To promote the first stage of President Obama's new economic stimulus plan, Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly warned that failing to win passage of the measure could lead to dire results, including an increase of murders and rapes throughout the country. The reason for such spikes in major violent crime, Biden argues, is that a portion of the $35 billion in the bill will go to beef up police power.
At the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Biden argued that the spending in the bill would be necessary to keep crime low. He expressed the same view a week earlier in Flint, Mich. where he suggested there was a correlation between fewer police officers and higher crime rates.
"Let's look at the facts," Biden said. "In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes, just to pick two categories, climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don't rectify it."
Biden has supported increasing police budgets and the number of cops on the beat for several years, so his use of this rhetoric is far from surprising. He is, however, facing scrutiny from conservative critics for threatening that crime could increase if Congress doesn't endorse this stage of the Democrats' jobs bill, which will increase spending only on public-sector jobs.
Jason Mattera, the editor of the conservative newspaper Human Events, confronted Biden about his comments during a visit on Capitol Hill. Mattera, asked the vice president if he regretted using a "rape reference to describe Republican opposition" to the jobs bill.
"Let's get it straight, guy, don't screw around with me," Biden told Mattera, who is known for his brazen on-camera interview style. "Listen to me. I said rape was up three times in Flint, they're the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder's up, rape is up, burglaries are up. That's exactly what I said."
When Mattera asked if it was appropriate for a person in Biden's position to make warnings like that to advance a bill, Biden ended the interview.
You can watch the video here and in the embed above.
The Senate is expected to take up the first piece of the jobs bill sometime this week.
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