COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA -- Defending his boss after what many considered a lackluster performance, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that President Obama was "presidential" in last night's debate, slamming Mitt Romney for "outsourcing" the $5 trillion price tag the GOP nominee said his proposed tax cuts would avoid.
"I thought the president did well. He was presidential," Biden told reporters outside of a Hy-Vee shopping center in western Iowa. "I think the you just never know what game, what position Gov. Romney's going to come with."
Referencing Romney's claim that he does not support tax cuts with an astronomical price tag, Biden tweaked the GOP nominee for "outsourcing" a key piece of his budget.
"The centerpiece of their economic policy so far has been their tax cut, and last night we found out he doesn't have a $5 trillion tax cut," the vice president said. "I guess he outsourced that to China or something. I don't know if that's offshored."
"Let me repeat what I said, I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut," Romney said last night. "That's not my plan."
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Romney's tax cuts would cost $4.8 trillion over 10 years, though Romney says that the plan would be paid for by offsets like closing loopholes and limiting deductions.
As for his own October 11 debate -- and perhaps implicitly acknowledging the poor reviews about the president's performance last night -- Biden said that "all debates are tough."
"You can sit there and say, you know, 'I would've done that and I would of done this,'" Biden said, "Well, it is nothing like standing up before 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 million people."
He said he has been studying Rep. Paul Ryan's positions and comparing them to the plans Gov. Mitt Romney has embraced in preparation for the Danville, KY showdown next week.
"I don't want to say anything in the debate that's not completely accurate," Biden said.
Later speaking to about 500 supporters at Council Bluffs' Mid-America Center after his lunch stop, Biden chided Romney for bringing up his "accountant" last night, in a swipe at the former Massachusetts governor's personal wealth.
"I thought last night when he said, I'd like to introduce my accountant, that I'd love to have his accountant!" he said to laughter. "But look, we may not have his accountant, but we understand someone ends up paying for all of this."
The vice president won some unwanted attention from Republicans as well for acknowledging that he and Obama would "raise taxes by a trillion dollars" by allowing tax cuts for top earners to expire.
"You know the phrase they always use. 'Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. Guess what? Yes, we do, in one regard," Biden said. "We want to let that trillion-dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn't have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super wealthy."
"That's not a tax raise, that's called fairness where I come from."