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Biden accuses Romney of wanting to 'dismantle' Medicare


COCONUT CREEK, FL -- Vice President Joe Biden slammed Mitt Romney on Friday for trying to "dismantle" entitlement programs upon which seniors depend for financial security and "dignity."

And the criticism didn't come without an Etch-a-Sketch joke.

"Gov. Romney supports cut cap and balance, which is yet another demonstration that there's no daylight between Gov. Romney and Republican leaders on the most important issues facing this country," Biden said of the former Massachusetts governor's backing of GOP plans that Biden said would harm the elderly and middle class. "And not even Romney's etch-a-sketch can change that. You're not going to be able to do that. I mean he may buy a new one but he can't do it."

Continuing a week-old role as an aggressive campaigner for his ticket's re-election, Biden spoke at an "adult condominuium community" in Coconut Creek, where 18 percent of the population is over 65. There, Biden accused Romney and other Republicans of aiming to "dismantle" Medicare.

"Make no mistake about it: If Republicans in Congress and their amen corner of Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich -- if anybody can get their hands on the keys to the White House, you will see Medicare ended as you know it," he told several hundred attendees.

Biden specifically accused Romney of supporting a "cut, cap, and balance" strategy that amounts to "cutting Social Security," "putting a cap on what we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay in taxes," and "balancing the budget on the backs of seniors and middle class Americans."

(Romney was among the many Republicans to sign onto the so-called "Cut, Cap and Balance pledge favored by conservatives during last summer's debt limit fight.)

The vice president, who frequently mentioned caring for his own parents, cast the preservation of Medicare and Social Security as about maintaining seniors' sense of self-worth as well as intergenerational bonds that tie them to their children and grandchildren.

"Folks, it's about dignity," he said. "It's not just about health."

Although today marks the second anniversary of the Affordable Health Care legislation signed into law by the president, Biden only obliquely mentioned some provisions of the controversial bill. (Before he spoke, however, the legislation was praised heavily by Florida Rep. and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.)