Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday launches a two-day campaign swing through the critical battleground state of Ohio. He will unleash a blistering attack on "Romney Economics," charging that the presumptive Republican nominee's business background shows he would favor wealthy investors over working-class Americans if he wins the White House.
"Nobody knows better than the people of the Valley the consequences of that kind of philosophy," Biden planned to say in a noontime speech at an advanced automotive manufacturing facility in Youngstown. "You've been through hell and back."
The blunt-speaking vice president's remarks, excerpts of which were made public by the Obama campaign, focused on Mitt Romney's time as head of the Bain Capital private equity firm. They echo an Obama campaign ad released earlier this week focused on a steel plant that went bankrupt eight years after Bain bought it in an attempt to turn the struggling business around.
"He thinks that because he spent his career as a 'businessman,' he has the experience to run the economy," Biden planned to say. "He's raised it. So let's take a real hard look at it."
The vice president highlighted the story of GST Steel, which was already struggling by the time Bain Capital bought it in 1993. The plant went bankrupt in 2001, and 750 workers lost their jobs. Romney had left Bain in 1999, but retained a financial stake in that company.
"Romney made sure the guys on top got to play by a separate set of rules, he ran massive debts, and the middle class lost. And folks, he thinks this experience will help our economy?" Biden was to say. "Where I come from, past is prologue. So what do you think he'll do as President?"
(In January, the Reuters news agency published a long analysis of Romney and Bain's record with GST, along with his record in private equity overall. Of note: The plant's owners approached Bain Capital "because it had earned a sterling reputation for turning companies around.")
"We welcome the vice president's attempt to pivot back to jobs and discuss the Obama administration's record of exploding deficits and high unemployment," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei. "With 23 million Americans struggling to find jobs, voters understand that it's time to elect a successful businessman like Mitt Romney who can put people back to work and address the serious economic challenges facing our country."
Biden's campaign swing highlights what sort of political weapon he could be for the Obama re-election effort—harnessing his effusive, folksy charm to win over traditional working-class Democrats who didn't really swoon for the president in 2008 and resist his appeals for help in 2012.
"Folks," Biden was to say (they're really leaving nothing to chance over at Obama HQ—even the "folks" is in the script). "This election is going to create a stark and fundamental choice between two different economic philosophies." "There's Obama Economics, which values the role of workers in the success of a business, and values the middle class in the success of the economy. A philosophy that believes everyone deserves a fair shot and a fair shake, and everybody should play by the same rules," Biden said in the excerpts.
"And then there's Romney Economics, which says as long as the government helps the guys at the very top do well, workers and small businesses and communities can be left to fend for themselves," the vice president said.
"But folks, as you've begun to see in the Valley, things really are starting to come back. There are signs of hope in the heartland. Jobs are starting to come back," Biden said.
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