Biden own-goal gives Romney fightback edge for TV debates
Mitt Romney was poised to use the first US presidential debate last night to attack Barack Obama with the words of his own vice-president, after Joe Biden said middle-class America had been "buried" for the past four years.
The Republican challenger was to tell tens of millions of voters watching the televised showdown in Colorado that Mr Obama had failed them after being handed an eve-of-debate gift by Mr Biden.
The gaffe-prone vice-president asked supporters at a rally in North Carolina how Mr Romney could "justify raising taxes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years".
Mr Romney agreed. "The middle class has been buried the last four years, which is why we need a change in November," he said on Twitter.
Mr Biden later said he was referring to the effects of earlier Republican policies.
However, the slip allowed the former Massachusetts governor to redouble his message that the president was to blame for the near-stagnant state of the economy and a crisis that has left 23 million jobless or seeking more work.
Mr Romney, who has been criticised for failing to present specific economic proposals said in an interview that generous tax deductions households can claim against mortgage interest payments and healthcare costs should be capped at $17,000 (€13,100) a year.
He also received a boost from new opinion polls indicating that Mr Obama's leads in the crucial battleground states of Florida and Virginia had shrunk to three and two percentage points respectively.
Mr Romney still trails by eight points in Ohio, according to the NBC/WSJ survey. He will almost certainly need to win two of the three states to take the White House in November.
Meanwhile, bad weather forced the plane carrying Mr Biden to delay landings twice in one day yesterday.
Air Force Two was approaching Charlotte Douglas International Airport when the pilot abruptly pulled up and circled for about 35 minutes because of thunderstorms.
The White House called the tactic a "missed approach" and said the pilot of the Boeing 757 landed on the second attempt.
Mr Biden arrived an hour late for a campaign event and joked that the bumpy ride had caused some "queasy stomachs".
Separately yesterday, a new book claims that President Barack Obama hoped to put Osama bin Laden on trial if he had surrendered.
In a book on the raid that killed bin Laden, author Mark Bowden quotes President Obama as saying he thought he could make a strong political argument for giving bin Laden the full rights of a criminal defendant, to show US justice applies even to him.
The remarks are the first time the president has discussed putting the terrorist on trial. (© Daily Telegraph, London)