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Biden guarantees: 'There will be no changes in Social Security'

 

Updated 5:30 p.m. - Vice President Joe Biden told cafe patrons in Virginia on Tuesday that he could "guarantee" he and President Obama would allow no changes to Social Security.

As a debate over reforming entitlements -- particularly Medicare -- takes center stage in the 2012 presidential campaign, Biden seemed to promise not to allow changes to the program.

"Hey, by the way, let's talk about Social Security," Biden said after a diner at The Coffee Break Cafe in Stuart, VA expressed his relief that the Obama campaign wasn't talking about changing the popular entitlement program.

"Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security," Biden said, per a pool report. "I flat guarantee you."

The pool report noted that most of the patrons at the cafe toward whom Biden was directing his remarks were over the age of 60.

The vice president's language almost hearkens back to some 2011 tough talk by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who vowed not to take up changes to Social Security for another two decades, by which time he might not even be a senator anymore.

"Two decades from now, I'm willing to take a look at it, but I'm not willing to take a look at it right now," Reid said at the time in an interview on MSNBC. "It is not in crisis at this stage. Leave Social Security alone. We have a lot of other places we can look that is in crisis. But Social Security is not."

Mitt Romney has expressed an interest in gradually raising the retirement age, as well as means-testing benefits for the wealthy, but he otherwise hasn't specified his own Social Security proposals.