Biden Sticks to Script; GOP Claims He's Been 'Muzzled'

ABC News' Matt Jaffe Reports: Impersonating Sen. Joe Biden last weekend on Saturday Night Live comedian Jason Sudeikis shouted, "Gird your loins! By the beard of Jupiter, gird your loins!" But there was no loin-girding today in Jupiter, Fla., nor was there anything but another standard stump speech from the Democratic VP nominee, prompting the Republicans to claim Biden has been 'muzzled'.

Calling Biden's on-script message to the Sunshine State on retirement plans and Israeli security "proof that his entire candidacy is nothing more than scripted bluster and unscripted blunders", McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt said the Democratic nominee "has muzzled his own running mate for offering insight into Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes."

In an appeal to Florida voters, Biden referenced his thirty-plus years in the Senate working with Israel, suggesting that a "direct connection" between a "stronger America" and a "more secure Israel".

"I've worked with every prime minister of Israel from Golda Meir right through to the present prime minister," said the six-term senator from Delaware. "I want to tell you something: that's what Barack and I know, we know what the Israelis know and all our friends know. That is, the greater the respect for America, the stronger America is in the world, the more secure Israel and the rest of our friends are in the world. So folks, this is a direct connection. It's about establishing once again America's respect in the world and people being willing around the world to follow us."

At Roger Dean Stadium, spring training site of the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, Biden warned supporters that this presidential race is "in the final lap here."

For the past week, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee has scarcely deviated from his short and sweet 20-minute stump. As he appealed to elderly voters here in this southeastern Florida city, today was no different.

"Here's what Barack and I believe," Biden told the crowd of 2000. "We believe there should be no privatization of Social Security, no raising of the retirement age. And we believe, we believe there should be no income taxes for seniors for who have an income of less than $50,000 a year. Zero, zero income tax. In fact, we believe and we'll propose that they shouldn't even have to file a tax return, literally."

In one of this morning's few moments that have might have been unscripted, Biden dubbed the Republican ticket "Bret and Bart Maverick".

"Here's the part I love," he said, before launching into his usual imitation of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin. "Hey, maverick! I'm a maverick! You're a maverick! We're the maverick team, right?' You know? Bret and Bart Maverick. I mean, they're the mavericks, right?"

In reality, Biden said, "it's George W. Bush and the sidekicks."

This evening the Delaware lawmaker links up with Obama for a joint rally in Sunrise, their ninth appearance together, before departing later tonight for St. Louis.

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