Vice President Joe Biden says the government should be cutting middle-class taxes and doing more to help cities and states maintain fire services.
Biden spoke Wednesday to more than 3,000 firefighters at the International Association of Fire Fighters conference, which is holding its annual gathering in Philadelphia this week.
“You folks are special, you really are, you're just special,” said Biden. “You’re like so many guys and women that I grew up with.”
The vice president says he doesn't think Republicans understand firefighters and other middle-class Americans. He criticized Republicans in Congress for not doing more to fund fire companies.
In Philadelphia, firefighters are in a contract standoff with Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter. They are planning a protest at City Hall on Thursday.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney's campaign released a statement from a retired Philadelphia firefighter, saying the president is “out of touch with the struggles of middle-class Americans.
Watch NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m. for more on NBC’s Brian Williams' interview with Mitt Romney.