(CNN) - In his remarks later Thursday at the United Auto Workers Local 12 Hall in Toledo, Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden will mention the Republican candidates by name, per a senior Democratic official.
This is a departure for Team Obama. To date, they have stayed away from outright combat by routinely declining to name the GOP candidates. Now the president's closest surrogate is dropping the fig leaf.
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The vice president is expected to talk about the president’s support for the auto industry bailout, slamming the bailout’s Republican critics (including Republican candidate Mitt Romney), as “dead wrong.”
Biden will further seek to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans on the middle class and the economy.
“Stated simply, we’re about promoting the private sector. They’re about protecting the privileged sector,” he will say, according to prepared remarks. “We’re a fair shot, and a fair shake. They’re about no rules, no risk. And no accountability.“
There was one recent instance when the vice president took on the GOP opposition – in a December op-ed in the Des Moines Register. It attacked Romney's policies and CNN has been told this speech will reflect similar themes but tick through all the GOP candidates.
Also Thursday night, the Obama campaign releases the 17-minute Guggenheim documentary, which frames the campaign narrative on the president's three years in office. Supporters who sign up at the campaign website will get the documentary at 8 p.m. ET. There will also be viewings at house parties across the country.
And note the state dinner last night was, for the first time, filled with big Obama donors (and quite a few former mega-Hillary Clinton donors). Usually the White House is criticized for neglecting supporters on big nights like this. Now in campaign mode, the White House has rectified and switched gears.