MARTINS FERRY, Ohio
Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday continued a campaign attack on the business practices of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying that his background as an executive doesn’t necessarily make him fit to run a country.
Biden used an eastern Ohio car dealership as the backdrop to a 30-minute speech during which he said Romney was wrong to criticize the government’s auto industry bailout. He also criticized Romney’s leadership at investment firm Bain Capital, telling the now often-repeated story of a Kansas steel plant that shut down with the loss of hundreds of jobs after Bain Capital bought it.
A company president’s job is to look out for investors, regardless of what that means for jobs, Biden said.
“But that’s not the job of a president of the United States of America,” Biden said. “The job is much bigger than that.”
A president has to look out for the entire nation, not just a segment, Biden said.
“That’s what good Republican presidents have done and good Democratic presidents have done,” Biden said.
Republicans are also criticizing Obama’s energy policy, saying it is costing jobs in coal country and reminding voters of an anti-coal comment Biden made during the last campaign. About 100 protesters shouted in the background as the vice president spoke. Biden did not address the coal industry in his remarks.
In response to Biden’s Ohio visit, the Romney campaign criticized Biden and President Barack Obama for administration spending policies that have continued to raise the national debt by $5 trillion, the equivalent of $15,000 for every Ohioan, according to Romney.
Dozens of supporters filled a parking lot at Staffilino Chevrolet in Martins Ferry in eastern Ohio, a family-owned dealership that the Obama campaign says was saved by the rescue of the auto industry.
“We can’t forget the values that president Obama and vice president Biden showed in rescuing the auto industry,” sales manager Rich Vince told the crowd before Biden spoke.
The visit came one day after Biden visited a Youngstown factory where he cast Romney as a corporate raider more interested in profits than in workers’ needs.
Romney’s campaign says he had a net job creation record both as a businessman and governor of Massachusetts.
Tina Martin, 52, and her daughter, Justina Martin, were among the Democratic supporters who turned out to see Biden.
Tina Martin said she wanted to hear about military issues because her son is in the Navy and is about to be deployed again. She’s also concerned about high gas prices and the college debt her 22-year-old daughter is accruing.
Justina Martin an exercise physiology major at nearby West Liberty University in West Virginia, said she believes Biden and Obama deserve another term.
Obama “needs a little more time to make some adjustments and some changes in the world,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that needed cleaned up, so I would give him another four years to see what happens.”