Biden criticizes Romney, Ryan at UT rallyWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
An impassioned Vice President Joe Biden criticized former Gov. Mitt Romney’s and Rep. Paul Ryan’s policies and “inconsistent” stances at the University of Toledo on Oct. 23.
Ryan and Romney have “a foreign policy out of the ’80s, a social policy out of the ’50s and an economic policy out of the ’20s,” Biden said.
Biden spoke to a more intimate crowd of 1,500 compared to the group of more than 5,500 that President Barack Obama addressed Sept. 26 in Bowling Green. Romney spoke to 3,500 people at the SeaGate Centre that same day and Ryan spoke at Toledo Express Airport on Oct. 8.
Since starting his vice presidency, Biden has traveled to Ohio 23 times. In 2012, he has been to Ohio nine times. Biden last spoke in Toledo at the United Auto Workers Hall in March.
In the student union auditorium, Biden criticized Romney’s Oct. 22 debate performance.
“Last night, you saw Gov. Romney rush to agree with President Obama,” Biden said, adding, to laughs, “I was stunned and pleased that Gov. Romney had disavowed so many things he had said in the past.”
“Some days [Romney and Ryan] go out there and rattle the sabers; some days they are doves carrying olive branches,” Biden said. “The only thing consistent about the way they talk about policy is that they are inconsistent. That’s the only thing.”
The vice president also focused on women’s rights in his speech.
“One of the things that bound us (Obama/Biden) together from the very beginning as a team is he is absolutely as committed as I am and I’m as committed as he is about one fundamental thing: My daughter, my four granddaughters, his daughters deserve every single opportunity my sons have,” he said. Biden’s daughter Ashley was also in attendance at the event and spoke just before her father.
The vice president added that Romney would give the power to insurance companies when it comes to women’s health issues.
“This is a fellow whose chief adviser said he was not supportive of the Lilly Ledbetter Act,” Biden said.
Biden later bashed Romney’s role in shipping jobs overseas as leader of Bain Capital and later as governor of Massachusetts.
“It was Bain’s job to go to the cheapest market they could find, the lowest wages they could find, I get that, but folks, I got news for Gov. Romney: That’s not the president’s job,” Biden said.
Romney and Ryan’s economic policies would hurt the middle class because their proposed tax cuts would favor 120,000 families and hurt education and Medicare, Biden added.
The Republican candidates have also not been able to name any tax exemption they would eliminate for the wealthy, Biden said.
“The only loophole they say they will not change is the loophole that allows Gov. Romney to pay 14 percent on $20 million a year,” he said.
Tax experts say the only way to accomplish those cuts would be to raise taxes for middle-class families with children by $2,000 a year, Biden said.
“To pay for these massive tax cuts and another $2 trillion in defense spending the defense department’s not even asking for, that’s what they have to do. They have to raise your taxes, and they have to eviscerate the budget on things that make the middle class and the middle class’s workforce,” Biden said.
Obama’s economic policies would create a million manufacturing jobs and double the amount of exports by giving breaks to companies that keep jobs in the United States, Biden said.
Biden also told the crowd, which included many students, that the president would expand student aid and loans and also work to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers.
The vice president addressed defense issues and said he and Obama would end the war in Afghanistan and make taking care of U.S. troops and veterans a priority.
“There’s only one sacred obligation we have. We have an obligation to our children, the elderly and to the poor, but there is no obligation that is the same as the obligation we have to make sure we equip our troops when we send them to war and care for them when they come home,” Biden said.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur also addressed the crowd. She highlighted the importance of early voting, a central theme of the Obama campaign this year.
She criticized Secretary of State Jon Husted’s opposition to early voting on the three days before the Nov. 6 election. Husted brought the early voting case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but on Oct. 16, the court declined to take on the federal ruling allowing early voting on those days.
“What kind of Secretary of State is that? One that needs to be removed,” Kaptur said.
Guyton Mathews IV, a political science and communication student and fellow at UT, also spoke before Biden.
Mathews said when he found out he would be speaking before the vice president a couple of days ago, he was “definitely excited and a little nervous.”
Although he has spoken in public before, “There’s really no way to prepare for that,” he said with a chuckle.
Women’s rights and education are important to Mathews because he has two younger sisters and a younger brother.
“I have two younger sisters and I care about women’s rights and health care and I know when they start their careers, they’ll have equal pay for equal work because of team Obama/Biden,” he said.
Equal rights are also important to fellow eventgoer Beth Bingle, a “retired stay-at-home mom” from Old Orchard.
“I’ve never heard [Biden] speak before. You really get a feel for [candidates] when you see them in person,” she said, adding that she values a “people over money” philosophy.
“Equality for women is one [issue] that I find extremely important,” Bingle said.
If Romney were elected, “I don’t see any progress in that regard at all. I see us backsliding and it makes me very nervous,” she said.
Christopher Maloney, Romney for President Ohio spokesman, said in a statement, “Instead of laying out a second-term agenda, or ideas for how we can stop the recent loss of Ohio manufacturing jobs, Joe Biden instead chose to resort to the same tired distortions and negative attacks which have come to define the Obama campaign’s closing argument for their re-election. The Obama campaign finds themselves losing ground in Ohio because voters are looking for leadership, not four more years of higher taxes and debt that have ground our recovery to a halt.”