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NBC "Today" - Transcript


Location: Unknown

MS. VIEIRA: We want to turn to David Gregory, because after the debate you got to sit down with Joe Biden, who is Obama's running mate.

MR. GREGORY: I did. I did. And I started with this exchange about McCain saying to Obama, "I'm not President Bush." And I asked Senator Biden, as a Senate colleague of McCain, who he's watched buck the Republican Party and buck President Bush, whether he thought it was a good point.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SEN. BIDEN: Obviously John's not George Bush. But on the fundamentals of the single most incredible issue facing the American people, the economy, he is -- in no fundamental way has he made a departure from George Bush.

Look, how do people think this stuff happened? Do you think it just dropped from heaven? What policies caused this? They've been in charge for six of the eight years in the Congress and eight of the eight years in the presidency. And John McCain, as he points out, has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time, particularly on trade, taxes, jobs and energy.

MR. GREGORY: What are you prepared to say to the American people right now about the sacrifices that they may have to make as this economy worsens and perhaps slips into a deep recession?

SEN. BIDEN: Well, I think exactly what Barack said. We've got to stop spending money in places that it's not benefiting us. We've got to get rid of some of the profligate tax cuts for the very wealthiest among us. We've got to invest in the middle class. It's going to take an awful lot of hard work. It's going to take a long time.

The idea -- when Barack was asked the question, he answered it and he said, "Look, this is going to take a while." The idea that this mess we're about to inherit, assuming we're elected, in fact, is going to not be -- it took eight years to get us here with these bad policies. It's going to take us the better part of the administration to get us to the position where we are back in the saddle again and really moving strongly like we were when we left office in 2000.

MR. GREGORY: We've moved through the debates. Now we're moving into that final stretch. What happened in this debate that will be the basis of a final pitch from Obama-Biden to undecided voters?

SEN. BIDEN: Where John's priorities are and Sarah Palin's and where Barack and my policies are; and that is, you notice John continues to cling to the notion -- evidence the fact this guy Joe the plumber -- I don't have any Joe the plumbers in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year and are worried.

The Joe the plumbers in my neighborhood, the Joe the cops in my neighborhood, the Joe the grocery store owners in my neighborhood, they make, like 98 percent of the small businesses, less than $250,000 a year. And they're going to do very well under us and they're going to be in real tough shape under John McCain, because John McCain is going to continue this policy that if you take care of the people who are doing the best, particularly large corporations -- which is not Joe the plumber, even the 250 guy -- in fact, they're going to -- somehow this is all going to trickle down.

They're going to pay no capital gains under us. They're going to get a $3,000 credit for hiring new employees. They're going to be able to move in a way -- they get help for providing insurance for their employees. They're not going to pay a single, solitary penny more in taxes. And they're going to get their taxes cut.

MR. GREGORY: Finally, Senator, before I let you go, I know that you were watching carefully as your Phillies were in the playoffs. You had that going on at the same time that you had your guy in a major debate. So what got more attention? What got more time for you?

SEN. BIDEN: I want to tell you, there was a temptation, every time John -- I was joking before; I said every time John was going to speak, I was going to click to the Phillies' game.

MR. GREGORY: (Laughs.)

SEN. BIDEN: But I didn't. I didn't. I stayed with the debate.

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