Eau Claire, Wisconsin (CNN) - In the second time in as many days, Vice President Joe Biden began a political event on a somber note: commenting on the violence that killed four American diplomatic workers in Libya.
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Calling those killed "the brave Americans we tragically lost in Libya," Biden said their deaths "remind us again of the incredible price that not only our military pays when they're deployed, but the incredible price through Afghanistan, Iraq, the Arab Spring that our diplomats have paid."
"The cause to which they are dedicated and gave their lives - democracy, partnership and tolerance - stands in absolute sharp contrast to the values held by those who callously took their lives, who I think have no real values," Biden added.
"We have always as Americans, and we will remain as Americans, steadfast and resolved and committed in the face of such horrific events and we will not, we will not be run off."
Biden spoke at the University of Wisconsin's campus in Eau Claire. Students by and large made up the crowd of 3,000, a larger-than-normal attendance at recent Biden campaign events.
After continuing on roughly five minutes, the vice president transitioned to his political task at hand: doling out anti-Republican red meat to a hungry, apparently partisan crowd.
On one front, Biden claimed that the Republican nominees rarely ever talk about one pressing issue.
"If you've noticed, Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan hardly talk about education at all," the vice president said. "They hardly mention education at all except in the negative context, it's almost the only time you hear them talk about it."
But that charge wholly overlooked that Romney frequently mentions the issue of education as one of his main five policy points on the campaign trail – though the GOP candidate frequently blasts teachers unions.
Given the university venue - and the campaign's need to invigorate and invite young supporters to their side - Biden touted the administration's proposals. At one point, he even drew a veiled distinction between his and President Obama's financial struggles as college students versus Romney's experience.
While talking about the administration's investments in education, Biden said, "First of all, the president and I know, neither one of us would be standing where we are today were it not for help we received in scholarships and loans to get our education."
He touted other accomplishments and goals: a race to see the U.S. have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020, a $2500 tax credit per year "to defray the cost of your college education," and the administration's and Democratic efforts to pass a plan "that says you will not have to pay more than...10% of your disposable income you have from your job to pay back your [student] loan."
"I know that the average student graduating from this university and universities across Wisconsin and America – you will get your diploma and a bill for $25,000 as you walk across that stage," Biden said.
The Romney campaign responded to Biden's education points.
"Students are not better off under President Obama. Not only have his economic policies made it harder for graduates to get jobs, under this president the costs of college have skyrocketed – making it more difficult for students to attend college," spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.
"It's unfortunate that Vice President Biden and the Obama campaign have put misleading attacks ahead of a real discussion about education policy. As president, Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts parents and students ahead of special interests and gives every child a chance to succeed."
The vice president also used budget concerns to level another charge.
"Look folks, there's a lot more about the Romney/Ryan budget," he said. "Were time to permit, I can tell you some of the other ridiculous proposals."
Perhaps sensing the strength of the comment, Biden quickly censored himself, saying: "I shouldn't say ridiculous. Some of the other, in my view, unfair proposals."
That Biden campaigned in Wisconsin, especially Eau Claire, is noteworthy.
Though the Thursday trip is Biden's seventh since he became vice president, it's also his second political event in the state since Ryan became Romney's running mate.
The Badger State is reliably blue, having voted for Democrats in every presidential elections since 1984. Then-Sen. Obama won the state by 13 points over Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2008. The county that hosted Biden's Thursday visit - Eau Claire county – gave the Democrats a win - by 23 points.
But the addition of Ryan to the Romney ticket changed the political dynamics for Wisconsin. The congressman is currently serving his seventh House term from the state.
Before Romney chose Ryan, CNN's electoral map showed Wisconsin as leaning Democrat. Currently, it shows the Badger State – and its 10 electoral votes - as a tossup.