Not content with comparing the Tea Party to “terrorists” a couple of weeks ago on Capitol Hill, the vice president has travelled all the way to China to blame the grassroots conservative movement for the humiliating Standard and Poor’s credit downgrade. In response to a question from a medical student at Sichuan University, who asked about “what measures you’re going to implement to reduce those deficits and redeem the financial strength of America”, Biden declared that it was the intransigence of the Tea Party, or “a group within the Republican Party” as he put it, that was to blame for the current deficit-driven financial crisis:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It’s a very good question. One of the multiple rating agencies reduced our rating from AAA to — plus — come down one notch. And that was very disturbing and bothersome to us, and we have to deal with is.
We do have a deficit that I was asked by the President to head up a commission to try to deal with that deficit. And we made some significant progress, but not the progress we could have made and will make. The bottom line is we have to deal with two elements of our economy. One is what we call entitlement programs — long-term commitments to our people in the area of particularly Medicare. That is the safety net we have for people once they reach the age of 65 to be able to be assured that they have health care. . . .
It’s easy to make those changes, and we had a tentative agreement to do that between the major political leaders of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party and the administration. But there is a group within the Republican Party that is a very strong voice now that did — wanted different changes, and so that deal fell through at the very end.