Biden on GOP: ‘No moderates need apply’

Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday’s primary in his home state reflected a new reality in the Republican Party: that “no moderates need apply.”

“It’s real tough for the Republican Party. It’s kind of hung on a shingle,” he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an interview to air Wednesday night.

Biden said that in Chris Coons, Democrats have “a really first-rate candidate” to run in Delaware against Christine O’Donnell, whom Biden defeated in 2008 to earn his seventh term in the Senate while also winning the vice presidency.

“He is honorable. He’s incredibly well educated. He’s done a great job running the largest county,” Biden said. “This is a really solid guy. And so, that’s the good news for us.”

The vice president said the current direction of the GOP was also reflected in recent remarks by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who agreed with an author’s characterization that President Obama had a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.

“I am stunned he bought into this playbook,” Biden said. "[It] seems like there’s such a desperation on the Republican side to pander to the lowest common denominator.”

In the interview, Biden said the Obama administration would absolutely “go to the mat” to ensure that only tax cuts for the middle class were extended, saying the nation could not afford further extensions for the wealthiest Americans.

“If you think about it in sort of black and white terms, it also points out the hypocrisy of the Republicans talking about deficits,” he said. “These are the guys who put two wars and a prescription drug bill on a credit card, plus a tax cut. The day we walked into office, we inherited a deficit of $1.3 trillion.”

Obama on Wednesday accused Republicans of holding middle-class tax cuts hostage to demands for additional relief that would benefit just 2% of Americans.

“Extending these tax cuts is right. It is just. It will help our economy, because middle-class folks are the folks who are most likely to actually spend this tax relief,” Obama said after meeting with his Cabinet. “And if the other party continues to hold these tax cuts hostage, these are the same families who will suffer the most when their taxes go up next year.”