“My friends,” Biden should say, “we can’t be sure at this point what Mitt Romney’s ‘real’ philosophy and values are. He governed Massachusetts as a centrist Republican and did things that I applaud — like enacting a universal health plan with the support of Ted Kennedy. That plan became a model for the president’s national reform.
“But then Governor Romney sold his soul to the right wing of his party to get the nomination – and adopted extreme conservative positions on taxes, immigration, health care, women’s rights and more.
“Did Romney call for well-off Americans to contribute nothing to deficit reduction — or for hard-working high school graduates to be deported, though they were brought here as children – or for millions of poor workers to be stripped of basic health coverage – because he really believes in this pinched vision of America? Or did he do it because he thought that’s what it took to win the nomination?
“I have no idea, my friends. And neither does anyone else.
“That’s the point. It’s impossible to know Mitt Romney’s real values. But it’s entirely possible to understand the conservative forces Romney has pandered to and empowered in his thirst for office. They’re the same extremists who will be calling the shots if you send him to the White House.
“The selection of Paul Ryan was part of Governor Romney’s strategy to court the right wing. The key thing I want to persuade you of tonight, then, is why Congressman Ryan’s values, and those of today’s congressional Republicans who stand with him, are out of step with America’s best traditions and current needs.
“Let me be clear: I’ve worked with Republicans over my entire 40-year career. You can’t accomplish anything in Washington if you don’t. But something a little crazy has gotten into the water the GOP has been drinking these last few years. Too many Republicans today won’t support the policies we need to renew America’s middle class and assure opportunity and security in a global age.
“Let me also stipulate that Paul is a hard-working young man and has a lovely family. My critique isn’t personal. But Paul is skilled at wrapping his ideas in a pleasant-sounding package that I’ll ask you to look beyond tonight.
“Here are three things you need to understand about my opponent and the congressional Republicans who share his views.
“First, on taxes: The single highest priority of Mr. Ryan and Republicans in Congress has been to cut taxes on America’s top earners — even though we’ve been at war for a decade and have huge deficits to shrink. This is the first time in our history that America has cut taxes for top earners at a time of war. Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans think we should let other people’s children fight our wars, and let other people’s children pick up the tab for them later. The president and I believe this is wrong.