(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden took a sledgehammer to Mitt Romney's position on government spending on Tuesday, accusing the GOP of launching an all-out front against public sector employees.
"You guys are under full blown assault. This is the greatest assault on the working class people and their unions that I've seen in my lifetime," Biden said at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) convention in Los Angeles
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His speech marks the latest development in the ongoing skirmish between Romney and the president over the role of the federal government in providing more public jobs.
After Obama said–then later clarified–that the private sector was "doing fine" in a press conference earlier this month, Romney made news of his own when he argued later that day that Uncle Sam needs to halt further spending.
Romney said of Obama, "he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
Obama's campaign has since taken Romney's comment and run with it, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of wanting to eliminate key jobs for middle class workers.
On Tuesday, Biden took the attack line further, saying Republicans–led by Romney–have placed union jobs in the cross-hairs.
"They hear labor, and they think 'enemy.' They hear labor and they see an opportunity to try to scapegoat labor for the problems they created," Biden said.
Rallying his audience, the vice president charged the GOP with vilifying public employees and characterizing them as "selfish" and "caring only about" themselves.
"They really don't understand what we're about. They don't get that you're the most professional, disciplined, and well-trained workers the American people can get and deserve."
Both Romney's campaign and that of President Barack Obama have maintained the debate over how to best stimulate the economy-through the private or public sector-will be the defining choice in the election this November.
Romney has described such accusations as "absurd," acknowledging that most public sector jobs are created at the local and state level.
"The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that's completely absurd," Romney said last week on Fox News, adding that what he opposes is more federal spending.
"(Obama's) got a new idea, though, and that is to have another stimulus and to have the federal government send money to try and bail out cities and states. It didn't work the first time. It certainly wouldn't work the second time," Romney said.