MARTINS FERRY, Ohio -- In what is likely to become a recurring theme for the Obama campaign, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday ridiculed Mitt Romney’s assertion that he deserves some credit for the auto industry’s recovery.
"He said, quote, 'I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that the industry has come back,' ” Biden said jokingly, referring to an interview Romney gave to a local TV station earlier this month. "And by the way, I'll take a lot of credit for a man having landed on the moon, because all the while in school, I rooted for it."
Romney has said that he pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy for the car companies. But GM and Chrysler went into bankruptcy on the strength of a massive bailout that Romney opposed, and that neither Republican President George W. Bush nor President Obama believes the automakers would have survived without.
Biden spoke to a crowd of more than 400 at a Chevrolet dealership, marking the last speech of his two-day campaign tour in a region of eastern Ohio centered on mining and manufacturing. Biden grew up in a similar area in Scranton, Pa., and is using his upbringing as a tool to relate to blue-collar middle-class families.
During his speech, Biden referred to the American-made cars parked behind him that were manufactured locally. "There is a lot more than a great car in there; those three cars behind me represent pride." Biden said pointing to the vehicles.
Biden told the crowd that the he and Obama “are completely confident letting you judge who brought the auto industry back. How the president views restoring the economy and the example of the automobile industry and how Romney views restoring the economy and the example how he worked as an investor are two cautionary tales."
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in response to Biden's comments: "President Obama and Vice President Biden own the worst job-creation record of any administration in modern history. After three years of broken promises, there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. Incomes have fallen and middle-class families all over America are being pushed to the brink. But President Obama and his campaign can only resort to misleading attacks on Mitt Romney."
Republicans separately have responded to Biden’s attacks by seizing on a remark by the vice president on Wednesday that some workers “got hurt” by the bailout, but that the Obama administration could not help them.
The Republican National Committee issued a news release on Thursday headlined: “The vice president admits that the bailout hurt some auto workers, but shrugs it off as not the Obama administration's problem.”