Biden says Romney's religion shouldn't be an issue

KEVIN BEGOS

Published: Friday, Nov. 4 2011 3:50 p.m. MDT

Vice President Joe Biden addresses speaks at the University of Pittsburgh, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, in Pittsburgh.

Keith Srakocic, Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Republican Mitt Romney's religion shouldn't be an issue in the presidential campaign, Vice President Joe Biden said during a visit to Pittsburgh on Friday.

Biden spoke to a standing-room only crowd of about 500 students at the University of Pittsburgh. They greeted Biden with applause and cheers during a speech that focused heavily on education and student aid issues.

Biden made the comments about Romney when a student asked a question about religion and Biden's faith. Biden is Roman Catholic.

"I think it's outrageous" that polling shows some people won't support Romney because he is Mormon, Biden said. "It's embarrassing, and we should be ashamed."

Though Biden defended Romney from attacks on his religion, he made plenty of digs at Republicans.

He told the students that all the Republican presidential campaigns were "saying the same thing: we can't afford to help you."

Biden said education is the key to America's future prosperity and that it makes sense for students and the nation to invest in it. He said the Obama administration has taken several steps to help more young people qualify for such loans, and to reduce the burden of repaying them.

Biden said the average debt of Pitt students who take out loans is $26,000 and that other nations are providing more support to help educate young people.

"Does anybody think China is cutting money for education?" he asked.

Biden also mentioned the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"Whether it's Occupy Wall Street or the discontent on Main Street," Biden said people all over the country feel the burden of debt isn't stacked fairly.

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