For the first time, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to take up a leading attack against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney in the general election: Romney's record at the private equity firm Bain Capital.
A manufacturing plant in Youngstown, Ohio will offer the optics for today's assault on Romney's practice of taking over struggling companies and in some cases, walking away with multimillion-dollar profits while the employees got sacked. In other cases (frequently overlooked by Obama's campaign), the companies thrived.
The role of the vice president as attack dog is well-established, and Biden's speech is a reminder of one of President Obama's key advantages until Romney picks a running mate. The president has a wing man; Romney does not.
"The mechanics of campaigning mean that the vice president commands the attention of whatever media market he is in, so today he'll be saturating a battleground state like Ohio,'' said Mike Feldman, who worked for Vice President Al Gore. "That is an asset the Obama campaign can deploy that Romney can't yet.''
Biden, one of four children in an Irish Catholic family and raised in Scranton, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., also carries more street cred with white, blue-collar workers than his boss. Biden can connect his life story with the experiences of the workers who lost their jobs under the Bain and with his Rust Belt audience.
According to excerpts of his remarks released by the campaign, Biden will focus on GST Steel, a mill in Kansas City taken over by Bain in 1993 that is also the focus of new television ads aired by the Obama campaign and the Priorities USA super PAC.