June 19th, 2012
03:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden: Romney is attacking public workers

(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.

Also see:

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Rubio to shelve GOP immigration plan

Romney credits governors with states' success

Sunny Romney predicts Wisconsin win

Filed under: 2012 • California • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Squigman

    The attacks have been ongoing since the Bush administration. The incredible thing is the fact that the republicans are getting elected by working people. Some are working people that are members of organized labor. How dumb is that?

    June 19, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. Larry L

    We all heard Romney's comments on this subject. He said it! We heard him! It was not out of context. It was a clear statement straight out of his flip-flopping mouth!

    June 19, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  3. fernace

    I don't believe Obama has ever said more government workers need to be hired! What he has said is that these necessary people & departments need to stop being Fired, by the thousands, in many states! There has to be other less important positions the GOTP can eliminate, but it seems their only goal is to strip the American people of any & all choices we have to continue our middleclass lives! If unions are a problem then fix that, don't penalize the workers & certainly not teachers & emergency services, for cryin'outloud! That makes no sense! Also, those who feel Obama caters to the unions, the same can be said of the GOTP, catering to corporations, which they have decided are "people"! Now tell me, who has the workers backs- the unions or the corporations!? Forward-Obama, Backwards-Romney & his GOTP!!

    June 20, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  4. OB83

    I love how it is said that we are close To going over the edge of the cliff. People need To remember that we already fell off the cliff Four years ago, And it was this president that padded the fall. Picked us up And began To climb again. People talk about campaign promises. These same people need To remember that President Obama said that it would take up To 10 years To fix our economy. People need To wake up And quit expecting a miracle To happen. Give Obama 4 more years. That would give him the same amount of time To fix this as we gave our previous president To mess things up.

    June 20, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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