Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
QUINCY -- Vice President Joe Biden questioned Republicans' claims of fiscal responsibility today and blamed them for the stumbling national economy, as he stumped for William R. Keating, the Democratic candidate in the 10th Congressional District.
Biden, in town to boost Keating's run against Republican State Representative Jeffrey Perry, asked a crowd of several hundred at a rally, "How can Perry or the Republican Party talk with a straight face about fiscal responsibility?"
"Give me a break," he said. "Next time a Republican talks to you about fiscal responsibility, tell them, 'Forgive me if I laugh in your face.' ... It's bizarre, they have no credibility."
During a campaign stop in Scituate, Perry said Biden was using a "distracting technique" because Democrats "don't want to talk about the last two years when they were in charge."
He said the Democratic leadership failed to pass a budget before the congressional recess, has failed to contain deficit spending, and has "done nothing" on illegal immigration.
"Let me be clear, I'm not saying Republicans have always gotten it right," he said, but he said that GOP officeholders and candidates are now focused on curbing spending.
Candidates are making their best and final pitches to voters with the election looming on Tuesday. Keating and Perry are battling for the seat left vacant by the retirement of US Representative William Delahunt.
Biden also told the crowd outside the Tirrell Room function hall in Quincy, "The reason for this economic debacle is the Bush administration and Republican policies. ... I don't say this to relitigate it, I say it so we don't have to relive it."
And in a play on a famous quotation from Mark Twain, Biden said, "The reports of the death of the Democratic Party are premature."
Even though the pundits predict heavy losses in the midterm elections for the Democrats nationwide, Biden said, "We are going to maintain the Senate, we are going to have a majority in the House, and Bill Keating is going to be part of that majority."
"This fight is important," said Keating, pledging to stand up for those "without a voice."
Perry and his wife, Lisa, were greeted like rock stars during their stop at a rotary in Scituate, where they walked hand in hand, greeting more than 100 supporters who held signs and chanted "Go Jeff, Go!" and "Per-ry! Per-ry!" as a steady stream of drivers leaned on their horns.
Two volunteers, Jennifer White, 30, and Andrea Killion, 42, held a large Halloween-inspired sign with photos of Keating, Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that read, "These three haunting Capitol Hill? That's a scary thought."
Killion said Perry would help bring "common sense to Washington" by cutting spending and supporting the troops.
Perry was also warmly greeted at other "visibilities" in rotaries on the Cape, in Orleans and Hyannis
"I'm feeling great, I really am," Perry said as he waved to drivers on Route 6 in Orleans. "The energy that's around the campaign is just palpable. It reminds me of January before Scott Brown was elected."
He brushed off comments made by independent gubernatorial candidate Timothy Cahill on WBUR-FM radio Friday, that Cahill would not vote for Perry because of questions about his involvement in a controversial strip search made by a fellow officer decades ago when he was a Wareham police sergeant.
"I'm not voting for Cahill, either," Perry said, adding that the former Democrat is "the pretend independent" in the governor's race.
One of Perry's volunteers, Mike Doherty, 45, of Hanson, waved a large American flag while also holding a sign for his candidate.
He said Perry would help strengthen America in Washington. "I have two small boys and I just want them to grow up in the same strong America that I grew up in," he said.
Karen Neal, 60, of Sandwich, said she was supporting Perry because he will work to fix "Obamacare." "I'd rather repeal it and start from the beginning," she said. "Scrap 90 percent and rework it."
Neal said she first met Perry about 10 years ago when he visited the Sandwich Republican Town Committee.
"We thought, 'What a nice young man!'" she said.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more