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Published: Friday, 9/19/2008

Biden tells Ohioans Dems will bring help; he winds up tour in Youngstown

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden ended his two-day bus tour through Ohio here last night after a full day of touting Barack Obama s economic plan for middle-class families mixed with some tough criticism of Sen. John McCain s ideas on the economy.

Where was he a month, a year, two years ago? Senator Biden asked of Mr. McCain. He was continuing to support $20 billion in tax incentives to send your jobs overseas.

At an outdoor rally last night in Youngstown, the senator again evoked the Obama-Biden call for change and promised better times for the economically hard-hit state of Ohio.

Millions of American workers have gotten knocked down, he said. It s time for America to get up.

Mr. Biden left for Delaware last night but Ohioans can expect to see both Democratic candidates in their crucial swing state as they attempt to prevent a repeat of 2004 when President Bush sealed another four years in the White House by carrying the state over John Kerry.

David Wade, Mr. Biden s spokesman, yesterday said that both Democratic candidates would be criss-crossing the state to reach areas devastated by massive job losses in manufacturing and the automotive industry.

No Republican in 150 years has ever been elected without winning Ohio, Mr. Wade said after a campaign stop at a union hall in Akron.

Mr. Wade said Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden would be visiting Ohio s large urban areas as well as its rural sections including the Appalachian southeastern corner, a predominately white region where Hillary Clinton easily defeated Mr. Obama in the primary. The former first lady beat Mr. Obama among Ohio s white voters by 64 to 34 percent.

Mr. Wade also said both Democratic senators would be stumping for votes in Ohio s rural corners but noted that Mr. Biden would appeal particularly to voters in those regions.

I think Joe Biden has a special connection to that part of the state. There is a little bit of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in that part of the state, he said referring to the senator s home town.

Supporters lauded Mr. Biden s speeches yesterday and Wednesday and many said said he strengthened the Democratic ticket and took a step toward stealing the media spotlight back from Mr. McCain s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

John Hoover, an economically hard-pressed union laborer from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, said Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden have an advantage in Ohio because the McCain-Palin message doesn t speak to the state s working-class families. He also said the Democrats would be more friendly toward organized labor than the Republicans.

We don t want eight more years of misery, Mr. Hoover said. He was great ... I think Biden really appealed to middle-class people, people who need a break, people who need a change.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who appeared with Mr. Biden yesterday morning at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, asked supporters to stay focused on winning the battleground state to wrestle the presidency away from Republicans.

Ohio this year will send a message that will resonate across our nation and throughout the world, Mr. Strickland said. That America is back, that we will rebuild our economy, that we will support education, that we will provide health care for our people, ... that we will bring this war to an honorable end, [and] that we will care for our veterans once they come home to us.

For a second consecutive day in Ohio, Mr. Biden hammered Mr. McCain during speeches in Canton, Akron, and Youngstown, calling him profoundly out of touch.

If you look at it, John McCain s answers for the economy and we re in such desperate shape is the ultimate bridge to nowhere, he said outside Canton s hall of fame.

Mr. Biden was tossing an apparent barb at Mrs. Palin by referring to the infamous bridge to nowhere, which was supposed to connect a small island to the Alaska mainland before it was scrapped.

The longtime Delaware senator last night blasted Mr. McCain s comments Monday morning when the Arizona senator said he believed the fundamentals of the U.S. economy were strong, but later Mr. McCain called the situation a crisis.

John McCain stands alone now, even with Bush, stands alone now with saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong, Mr, Biden told a crowd of supporters. He is totally out of touch with the problems of average people.

He promised that an Obama-Biden win in November would be better for the middle class while Mr. McCain would cut taxes for the rich. The Obama economic plan would increase taxes for people making more than $250,000 and cut taxes for those bringing home less money.

Senator Biden yesterday again laid out Mr. Obama s plans to create jobs and resuscitate the country s sagging economy.

We are going to right off the bat create two million jobs that in fact will pay an average of $50,000 a year, he said. You know how we are going to do that? We are going to invest $70 billion a year in the infrastructure of this country ... our infrastructure is crumbling. One of the reasons American corporations are leaving is because our infrastructure is not strong.

He said they would also invest $15 billion a year in green technologies, including wind and solar, which have both emerged as important industries for Toledo and Ohio.

Imagine a country where we get 20 percent of all our energy from renewable energy that doesn t pollute anything, Mr. Biden said in Canton. Imagine the jobs created in Ohio building turbines, building the whole option of what we have to do with solar energy and solar panels.

The McCain-Palin campaign shot back yesterday with a conference call on Barack Obama s failed economic leadership.

I think the first thing one should be quite honest about is [Mr. Obama] has no credibility in his comments, said Doug Holtz-Eakin, McCain-Palin senior policy adviser. This is the man who voted for higher taxes 94 times in the U.S. Senate 94 times he had the opportunity to either keep taxes where they were or lower them for middle-class Americans he did not.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: 419-724-6171 or imessina@theblade.com



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