Biden takes aim at Romney's Bain in Ohio event
May 16th, 2012
02:50 PM ET
8 years ago

Biden takes aim at Romney's Bain in Ohio event

(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."

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Ohio
soundoff (31 Responses)

    Willard is an enemy of the manufacturing sector. The people he claims he's going to help are the people he helped destroy.

    May 16, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. rla

    Ohhhh Keep talking Joe PLEASE!!!

    May 16, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Biden is "taking aim" at something? Biden could shoot an arrow into the air and miss.

    May 16, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Dave

    That will not work. Bain took companies that were going bankrupt and then made them profitable again (thereby saving jobs). If Joe is going to criticize anything, then he should focus on GM and Solyndra. These companies took government funds, went bankrupt and then laid off people.

    May 16, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. Mm

    I'm personally loving the matchup of Biden v. Romney. Romney's going to be leftover scrod before its all over with.

    May 16, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. justanotherguy60

    Joe is walking on thin ice that is so thin, he'll fall in. Bain is a private company and the v.p. must read its history before he speaks. We all know when he opens up his mouth, something will go awry. Keep speaking Joe, but don't look at the facts, it could bite you. What a joke!

    May 16, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. chuck weidemann

    Romney cites his record in business then runs from his record in business! What else is new.....besides government is not a business!!! It's purpose is to regulate,balance and prioritize. Trump Romney and the business world make money for themselves as thy should do as businessmen...that's not what a president does!!!

    May 16, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. Cynthia L.

    Joe Biden is telling the truth.

    May 16, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. Jay

    get em joe! You have my support from long island ny. Obama-biden 2012

    May 16, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  10. Anonymous

    "That will not work. Bain took companies that were going bankrupt and then made them profitable again (thereby saving jobs). If Joe is going to criticize anything, then he should focus on GM and Solyndra. These companies took government funds, went bankrupt and then laid off people."

    Typical GOBP lies and propaganda. Bain is a vulture capitalist company that did not care about job creation (see quote from Rmoney's co-worker) and did not care whether the company was failing or not, only if Bain could profit on selling off the pieces. The GM bailout Rmoney opposed is a success, as more jobs are coming back and there would have been devastating losses down the supply chain otherwise (which is why Ford supported the bailout despite receiving no funds). And the Solyndra parrots only show their ignorance. Some energy grant companies were bound to fail, a fact taken into account by any legitimate venture capitalist (which excludes vulture capitalists like Rmoney) and the White House also had a projected failure rate. Even with Solyndra, the energy grant program is currently operating with a failure rate BELOW what was projected. Just a few facts for those paying attention.

    May 16, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. Blindersoff

    And they all fall down!

    May 16, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Cindy

    I will bet my bottom dollar that romney didn't loose one night sleep over all the people he put out of work. His past history shows he could care less about the "lower class people". His only desire is money. I really would love to hear from a lower paid person who can tell me WHY he would vote for someone who could care less about them. If we lived back in the old days, you would be slaughtered for just existing.

    May 16, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. MikeB

    No surprise.
    Someone that lacks ethics tosses around claims of ethics violations.
    The Biden/Obama camp lacks ethics and honor.
    They even blame Bush for the things that they are going steroidal on.

    May 16, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. stew

    Romney saved the winter Olympic's, he got on top of the mountain and made it snow, he saved Utah by being living elsewhere, he saved all of America's banks by hiding his ill gotten money overseas. Romoney did work very hard to steal peoples future, now he wants to etch-e-sketch it to get elected.

    May 16, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  15. Independant Texan

    Don`t ever forget,--– Mitt was, is, and always will be a dedicated venture (vulture) capitalist. If businesses were somehow saved, it is by far the exception rather than the rule. Their only consideration was the bottom dollar for them and "job creation" was merely a by-product.

    May 16, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. CapitalistOne

    Here come the socialists! Bain should not have invested in companies, they should have just given money to them in an effort to redistribute their money to the less fortunate.

    If you all weren't clueless, you would understand that healthy, established companies do not typically look for venture capital, as it is expensive money due to its highly risky nature. When turnaround efforts don't work, the companies that take the money are CONTRACTUALLY obligated to repay the money, before it is all used up trying to save a dying company.

    GST failed, not because of Bain, but in spite of Bain. It is moronic to think that a venture capital firm, or anyone else in their right mind, would let their investment dwindle to nothing. If a company can't be saved, they are forced to attempt to save their investment. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors.

    GST failed for a variety of reasons, but it all boils down to one... they couldn't compete globally, most likely due to the high cost of union labor. If America wants to keep jobs, we have learn to compete in a global economy. We can't do that by constant bailouts. Sorry, just the truth.

    May 16, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. Cindy

    Anonymous, I am with you. However in past post I have noticed that most republicans follow blindly and do not do research. I am still waiting for several replies from the voters of the republican parties to give me any research into why they be back romney.

    May 16, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    "When the company finally filed for bankruptcy, they reneged on their contract with the workers. No health care, lower pensions. Everyone lost their jobs," Biden will say during his visit to the swing state. "But not everyone got hurt. The top 30 executives walked away with $9 million. And Romney and his partners walked away with at least $12 million."
    That is the long range conservative plan for Social Security folks. Privatize it, dismantle it, and all the insiders walk away with millions and billions.

    May 16, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Ron in California

    Biden is a joke...He can criticize Romney about Bain all he wants. But does he Know his boss the President had Dinner with Tony James the COO of Blackstone Group to raise campaign money? I thought Investment groups like these were evil??? I guess not when you need their money.

    May 16, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. MaryM

    President Obama will win re-election and thats that.

    May 16, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Cindy

    Mike are kidding I hope! Apparently your memory is extremely short. As I recall, Bush had brought us to the brink of a depression. Our economy was spiraling. He had basicly sold our county to China by borrowing trillions of dollars from them. (What a mess we would be in if China demanded we pay our loan in full) to pay for 2 wars.
    You talk about ethics and honor. Tell me where romney has ever honored anything more than the all mighty dollar. He has never seen what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck, or worry where his next meal will come from. Anyone who votes for him deserves what they get. However, those that do not should not loose their freedom.

    May 16, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. CapitalistOne


    What a cop out. So, you're telling me that it's ok for some green energy companies to fail, just because we expect that to happen, but Bain and other venture capitalists have to be 100% successful in their efforts?

    Typical socialist/liberal stupidity. GST would have failed a lot sooner had Bain not stepped in. They kept that company alive for a long time with their investment before they deemed it couldn't be saved. All those lower-paid workers (as you call them) would have been out of work a lot sooner if it hadn't been for Bain.

    May 16, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  23. Jude

    Please don't give him a script. When Joe leaves the reservation its the gift that keeps on giving.

    May 16, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Biden is "taking aim" at something? Biden could shoot an arrow into the air and miss.
    You make jokes like a Romney.

    May 16, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Common sense!

    Although Mitts bought bankrupt businesses he made some more profitable and employeed more people! what has grandpa and Obama done!! more families in welfare., more foreclosures!, higher deportation of immigrants while using homeland security as a democrat political tool.

    May 16, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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