Vice President Joe Biden today laced into the Republican Party and its presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, saying its Tea Party faction had blocked progress by President Obama while Romney wants to take the country back to recessionary practices.
“They begin to sound like the horse that just won the Derby and the Preakness, ‘I’ll Have Another,’” Biden told an audience at Keene State College. “Except the horse is a real winner.”
Broadening his attack, the vice president said: “We will not go back to the ‘50s on social policy, to the Cold War on our foreign policy, and to the policies of (the George W. Bush administration) on economic policy.”
He added, “Imagine where we’d be if the Tea Party hadn’t taken over the House?”
He said the largely Republican group, which favors reigning in government spending and repealing the president’s health care overhaul, has been “set on obstructionism” since winning seats in the 2010 midterm elections.
Biden devoted a lengthy section of his remarks to buttressing comments Obama himself had made Monday. The president told reporters there was a difference between his campaign’s attacks on some of the deals that enriched Romney at Bain Capital, and his support for the broader private equity system that often finances start-ups or re-engineers sagging companies.
The vice president said making money for investors is fine, but “the president has a different job.”
He said it is to ensure that all companies can make a profit, and to guard against that coming at the expense of everyone else.
When companies fail, the vice president said, taxpayers often pick up the cost in the form of unemployment insurance and pension costs.
The president’s new ads targeted a Bain-owned steel plant that closed, as well as an Indiana office supply firm shuttered after Bain took control. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs in both cases, while Romney, Bain, and company investors received millions, news reports show.
Now Romney is running for president not so much on his four-year record as governor of Massachusetts, but his 25-year career in business. He says his speciality as a turnaround artist can speed job creation and the country’s recovery from the recession.
Biden said that working in private equity “no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber.”
A Romney spokeswoman replied, “Vice President Biden is repeating the same misleading attack on free enterprise that has been repudiated by the president’s own supporters. Newark Mayor Cory Booker called the attacks ‘nauseating,’ former adviser Steven Rattner called them ‘unfair,’ and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell called them ‘very disappointing.’”
Spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg added: “After three years, it is clear that this administration can’t explain three years of broken promises and has instead resorted to making attacks on free enterprise and job creators.”
The vice president began his trip to New Hampshire—his fourth this year—with a flight to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and a stop at a fire station in Manchester, according to a pool report filed by The Nashua Telegraph.
“I’m surprised you guys were able to get up this morning,” he told a group of about 20 firefighters, referring to an area fire they fought Monday afternoon. “I read the paper this morning.”
He recalled the time firefighters saved his Delaware home after it was struck by lightning.
“I’ll tell you what, what most folks don’t get is firefighters get injured because there aren’t enough firefighters,” he said. “Firefighters die when there aren’t enough people on the scene.”
Later, Biden made a lunchtime stop at the Peterborough Diner.
Voters and supporters lined the streets of Peterborough as the vice president’s motorcade arrived in town, the pool report said. Some yelled, “Get ‘em, Joe,” and, “Kick butt in New Hampshire,” as he walked into the diner.
Once inside, he asked, “How are you doing?”
The vice president then added, “Save a seat for me,” as he slid into a bench.
He ordered a milkshake.Glen Johnson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.