Biden: ‘Barack Makes Me Sound Like I Just Climbed Out of a Mine’

By Melanie Arter | June 15, 2012 | 5:24 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden speaking at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. (AP Photo)

( Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation’s mayors on Friday, saying that President Barack Obama makes him sound like he “just climbed out of a mine in Scranton, Pennsylvania, carrying a lunch bucket.”

Speaking at the 80th Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, held in Orlando, Fla., Biden said no one in his family worked in a factory, but they struggled just like most of the middle class.

“My dad never worked in a Food Fair. My dad never wore a blue collar, although (President) Barack (Obama) makes me sound like I just climbed out of a mine in Scranton, Pennsylvania, carrying a lunch bucket. No one in my family worked in a factory, but like most middle class people, they struggled,” Biden said.

“I don’t know anybody who sat around my dad’s table – his brothers and sister, my mom’s brothers, our neighbors. Whenever there was a recession, everybody knew somebody around that table’s gonna lose their job. I didn’t hear a whole lot of talk about whose fault it was,” Biden said.

“I didn’t hear a whole lot of talk about the GDP, and my dad was a really smart guy. What I heard was, ‘Things are looking better, Joe, because they can build a new Food Fair in the corner here in Philadelphia Pike and Claymont,’” he added.

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The vice president urged Congress to act on a proposal that he said would not “cost taxpayers a single penny” but would allow homeowners who never missed mortgage payments but were upside down on their payments to refinance.

“There are 14 million homeowners in America that have never missed a mortgage payment – 14 million – who are paying an interest rate between 6 and some 7 and higher percent on their mortgage,” the vice president said. Current mortgage rates are closer to four percent, he said.

Those homeowners could save around $3,000 a year if they were able to refinance, Biden noted.

“The neighborhoods I grew up in, $3,000 matters. It means whether you can pay your automobile insurance. Can you get your house insurance paid? Are you able to keep your kid in a community college? It matters. Three thousand bucks matters in my neighborhood,” he said.

“Only those banks with $50 billion or more in assets would literally pay pennies on $100 for a fund that would be set aside – a reinsurance fund in a sense – of the $9 billion, most of which would never be even dipped into to reassure all your local banks where a lot of those 14 million people have mortgages to go in and refinance their homes, but they can’t now.

“Why? Because through no fault of their own some of them are upside own. They’ve seen the equity in their home drop. They have a job. They’ve never missed a payment, and the small banks say, ‘I can’t take the chance.’ It would guarantee overnight that’s really money in the economy, but once again, Congress is sitting on their hands,” the vice president said.