(CNN) – The Barack Obama campaign dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to eastern Ohio Wednesday to push the president's economic record and take direct aim at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's history as a venture capitalist.
In a sometimes fiery speech at M7 Technologies, an advanced manufacturing plant in Youngstown, Ohio, Biden added new emphasis to the attack on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital that the Obama campaign has waged all week, labeling his policies in a negative light as "Romney economics."
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"There's the Romney philosophy, the Romney economics, which says as long as the government helps the guys at the top to do well workers and small businesses and communities, they can fend for themselves," Biden said.
In a personal appeal from the former Delaware senator, Biden said his parents voiced big dreams for their children, dreams Republicans "don't get."
"My mother believed and my father believed that if I wanted to be president of the United States, I could be. I could be vice president," Biden said. "My mother and father believed that if my brother or sister wanted to be a millionaire they could be a millionaire. My mother and father dreamed as much as any rich guy dreams. They don't get us, they don't get who we are."
Biden specifically criticized the former GST Steel Company and American Pad and Paper, two now out-of-business manufacturing companies. Randy Johnson, a former employee at American Pad and Paper, was on hand to introduce Biden at the event in the presidential swing state of Ohio.
GST is also the subject of an Obama campaign commercial running in key states this week. Bain bought the flailing company in 1993 and it went bankrupt eight years later, after Romney had given up day-to-day involvement in Bain's business dealings. He remained the company's CEO, however, and continued to profit from its investments.
"In the 1990s, there was a steel mill ... in Kansas City, Missouri. It had been in business since 1888," Biden said, referencing GST. "When Romney and his partners bought that company, eight years later that company was in bankruptcy."
"But not everyone got hurt," Biden added. "The 30 top executives of that company walked away with $9 million in compensation. And Romney and his partners walked away with $12 million in compensation."
The Romney campaign has called the attack misleading and has pointed to another steel company that thrived after Bain invested in the company. But Biden, who will also make a stop in Martins-Ferry, Ohio Thursday, said the circumstances surrounding GST Steel is representative of how the former Massachusetts governor amassed a substantial part of his wealth.
"Romney made sure the guys on top got to play by a separate set of rules. He ran up massive debt. The middle class lost. And folks, he thinks that experience is going to help our economy? Let's take a look, what these guys passed is prologue," Biden said. "So I want you to think what he'll do as president."
The decision to go after Romney's tenure as a venture capitalist, an attack line the campaign has particularly amplified this week, has drawn Republican criticisms that the president is too willing to attack capitalism. But the Obama campaign maintains Romney's history at Bain is fair game because Romney repeatedly cites his business experience among his chief qualifications to be president.
Meanwhile, Biden promoted the Obama administration's own handling of the economy, including the decision to bail out the auto industry three years ago, a move that is widely popular in manufacturing-heavy states like Ohio.
"Folks, as you've begun to see in the Valley, things really are starting to come back. There are signs of hope in the heartland," the vice president said. "Jobs are starting to come back. And the ones that are coming back are the kind you can build a middle class life on. Manufacturing jobs."
In response to the attacks on Romney's history at Bain, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Obama "thinks that economic development means rewarding his donors with taxpayer money from the so-called stimulus."
"President Obama can't come close to matching the many years of experience that Mitt Romney has as a private businessman so he has chosen to attack the free market," Saul said in a statement. "But millions across this country are struggling and deserve a leader who understands how the economy works."