WATERLOO, Iowa — Vice President Joe Biden hammered on Mitt Romney over outsourcing as he worked to fire up about 400 Barack Obama supporters Tuesday in Waterloo.
Biden supported the Barack Obama campaign’s economic message on his “Strengthening the Middle Class” tour, doing so by criticizing Romney and his record on outsourcing jobs at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts.
He said Romney has a record of creating jobs, but the problem is many of them have been overseas.
In opening his speech, Biden spoke of how in his first visit to Waterloo in 1974, the economy was going strong. John Deere had 16,000 employees and Rath Packing was solid.
Speaking at the UAW Local 838 hall, he saved his most inspired words for the value of union workers.
“Then we ran into something we hadn’t heard of before — outsourcing,” Biden said.
Biden talked about how Mitt Romney and Bain Capital worked with companies to outsource jobs overseas. He said Romney’s talk on creating jobs is full of empty promises.
“There’s a huge disconnect between what he says, what he means and what he does,” Biden said.
The vice president praised Romney’s role as family man, but criticized Romney’s business approach and how it would apply to governing.
“Yeah, they made a lot of money, but in the process they devastated manufacturing here in America. They devastated the Midwest and they devastated my home state of Delaware,” Biden said. “So give Mitt Romney credit. He is a job creator. In Singapore. And China. And India.”
He spoke of the struggles in Iowa with Deere shedding jobs and Rath closing its doors.
“When Barack and I got elected we were determined to restore the middle class,” Biden said.
Supporters in Waterloo held blue signs with a simple message, “Forward. Barack Obama.”
Prior to Biden’s speech, a video played showing the economic problems Obama faced as he first took office. The video, narrated by Tom Hanks, included interviews with former President Bill Clinton and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
It detailed the bailout of automakers and financial industries and repeated the risks associated with letting large components of the economy falter.
The video also highlighted Obama’s national security leadership, including the order to launch the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, drawing applause and cheers from the packed house.
As Biden toured Iowa, the Obama campaign put out a new Iowa-specific TV ad that played off of a Washington Post story that some companies Mitt Romney worked with were early adopters of outsourcing jobs beyond America’s borders.
The ad asks “does Iowa really want an outsourcer-in-chief in the White House?”
While Biden focused on Romeny outsourcing, the Washington Post’s fact checking site said many of those claims are questionable and the Romney campaign pushed back on the accuracy of the claims.
They also painted Obama as someone who has outsourced jobs, pointing to clean energy jobs that went overseas.
Diana Harwood, a neighborhood volunteer for the Obama campaign in Cedar Falls, said Iowa will be crucial for winning the campaign and encouraged supporters to volunteer for the campaign.
“Obama needs Iowa to win,” Harwood said to applause. “Remember Florida, Florida, Florida? Well this time it’s Iowa, Iowa, Iowa.”
Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark talked up the economic progress the city has been making in recent years, including expansion by John Deere.
“We were fortunate here in the Cedar Valley the great recession caused by eight years of failed Bush policy didn’t hit us as hard as in other places,” Clark said.
Biden called Buck Clark a “good, close personal friend.” He went on to say all politics are personal.
Shawn McCoy, Iowa communications director for the Mitt Romney campaign, countered Biden’s visit with a statement questioning the economic direction of the country.
“President Obama’s policies have failed the middle class. Under President Obama, median household income has dropped and nearly one in five Iowans have experienced economic insecurity while rising insurance premiums, gas prices and grocery bills have put a squeeze on family budgets,” McCoy said.
“Governor Romney understands we need a new direction and will put policies in place starting Day One to move our country in a new direction,” he added.