HANOVER, NH -- Vice President Joe Biden on Friday called Mitt Romney's characterization of the American electorate during a spring fundraiser "profoundly wrong" and declared "this is not a country of victims."
Listing off a series of typical Americans who benefit from government aid -- an elderly widow on Social Security, a veteran now in college because of GI Bill, or a working couple who receive a child care credit -- Biden accused Romney of labeling hard-working Americans as "dependent."
"He thinks all these folks, he thinks these folks believe they’re entitled. That they’ve become dependent, they see themselves as victims who wont take responsibility for their own lives," Biden said, raising his voice before a crowd of 1,300 at Dartmouth College. "How could he be so profoundly wrong about America. How is that possible? Not in my neighborhood. Not where I grew up. Not the people I know."
Quoting his father, Biden won cheers for professing that the majority of Americans agree with the sentiment that "I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but at least it’s got to understand my problems."
On Monday, Mother Jones published the secretly recorded video of a May fundraiser at which Romney lamented the "47 percent" of Americans who support Obama because they "who are dependent upon government."
Earlier this week in Iowa, Biden declined to answer reporters' questions about the controversial video at least three times, saying only that he would "let his words speak for themselves." But the vice president did not hold his fire Friday as he kicked off a two day tour of New Hampshire, telling college students that "this is not a country of victims."
Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, responded in a statement: "Mitt Romney will be a president for 100 percent of Americans, with a plan for a stronger middle class that adds millions of jobs, get our economy growing, and results in more upward mobility, not government dependence."
On Friday, Biden also hit his GOP counterparts on education, saying that the budget backed by Romney running mate Paul Ryan would "eviscerate" education programs.
"It will literally mortgage the future of this great country at this moment of incredible international competition," he said.
Biden's pitch for Democrats' education initiatives wasn't the only instance of the collegiate atmosphere at the outdoor rally on Dartmouth's campus, which sparkled under a picture-pefect autumn afternoon.
At the beginning of the rally, Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, earnestly professed to the crowd in her introduction of her husband that she has "seen Joe up close."
That comment - interpreted as a double entendre by the young crowd, fostered an eruption of giggles that crescendoed as she continued on to praise his "big strong heart."
"It's in my remarks, really!" she added laughingly as her husband beamed.
"I want you all to know that the only reason I hang around is so she can see me up close," Biden joked as he took the podium, resulting in a fresh wave of snickers. "You can tell you're on a college campus, man."