US Vice President Joe Biden
US Vice President Joe BidenIsrael news photo: Flash 90

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden believes that the Republicans are strong enough to beat President Barack H. Obama in next year's presidential elections – and he, along with the rest of the White House, is worried, he told a group last Thursday. The Republicans, he told the Atlantic Forum, are “strong enough to beat both of us.”

Admitting that the American people are having a hard time, Biden said that “Look, no matter what the circumstance, at the end of the day, the American people right now are in real trouble. An even larger percentage have stagnant wages. And a significant majority of the American people believe that the country is not moving in the right direction. That is never a good place to be going into re-election, whether it's your fault or not your fault. It's almost sometimes irrelevant.”

Biden's comments came a day before a stronger-than-expected jobs report, with the U.S. unemployment rate remaining steady at 9.1%.

The state of the economy, Biden said, was what Americans would base their choice for president on. But he believed the American people would eventually “come around,” realizing that the problem was the Republicans' refusal to cooperate with the administration on economic issues. “They're going to have to choose whether or not the path we have set the country on is the path that we should continue to go or we should go back to 'liberating' the economy,'” Biden said, sarcastically referring to the Republicans' efforts to cut taxes and shrink the size of government.

Meanwhile, Texas Governer Rick Perry, following on a flap last week in which a racist word was allegedly scrawled on a rock on his property, found himself in political hot water again when a staffer referred to Mormonism as “a cult,” adding that rival Republican hopeful Mitt Romney was “not a Christian,” even though he was a “good, moral person.” Romney denounced the comment as “poisonous language, which does not advance our cause.” In a statement, a spokesperson for Perry said that the governor “does not believe Mormonism is a cult,” and urged voters to choose candidates for the Republican nomination based on their records.