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Joe Biden to take Bain attack on Mitt Romney to Ohio

May 16, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking at a White House briefing on college affordability in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on May 10.
Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking at a White House briefing… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Vice President Joe Biden today is traveling to this working-class city to amplify the Obama campaign's tough attack on Mitt Romney's economic credentials, accusing the Republican of profiting at the expense of laid-off manufacturing workers.

It's the follow-through of a one-two punch from the president's reelection team concerning Romney's ties to Bain Capital, the private equity firm he controlled for 15 years. A campaign ad that aired in key battleground states told the story of a Kansas City steel plant that went bankrupt and laid off workers after Bain took control. The spot called Romney a "job destroyer."

In remarks here this afternoon, Biden is to retell the story and point out that company executives, Romney and his partners still made millions.

"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 will say, according to excerpts released by the campaign. "Where I come from, past is prologue. So what do you think he'll do as president?"

The Youngstown stop starts a two-day campaign swing through Ohio, Biden's second major campaign trip here in as many months. In March, he spotlighted the administration's auto industry rescue in Toledo, the first of five campaign "framing speeches" comparing the Obama record with the Republican agenda.

This time the vice president is to focus on the administration's policies to spur American manufacturing, which have created "hope in the heartland" after decades of economic decline.

At M7 Technologies, an advanced manufacturing plant, Biden is to compare "Obama economics" with "Romney economics," the campaign says.

Obama economics "values the role of workers in the success of a business, and values the middle class in the success of the economy," Biden is to say, while Romney economics "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."

"Nobody knows better than the people of the Valley the consequences of that kind of philosophy," Biden is to say. "You've been through hell and back."

Biden will also engage on U.S. policy toward China, calling attention to Romney's criticism of the administration for imposing tariffs on foreign-made tires.

"We fought back and we won. Romney called it 'protectionism,' said by standing up to China, we would somehow hurt American workers," Biden is to say, referring to a passage in Romney's book, "No Apology." Biden has had a lead role in crafting the administration's relationship with China.

Biden is also scheduled to speak in Martins Ferry on Thursday, as he winds his way through important clusters of working-class voters in one of the general election's most crucial battlegrounds.
Biden is going back on offense a week after his comments in support of same-sex marriage had the White House scrambling to reveal Obama's own position, ending a nearly year and a half "evolution."

White House aides said he apologized to the president. Obama said on Tuesday's episode of "The View" that his No. 2 was speaking out of a "generosity of spirit."

"We talked about it, and what I said was that I am never going to blame anybody for telling what they believe," he said. "We want to be disciplined. We want to make sure we're getting the message out there. But at the same time, on issues of principle, you know, I always admire people who go out and speak their minds."

michael.memoli@latimes.com
twitter.com/mikememoli

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