Entries in United Auto Workers (2)


Biden to Auto Workers: "I’m Back, You’re Back...the Industry’s Back"

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- Vice President Joe Biden burst onto the scene of the 2012 presidential campaign Thursday with a fiery speech before union workers in Ohio, portraying President Obama as a gutsy defender of the American auto industry who must be elected to a second term.  

“I’m back, you’re back and the industry’s back,” Biden told a cheering crowd at the United Auto Workers Local 12 in Toledo. “The president and I made a bet. A simple bet. We bet on you, we bet on American ingenuity. We bet on you, and we won.”

Biden’s vigorous defense of the 2009 government bailout of GM and Chrysler, the first of four issue-focused campaign speeches he plans to deliver over the next few weeks, underscored what Obama’s campaign plans to make a major selling point and case study in “stark contrasts” with the Republican presidential field.

Mitt Romney “said that what we proposed ‘is even worse than bankruptcy.’ He said it would make GM ‘the living dead,’” Biden said. “Newt Gingrich said it was ‘a mistake.’”

“The guy I work for everyday. He didn't flinch,” he added of Obama. “This is a man with steel in his spine.”

Hailing the estimated one million auto industry jobs saved and more than 200,000 jobs created since the government intervention, Biden doubled down on his declaration of victory while taking his rivals to task by name.

“He made the tough call and the verdict is in: President Obama was right, and they were dead wrong,” Biden said, spurring perhaps the most spirited response to his address.

“And I say to Governor Romney: his prediction, Governor Romney's prediction of the ‘living dead,’ we have now living proof!” he added.

Biden for the first time directly rebutted Romney’s claim that the industry could have survived without an infusion of taxpayer cash and that other automakers such as Ford could have picked up the slack in production if GM and Chrysler had gone down.  He even singled out Bain Capital, the investment firm Romney co-founded, for apparently not “lining up to lend anybody any money either.”

“Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich. These guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do,” Biden said, framing the November election as a choice between competing visions rather than a referendum on the administration’s record.  

“If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again,” Biden said.  

This election is a “stark choice, but in my mind, not even a close call.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


White House: Obama UAW Speech ‘Not At All’ Campaigning

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House was adamant Tuesday that President Obama’s fiery speech to the United Auto Workers union was “not at all” campaigning.

As voters in Michigan cast their ballots in the GOP primary Tuesday morning, the president delivered a rousing address, touting his decision to bail out the auto industry and sharply criticizing his Republican rivals for the presidency.

While he did not mention Mitt Romney by name, the president referenced him often and twice quoted Romney’s opposition to the bailout. “I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet....The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye,’” Obama said, quoting Mitt Romney’s 2008 New York Times op-ed entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

The president went on to suggest Romney was shoveling “a load of you-know-what” when it comes to his stance on the auto bailout.

Furthermore, without directly asking the union members to support his re-election bid, the president said, “I’ll promise you this: as long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney denied the event amounted to a campaign speech and refused several times to admit that the president was referring to Mitt Romney throughout his address.

“This is a matter of debate right now,” Carney told reporters of the president’s $85 billion auto bailout. “We have some people who still say it was wrong to take this action. We have a president who took that action in speaking to the UAW today, a group that was very affected by this decision, who made clear what his position was and contrasted it…with the policy opinions of a number of critics, including the governor of Massachusetts, but not exclusively the governor of Massachusetts,” Carney said.

It’s true, the speech was an “official” White House event, not backed by the campaign, but when the president took to the stage to chants of “four more years,” a labor official felt compelled to remind the raucous crowd “this is not a political event.”

As for the timing of Tuesday’s address, the White House has claimed it was purely a coincidence that the UAW decided to hold its annual conference on the same day as the Michigan primary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio