GREEN BAY, Wis. – Just a typical day in Bidenland: The Green Bay Packers, historic trains, and slamming Paul Ryan on Bowles-Simpson.
Appearing in GOP vice presidential nominee Ryan's home state Sunday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden rattled off his knowledge of the hometown team's greats while admiring the artifacts at the National Railroad Museum, where about a thousand supporters came to hear him.
"Whoever set this up hit a soft spot in my heart," the famously frequent Amtrak rider said, standing with a Pullman car as a backdrop. "I’m the biggest railroad guy you’ve ever known."
Carolyn Kaster / AP
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the National Railroad Museum on Sunday in Green Bay, Wis.
Noting his Catholic schooling under a Packers-loving order of priests, Biden joked with the crowd heavily dotted with green and yellow team apparel, "In our school, it was the Father and the Son and Vince Lombardi."
But the meat of Biden's campaign speech Sunday also offered a new attack on Ryan's claims that President Barack Obama ignored the recommendations of a bipartisan commission he created to address the nation's staggering deficit in 2010.
"What he didn’t tell you is he sat on that commission," Biden said. "He and his House Republican friends that he leads – had they voted with the commission, it would have been voted on but he voted no. He would not let it go to the floor. He walked away!"
"Romney has repeatedly said that he would reject any deal to bring down the debt that included 10 dollars in spending cuts even if it add only one dollar in taxes for the wealthy," he added. "Congressman Ryan failed to mention any of that – a convenient omission, I’d say."
Ryan served on the Bowles-Simpson commission and voted with six of the body's 18 members -- including both Republicans and Democrats – against its final recommendations. The commission's rules required 11 'yes' votes to advance for a full congressional vote. While Ryan praised many facets of the Bowles-Simpson proposal, he argued at the time that it did not do enough to address rising health costs.
The Obama administration did not publicly embrace Simpson-Bowles either, fearing backlash both from Democrats and Republicans – who Democrats feared would reflexively oppose a plan Obama backed.
Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck responded to Biden's claim by pointing out the Wisconsin congressman's continuing efforts to propose a responsible budget after the Bowles-Simpson panel fell apart.
"After the commission, Paul Ryan turned around and passed two budgets that put us on the path to balance," Buck said. "The President's proposal, meanwhile, was so un-serious that it received zero votes – from either party – in Congress.”