The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

June 28, 2012

Biden talks health care during Iowa visit

DAVENPORT — Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up a second day of Iowa campaigning on Wednesday, capping a trip that blended old-fashioned retail politics with ramped-up criticism of presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

In his final stop of the day before departing for Washington, Biden visited with about 20 members and staff of the Center for Active Seniors Inc.

The 40,000-square-foot center provides daily activities, classes, community forums and a fitness center.

Biden talked for about an hour, discussing the importance of staying active and social.

He said that some politicians who talk about cutting Social Security or Medicare wrongly think those policies appeal to young voters. What they don’t understand is that cutting such programs places a financial burden on younger people who will insist on taking care of their parents, he said.

The visit typified the campaign trip that took Biden to a deli in Independence, a drug store in Manchester and a grocery store in Dubuque. At each he displayed a relaxed jovial side, hugging adults, kissing children, and shaking lots of hands.

In the two major speeches — the first in Waterloo on Tuesday and the second in Dubuque on Wednesday — Biden criticized Romney’s approach to the economy, telling Iowa voters that the presumed Republican presidential nominee has a history of outsourcing jobs and that they will face “the starkest choice of our lifetimes” in November.

Biden spoke to more than 500 supporters in Dubuque in his final public speech of the two-day campaign swing. As he did in Waterloo, he emphasized middle-class workers and encouraged companies to return jobs from other countries.

The Democrat blasted Romney for his work at a private equity firm, where according to media reports he supported outsourcing jobs to China and India. Biden said the country needs a president who creates jobs in places like Iowa instead of moving them to other countries.

“We need to choose between a commander in chief and an outsourcer in chief,” he said.

Romney campaign aides said Biden is misstating Romney’s jobs record and that President Barack Obama has no new ideas for improving the economy.

“Americans deserve better. Mitt Romney has a decades-long record of job creation and a pro-growth plan that will do what President Obama has not — finally jumpstart our economy,” spokesman Shawn McCoy said in a statement Wednesday.

In his speech, Biden also criticized Republican budget proposals that maintain earlier tax cuts that primarily helped the wealthy, saying they are true believers in helping the rich while middle-class Americans see their incomes stagnate or decline.

“People feel like they’re being played for a sucker,” he said. “The top 1 and 2 percent have done exponentially better as the middle class incomes have plummeted.”

Biden said Romney’s economic policies mean “doubling down” on former President George W. Bush’s policies that didn’t help American workers.

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