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Biden 'Buried' Remark Sets Off Avalanche of Spin

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Both presidential campaigns went into high-gear trying to spin an off-script remark by Vice President Joe Biden about the middle class being "buried" to their advantage ahead of the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Speaking in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Biden asked how Romney and Ryan can justify "raising taxes on the middle-class that's been buried the last four years?"

To Republican Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds that was an "all-too-accurate admission" of what's happened to middle class Americans under the Obama administration.

"He's right that President Obama's policies have buried middle class Americans," Reynolds said in an Oct. 3 conference call with reporters. She said more than 23 million Americans are looking for work, median household income has declined by more than $4,500 a year, nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty "and the Obama administration has buried us under more and more debt."

Iowa voters face a big choice, Reynolds said.

"We can either continue to get buried under Obama's massive tax or spending or we can choose Mitt Romney's pro-growth policies that will reform the tax code, foster upward mobility and deliver more jobs and more take home pay," she said.

She didn't buy Biden's explanation of his comments later Tuesday when he modified his remarks to say, "The middle class was buried by the policies that Romney and Ryan have supported."

"Massive tax cuts for the wealthy, eliminating restrictions on Wall Street, let the banks write their own rules," Biden said, referring to the policies of the George W. Bush administration. "We know where it ends. It ends in the catastrophe of the middle class and the Great Recession of 2008."

Reynolds rejected Biden's rewrite.

"The facts speak for themselves," she said "We're not headed in the right direction. The middle class is not better off than four years ago."

However, a Massachusetts legislator who served while Romney was governor of the commonwealth, found irony in the Romney campaign's use of the Biden comment to its advantage.

"The intent was to point out that for many years the middle class has been under pressure," said Rep. Hank Naughton, who was campaigning in Iowa Wednesday. "It's pretty ironic and disingenuous to be trying to use this one-off statement."

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