Biden Offers Voice Of Empathy On The Economy

Vice President Joe Biden is reprising his role as one of the Obama administration's top surrogates on the economy and an empathetic voice in states hard hit by the recession which could decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.

Biden, who spoke frequently of his working class roots in Scranton, Pennsylvania, during the 2008 presidential campaign, is expected to focus in the 2012 campaign on states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which President Barack Obama carried in 2008 but which elected Republican governors in 2010.

Polls show that Obama remains personally popular, but has lower job approval ratings. Republicans say the sputtering economic recovery with high unemployment and a slumping housing market has left Obama vulnerable.

A large swath of the Midwest, including Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin — all won by Obama in 2008 — are considered prime targets for Republicans next year.

Biden "obviously has deep, deep roots in the industrial Midwest running from Pennsylvania right across and he'll be very valuable there," Obama strategist David Axelrod told reporters in Chicago earlier this week. "But he's somebody we would send and will send anywhere in this country."

Biden, who was speaking Saturday evening to the Ohio Democratic Party's annual State Dinner, has assailed moves by Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio to strip away collective bargaining rights from most public workers and efforts by Republican lawmakers in Congress to turn the Medicare health care program for the elderly into a plan in which the government subsidizes beneficiaries who would seek coverage from private insurance companies.

The vice president has defended Obama's handling of the economy, pointing to tough decisions to seek an economic stimulus package and rescue U.S. automakers. But his pitch often turns personal, drawing on his father's decision to move the family to Delaware in the 1950s in search of a job.

"There's still a long way to go. There are still millions of women and men who are like the family I was raised in," Biden told Democrats in New Hampshire last month. "When a recession hit, we knew someone sitting around my dad's kitchen table ... was going to lose their job."

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who also rose from modest circumstances, said Biden "has the ability to express what a lot of people feel when it comes to their anxieties over the economy and job loss, their kids. I think he does a really good job of identifying with those concerns and expressing them."

Largely under the radar, Biden, a former U.S. Senator from Delaware, has maintained a busy travel schedule, appearing in more than 150 political events in 2009 and 2010, including 20 events in Ohio alone and 14 in Pennsylvania. In 2011, he had appeared at more than a dozen political events before Saturday's dinner in Ohio and is headlining fundraisers on Monday in Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee.

In July, Biden is scheduled to speak to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union in Las Vegas, the National Education Association annual convention in Chicago and the National Association of Police Organizations in Dallas. Next fall, he is addressing the Florida Democratic Party's state convention.

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  • by Tyrone Location: Greenville on Jun 26, 2011 at 09:17 AM
    If Obama ever gets off the golf course we can ask him what his plan is to fix the economy.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM in reply to Tyrone
      Wasn't John Boehner on the course with him??? Why did you omit him? Another Hypocrite.
      • reply
        by Tyrone on Jun 26, 2011 at 02:07 PM in reply to
        Anonymous you are correct that John Boehner was playing golf with Obama last weekend. However, Obama has played golf for 13 Saturdays in a row. I sugeest that you get your head out of your shorts and wise up.
        • reply
          by Whoa! on Jun 27, 2011 at 12:44 AM in reply to Tyrone
          You can't fault the man for taking some time away from the office. As you might know, the President, regardless of who it is, never takes a day off. He is always accessible. Don't you take some time off Tyrone? I willing to wager the President puts in more time than you do.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 26, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters is that the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood?
  • by BOXER Location: enc on Jun 26, 2011 at 06:57 AM
    Barlow you need to get off the pipe.
  • by Barlow Location: GoinToMadison on Jun 26, 2011 at 04:53 AM
    Biden used to take the train to work every morning when he was in the Senate. Actually, knows some working people personally and I'm not talking about his servants. Biden 2016.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 26, 2011 at 02:55 AM
    Vote for anybody other than Obama/Biden in 2012 for hope and change and for a new administration to fix the mess that Obama has left this country in before it it is too late.
    • reply
      by Tree Hugger on Jun 26, 2011 at 04:03 AM in reply to
      The Bushes created the mess. Obama took our hopes, chose "compromise" over leadership, and made it worse. This coming election, neither a democrat nor a republican will get my vote.
      • reply
        by Susan on Jun 26, 2011 at 05:03 PM in reply to Tree Hugger
        Record deficit spending by the democratic party whom held the majority in congress from 2006 until 2010 created the deficit. Now the democrats still control two thirds of the power in the federal government; senate and executive branches. In 2012 elect socially and economicaly conservative republicans to the White House to restore economic prosperity and traditional family values in the USA.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 26, 2011 at 04:55 AM in reply to
      Yep Foghorn Leghorn would do better.

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