embraced, is all but certain to be a focal point of debate until November.
"They're both good men. They have a fundamentally flawed judgment in my view," Biden said of Romney and Ryan. "When they talked about their plan, they called it gutsy. Gutsy. I'm serious."
Biden's voice then began rising. "What’s gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break? What’s gutsy about gutting Medicare, Medicaid and education?” he asked. "They talked about what they're proposing as new? This is not only not new, it's not fair. It's not fair to the middle class and the working poor. And it will not grow the economy or reduce the deficit."
Biden also lumped Romney and Ryan in with congressional Republicans and the policies they've been pushing for the past four years -- the same ones that he said drove the country into a recession.
"Look, there's nothing fundamentally different to what the Republican Congress and what Gov. Romney proposes. Literally," Biden said. Their policies have been "a catastrophe for the middle class" who, under the Bush administration, "lost a significant portion of their household wealth."
The bottom line, Biden said, is that the policies being advocated by Ryan and Romney will hurt the middle class. They also further cement the idea that the Republican Party has lost its way, he said.
"It's not even Gov. Romney's father's Republican Party," Biden said. "This is a different party."