Biden on attack in Youngstown

Published by James O'Toole on .

YOUNGSTOWN -- Vice President Joe Biden renewed the Obama campaign's assault on Mitt Romney's business record Wednesday portraying it as a quest for profits for the wealthy at the expense of ordinary workers.

At a speech at M7 Technologies, a high tech factory amid the manufacturing belt of the Mahoning Valley, the vice president contended that, through the auto industry bailout and other initiatives, the administration had prepared the way for a national rebound in manufacturing jobs. His criticism of the Mr. Romney amplified the indictment of his record contained in new Obama television commercials running in battleground states. Mr. Biden pointed to the same steel company bankruptcy spotlighted in the ad, contending that its fate showed the dangers of the business model of Mr. Romney's former firm, Bain Capital.

"There's Obama Economics, which values the role of workers in the success of a business, and values the middle class in the success of the economy. A philosophy that believes everyone deserves a fair shot and a fair shake, and everybody should play by the same rules,'' Mr. Biden said. "And then there's Romney Economics, which says as long as the government helps the guys at the very top do well, workers and small businesses and communities they can fend for themselves.''

"He's a patriot; he's a generous man,'' Mr. Biden said of the GOP standard bearer at another point in the half-hour speech before several hundred factory workers and Democratic partisans. "He gives to his church. He has a beautiful family. But he doesn't get it.''

The Romney campaign countered that the attacks were an effort to distract voters from the administration's lack of accomplishment on the economy.

"The president doesn't want to talk about his record,'' said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, who had joined the audience at the Youngstown plant.

The Romney campaign also distributed a press release pointing to waste and abuse in the administration's economic stimulus program and mocking the vice president supposed role as "the sheriff,'' in charge of policing such abuses.

Mr. Biden was introduced by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Randy Johnson, a USW employee whose former job at a paper factory was eliminated after Bain closed the plant.

"In the 1990s, there was a steel mill in Kansas City, Missouri. It had been in business since 1888. Then Romney and his partners bought the company. Eight years later that company was in bankruptcy,'' Mr. Biden said. "In the meantime, Romney's management team added debt on the company. When they bought the company it had only $13 million of debt. By the time it filed for bankruptcy, its debt had increased 40 fold to over $533 million.''

Responding to the same narrative in the Obama campaign commercial, the Romney campaign pointed out the Mr. Romney had moved on from a management position at Bain to become CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics by the time the firm, GST Steel, went bankrupt. The Obama campaign countered that the Republican was still a partner, sharing in Bain's profits at the time of the bankruptcy.

Mr. Biden also echoed Mr. Johnson's denunciations of Bain for taking over, then closing Ampad, the Indiana firm where he had been employed.


Biden vs Bain

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Bane vs Batman

Joe Biden is in Youngstown today -- and Martins Ferry, Ohio tomorrow -- to keep hammering Mitt Romney's former investment firm Bain Capital. The Obama reelection campaign really, really doesn't like Bain (or is it Bane?), and here's a preview of Biden's remarks:

"[Romney] thinks that because he spent his career as a 'businessman,' he has the experience to run the economy. So let's take a look at a couple of things he did. ...

"In the 1990s, there was a steel mill in Kansas City, Missouri. It had been in business since 1888. Then Romney and his partners bought the company. 8 years later it went bankrupt. ... Romney's management team added debt on the company. When they bought the company it had only $13 million of debt. By the time it filed for bankruptcy, its debt had increased 40 fold to over $533 million. ...

"And when the company finally filed for bankruptcy, they reneged on their contract with the workers. No health care, lower pensions. Everyone lost their jobs. But not everyone got hurt. The top 30 executives walked away with $9 million. And Romney and his partners walked away with at least $12 million.

"Romney made sure the guys on top got to play by a separate set of rules, he ran massive debts, and the middle class lost. And folks, he thinks this experience will help our economy?

"Where I come from, past is prologue. So what do you think he'll do as President? "

Full remarks, as prepped for delivery, via the Obama camp after the jump:


GOP SuperPAC targets Obama in Pa

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Democrats have been worrying they can't go toe-to-toe with Republican-backed SuperPACs this presidential year -- and with good reason.

Crossroads GPS, the independent group co-founded by Karl Rove, is unleashing a $25 million ad buy in Pennsylvania and other swing states, matching the Obama camp's initial buy dollar-for-dollar through the month.

The spot is going up in all the same states as the Obama camp ad and additionally Michigan.

The ad hits issues like mortgage foreclosures, taxes, the deficit and health care reform, saying Obama has failed to keep his campaign promises. It begins with a 2008 clip of Obama saying "we must help the millions of homeowners facing foreclosure," whereupon the narrator says "promise broken: one in five mortgages are still under water."

The two-week PA ad buy is $487,000 and runs from May 17-31.


Is Pa really a swing state?

Published by Tim McNulty on .

GOP consultants often find Pennsylvania's supposed swing-state status to be a mirage, writes Stu Rothenberg at Roll Call, for in the last three presidential elections it has voted more Democratic than other swing states. But both the Obama and Romney camps seem to disagree (with the president unfurling his initial ad campaign here, among other states, and Romney repeatedly visiting the Pittsburgh area already).

Rothenberg says he's still not ready to consider it a battleground himself, though the slippage of white voter support from Kerry in 2004 to Obama in 2008 can, arguably, give Romney an opening:

Of course, Pennsylvania is not the only state where demographics come into play. Older working-class, white voters are also key to winning Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin. West Virginia isn't in play, but the other two are.

These kinds of voters are likely to be conflicted in November. They often identify more with the Democratic Party's working-class positioning and rhetoric, and Romney's background and style isn't appealing to them. But they have little in common with the president, have some differences with Democrats' positions on cultural issues and are disappointed with the performance of the economy.

These voters were once loyal members of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal Coalition. But will they back Obama? Will they support Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, or even Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts?

The answers are unclear, which is exactly why Obama's campaign is running a TV spot in Pennsylvania about Romney's jobs record at private equity firm Bain Capital. Pennsylvania remains an intriguing state.

Don't tell the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. This week it called Pennsylvania one of the "Battleground States of the Century," noting that (along with Missouri and Wisconsin) lead the nation in competitive presidential contests, with results decided in the single digits in 16 of 26 cycles since 1908. Refocusing on the last 40 years, lead author Eric Ostermeier writes "Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have claimed the most cycles decided by less than 10 points with nine followed by Oregon and Missouri with eight."


AG race: Ds say kumbaya; Gov seeks money for Freed

Published by Laura Olson on .

We're a few weeks past the primary now -- and just shy of next week's post-primary finance reports -- and the Democrats who dueled in the attorney general's race have made amends.

Former Bucks County congressman Pat Murphy, who lost to former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane by about 5 percentage points, today offered his endorsement of his former opponent. 

Echoing his comments from the campaign trail about the importance of having an elected Democrat in that office for the first time in the state's history, he said the party "must come together, beat David Freed, and deny Governor Corbett the Attorney General he hand-picked to protect his radical agenda."

Meanwhile, after taking blows from those who said he didn't do enough to help his party's endorsed candidates during the primary season, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's campaign staff sent out a fundraising email yesterday to aid Cumberland County district attorney David Freed's attorney general bid.

The new finance reports that will be released next Thursday will include contributions made up through Monday night.

The text of the Murphy release and a copy of Corbett's fundraising appeal are after the jump: