Vice President Joe Biden Talks About Education, Romney & Gingrich [VIDEO]

January 23, 2012 7:45 am

On Air with Ryan Seacrest” welcomed special guest, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, to answer questions directly from college students submitted via Ryan’s Facebook page. Topics included college affordability, the Dream Act, the Republican candidates, and the 2012 Democratic ticket. [FULL INTERVIEW AUDIO AT THE BOTTOM]

The Vice President also gave Ryan Seacrest advice on Valentine’s Day and revealed a few things about President Obama that many don’t know.

College Affordability

Steven, a student of Riverside City College from Loma Linda, CA, inquired of the Vice President, “What is your administration’s plan to prevent the increasing [financial] burden on students?”

The Vice President’s response:

“What we’ve done is increased the commitment to the community colleges by $25 billion federally. That’s number one. Secondly, you will find what’s happening in your county I expect, community colleges are now partnering with businesses who are looking for employees. For example, I just was with Siemens. Siemens is a gigantic corporation. They had a choice to spend half a billion dollars to build a plant in China or in North Carolina. They chose North Carolina. They did it for a whole range of reasons, but one of them is to be able to partner with the community colleges…where they went in and helped them set up tech programs, where they guarantee internships and then jobs for anybody who passes through the program…  Number three, what we’ve done is seen to it that you are now able to afford to go to there [community college], but you either qualify for a Pell Grant, you qualify for a direct loan, [or] you qualify for a tax write off if you’re doing it yourself at 28. You can write off the cost of the bulk of that education. College tuition has gone up in the last ten years over 280+%…more than healthcare…and so, there are a lot of things that these universities and community colleges can do to bring cost down by modernizing.”

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The Vice President expounded further on the administration’s efforts saying, “The solutions are many, but here’s what we’ve done. When we came into office, we were committed to spend 60 billion more dollars over the next ten years to pay banks to process loans for students to get to college. We said, ‘What the hell do we have the middle man for?’ So we eliminated the middle man. We didn’t get one vote from the other team to do that, but we eliminated the middle man. We took that $60 billion and put $40 billion into Pell Grants.” He continued, “The average kid graduating from college these days will graduate with $26,000 in debt, average. So we said — and this is driving our opposition crazy, [because] they don’t think it’s right — we think it’s necessary to say you never have to pay back more than 10 percent of your disposable income. You have to pay back your college loan, but never more than 10 percent per year of your disposable income.”

Mitt Romney & The Foreclosure Crisis

Regarding the current mortgage crisis and the rapid decline of the housing market, the Vice President states his opinion on the matter by saying, “I’m going to make a raw political statement here. A guy like [Mitt] Romney is a good guy, he’s a decent honorable man, and I admire his family, but what he doesn’t understand is that we look at the foreclosure rate in the country like somebody going to bed tonight. They stare at the ceiling wondering if they’re going to be in that house a month from now, and what can we do to help? They [Republicans] look at it from a purely economic standpoint. The best thing to get the housing market back up is to let the foreclosures occur, let the bottom fall out, start to clean up. It’s sort of Darwinian, survival of the fittest out there, and they are right. It would be the quickest way to do it, but what they don’t understand is there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, who, through no fault of their own, are in that spot. I think in those circumstances, the government has a responsibility to give these people a leg up.”

Republican Race

When asked which Republican candidate he would prefer to run against, the Vice President replied, “The honest to God truth is…there is really no ideological difference among them! Whomever we run against is going to be taking the same position on deregulating Wall Street, the same position on the mortgage crisis, the same position on more tax cuts for the very wealthy, no tax cuts for the middle class.” He added, “This is going to be the clearest election in terms of which direction to take the country that we’ve had, I would argue, since 1932.”

Immigration & The Dream Act 

Christine from Los Alamitos, CA asked, “President Obama has proposed a new rule to make it easier for some illegal immigrants to remain in the country while they apply for legal status. While I think this is a step in the right direction, wouldn’t it be more efficient and more humane to give all law abiding immigrants legal status in our country?”

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The Vice President elaborated on the subject by stating, “Right now, what we want to do is we want people coming out of the shadows. We want them applying for legal status in this country…but right now, the law says you’ve got to go back to your home country, and you’ve got to go back and wait. Sometimes that wait is up to 10 years to be able to do that. So what we propose, in our administration, is that you go and you register. You want to seek legal residence, and you’re, technically, you’re an illegal now. You’ve come out of the shadows. You’ve let everybody know who you are, where you are. It’s not like this is any kind of great kept secret. You register and we want you to be able to stay with your family while you are in line to go through the process of this interview, and go through this process of determining whether you’re eligible.  And just before you’re ready for that period, you will have to go back to your country, but it will only be for a matter of days or weeks. Now the reason that makes good sense is they’re taxpaying citizens, making sure they’re taking care of their families, so you don’t lose the bread earners. There’s not family separation. It’s the humane thing to do!”

This was not the only solution that the Vice President provided. “We also think it’s critically important that we pass The Dream Act as well.  This is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States of America, its economy, and its growth. We should be embracing people who want to be here, who are trying to make it legal, and who are capable of getting an education to contribute to the society and the community.”

2012 Democratic Ticket 

When asked to clear up speculation that he wouldn’t be on the 2012 Democratic ticket, Vice President Biden answered, “Look, the best way to answer the question is: Hillary likes her job where she is. I like my job where I am. Although I’m flattered, they think I could be Secretary of State and she’s flattered they think she could be Vice President. The President likes us both where we are. Nobody wants to change and so it’s not going to happen.”

Newt Gingrich & The Media 

Ryan played the Vice President a clip of last week’s Republican debate, in which John King (from CNN) questioned if Newt Gingrich had indeed asked his ex-wife for an open marriage.  Ryan inquired,  “Did the media go too far, and what did you think of that question and response?

“I have no comment. Look this is quicksand, and I think that Newt Gingrich, as we all are, is going to be judged by the voters in the primary on the totality of who he is, and that includes everything. People make judgments about our character. They make judgments about our positions. I just don’t have any comment.”

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Ryan continued by commenting, “He [Newt] did make the comment that it’s tougher to find decent people to run for office because of some of the scrutiny in the media. What do you think about that?”

The Vice President responded, “This is not an endeavor for the fainthearted, but look, the sincerity meter of the American public is pretty well attuned.  I think that the one thing that the public punishes a public official for is if he or she turns out to be different than what they advertise themselves to be.  And, by the way, we don’t have to answer every question we’re asked. We may get penalized for that answer, and that’s for the public to judge. If you can’t stand the heat, you shouldn’t be in the kitchen.”

The President ‘Scares The Hell Out of the Refs!’

On a lighter note, the Vice President shared a side of President Obama that few see, saying, “I think there are a couple things. This is a guy that doesn’t talk about it, but we can be in the middle of a meeting and it’s going to go into the night, and he will take out an hour to go up and have dinner every night with his two girls and get them started on their homework and come back.”

“Here’s another thing I think they probably wouldn’t know. On Saturday morning in little gyms in Montgomery County, Maryland you will show up and see, sitting on the bleachers, the President, the First Lady, the Vice President, the Second Lady, and a shocking look on the ref’s face because we, every Saturday, we got to my granddaughter’s basketball game…it’s the same team as his daughter. Every Saturday, we’re around we go. By the way, he scares the hell out of the refs. They’re on the same team. They’re good buddies. I don’t think people don’t expect to see him in a little gym at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.”

Valentine’s Day Advice

As a man who’s been married for 35 years, the Vice President gave his Valentine’s Day advice to every man listening by saying, “PAY ATTENTION! Pay attention and jewelry helps!”


Ryan concluded the interview by thanking the Vice President for “your time, and your generosity, and good luck to you. We really appreciate it!”

“On Air with Ryan Seacrest” is welcoming guest appearances from political leaders from all parties leading up to the 2012 presidential election.

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