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Biden: Santorum, Romney ‘Both Good Guys,’ But Will Murder Manufacturing

It's amazing how a little Dr. Pepper can fuel up a VP for a day on the campaign trail.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

March 28, 2012 - 4:36 pm

President Obama laid low at the White House today, having just returned from the Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea and facing thumbs-down reviews of his solicitor general’s performance in critical ObamaCare arguments before the Supreme Court.

For Vice President Joe Biden, who held down the fort at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in meetings with advisers on Tuesday, it was time to hit the campaign trail today, delivering the third of four promised major issue addresses to relevant constituent groups.

Last week, it was telling seniors at a retirement community in Florida that Republicans want to gut Medicare and Social Security and strip them of their dignity. On March 15, the Biden Series kicked off by giving a full-throated defense of the auto bailout at a United Auto Workers hall in Toledo, Ohio.

Today in Davenport, Iowa, Biden kicked off his address on manufacturing at PCT Engineering with yet another gaffe to add to his colorful tenure.

“So let me say it again: Thank you, Terry, and thank you, Dr. Pepper, and thank you, Chancellor — Dr. Paper — and thank you, Chancellor, for this partnership of yours,” he said in reference to Scott Community College President Dr. Theresa Paper, who partners with the company to train students. “You are one of the reasons why — you’re literally one of the reasons why American companies are now insourcing instead of outsourcing.”

You’d know it by watching the video or following the amused buzz on social media, but not from the official White House event transcript: “And thank you, Dr. Paper, and thank you, Chancellor — Dr. Paper, and thank you, Chancellor, for this partnership of yours…”

The meat of the address, which was intended to hearken Obama’s “America Built to Last” promise of rejuvenated manufacturing made in his State of the Union, spent significantly more time slamming the GOP field — the former Massachusetts governor in particular — than the previous stops in the Tour de Biden.

“So all those skeptics and our Republican opponents who — especially don’t tell me that America can’t make things anymore; can’t compete in the world market anymore; can’t lead the world again any more,” Biden said. “We will lead the world again in every aspect of the economy.”

He said the administration wants to reduce manufacturers’ tax rate “by over 20 percent. We want to drop the rate particularly for high-tech manufacturers like you, Mr. President, even further than the 20 percent.”

And so much for simplifying the tax code.

“We want to create what’s called a global minimum tax, because American taxpayers shouldn’t be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home,” Biden said.

He pushed the White House mantra that investing in manufacturing will grow the middle class.

“But if you’ll forgive me for saying this, one thing that could bring this momentum to a screeching halt is turning over the keys of the White House to Santorum or Romney,” the vice president said.

“Look, they’re both good guys,” he continued. “They’re both good guys and I’ve worked with Rick for a long time. Senator Santorum is the only one of them who is even claiming to care about manufacturing, but his Senate record tells a different story.  … But if Senator Santorum has been inconsistent in what he has said and what he has done, Mitt Romney has been remarkably consistent as an investor/businessman, as the governor of Massachusetts, and now as a candidate for president, remarkably consistent and I respectfully suggest, consistently wrong.”

It was a pure campaign speech from there on out with a presumption of the GOP nominee as Biden launched into criticism of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital.

“They shut down a plant in South Carolina and cut jobs in another one in Rhode Island that made photo albums and picture frames and outsourced production overseas,” he said. “I’m tempted to say, Mitt, thanks for the memories. You know what I mean?”

“Look, Governor Romney’s business practices and his policies have clearly benefited the wealthy and most powerful among us, often at the expense of working and middle-class families,” Biden said. “They actually believe it’s the best way.  I’m not doubting their belief.  But it just doesn’t work that way.”

After Davenport, Biden headed to Sioux City, Iowa, and Milwaukee, where he was to spend the night. Tomorrow it’s two more campaign events there, then on to Chicago for two fundraisers.

On Friday, it’s Obama’s turn to hit the campaign trail again, with events in Burlington, Vt., and Portland, Maine.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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