Biden rips Romney's business background in Youngstown


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YOUNGSTOWN -- Vice President Joe Biden renewed the Obama campaign's assault on Mitt Romney's business record Wednesday, portraying it as a quest for profits for the wealthy at the expense of ordinary workers.

At a speech at M7 Technologies, a high-tech factory amid the manufacturing belt of the Mahoning Valley, the vice president contended that, through the auto industry bailout and other initiatives, the administration had prepared the way for a national rebound in manufacturing jobs. His criticism of Mr. Romney amplified the indictment of his record contained in new Obama television commercials running in battleground states.

Mr. Biden pointed to the same steel company bankruptcy spotlighted in the ad, contending that its fate showed the dangers of the business model of Mr. Romney's former firm, Bain Capital.

Vice President Biden assails Romney record on economics

Vice President Joe Biden renewed the Obama campaign's assault on Mitt Romney's business record Wednesday, portraying it as a quest for profits for the wealthy at the expense of workers. (Video by Bob Donaldson; edited by Melissa Tkach; 5/16/2012)

"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," Mr. Biden said.

PG VIDEO

"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 they can fend for themselves.

"He's a patriot; he's a generous man,'' Mr. Biden said of the GOP standard bearer at another point in the half-hour speech before several hundred factory workers and Democratic partisans. "He gives to his church. He has a beautiful family. But he doesn't get it."

The Romney campaign countered that the attacks were an effort to distract voters from the administration's lack of accomplishment on the economy.

"The president doesn't want to talk about his record," said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, who had joined the audience at the Youngstown plant.

The Romney campaign also distributed a press release pointing to waste and abuse in the administration's economic stimulus program and mocking the vice president's supposed role as "the sheriff" in charge of policing such abuses.

Mr. Biden was introduced by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Randy Johnson, a USW employee whose former job at a paper factory was eliminated after Bain closed the plant.

"In the 1990s, there was a steel mill in Kansas City, Mo. It had been in business since 1888. Then Romney and his partners bought the company. Eight years later that company was in bankruptcy," Mr. Biden said. "In the meantime, Romney's management team added debt on the company. When they bought the company it had only $13 million of debt. By the time it filed for bankruptcy, its debt had increased 40 fold to over $533 million."

Responding to the same narrative in the Obama campaign commercial, the Romney campaign pointed out that Mr. Romney had moved on from a management position at Bain to become CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics by the time the firm, GST Steel, went bankrupt.

The Obama campaign countered that the Republican was still a partner, sharing in Bain's profits at the time of the bankruptcy.

Mr. Biden also echoed Mr. Johnson's denunciations of Bain for taking over, then closing Ampad, the Indiana firm where he had been employed.

[See the updated and expanded story in the Thursday, May 17, issue.]

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Politics editor James O'Toole: jotoole@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1562. First Published May 16, 2012 7:30 PM


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