Vice President Joe Biden told Florida radio station WLRN on Thursday that voters should hold President Barack Obama, not former President George W. Bush, accountable for the poor state of America’s economy.

Conservative PAC American Crossroads circulated the startling statement Thursday afternoon, expecting it will take Democratic campaign strategists by surprise.

“Right now, understandably — totally legitimate — this is a referendum on Obama and Biden and the nature of the state of the economy,” Biden said.

Polls indicating that more Americans blame Bush for the economy than Obama are not relevant, Biden said.

“Even though fifty-some percent of the American people think that the economy tanked because of the last administration, that’s not relevant,” Biden stressed. “What’s relevant is we’re in charge. And right now we are the ones in charge and it’s gotten better, but it hasn’t gotten good enough.”

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