Vice President Joe Biden took aim at Mitt Romney's 47 percent remarks during a South Florida campaign stop Friday, telling a crowd of senior citizens that he had some "news" for the Republican White House ticket.
“America and Americans are neither dependent nor are we in decline," Biden said at the Palace Theater at Kings Point in Tamarac Friday afternoon.
He added to Romney and running mate Paul Ryan: "Gentlemen, it’s never, never, never, never been a good bet to bet against the American people. They have never, never, never, never failed."
Responding to Romney's comments about the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay federal income tax, Biden said that 82 percent of them do pay some sort of federal tax. The 10 percent who do not pay a federal tax are retirees who rely on non-taxable Social Security payments, he said, and 6.8 percent are people who make below $20,000.
Biden pointed out that someone who makes $20,000 or less pays, on average, taxes amounting to 17.4 percent of their income.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know where they get this notion of dependency and decline. I really don’t recognize this country they’re describing," Biden said.
The vice president made a pair of stops in South Florida Friday to kick off a two-day tour of the Sunshine State.
Biden's first event of the day was at the Century Village Clubhouse in Boca Raton, where he was joined by fellow Democrats Senator Bill Nelson, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutsch.
The vice president began by discussing President Barack Obama's support for Israel.
"I just want to tell you how proud I am to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a guy who has done more for Israel's physical security than any president of the eight I've served with," Biden said.
Biden spent much of his time discussing protecting Medicare and Social Security and how the Obama administration's policies differ from Romney's.
"What they don't tell you, what they really don't want to talk about, is how they'd fundamentally change Medicare," Biden said. "They'd turn it into a voucher program."
But the Democrats have it backward on Medicare, Republicans say.
"The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare because it represents the worst of both worlds. It weakens Medicare for today's seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation," Ryan told an AARP conference last week.
On Saturday, Biden will hold a campaign event at the Wa-Ke Hatchee Park recreation Center in Fort Myers.
The Florida tour comes less than a week after Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan courted Cuban-American voters during a stop at Versailles Restaurant in Miami.