Economic disparities were front and center in Vice President Joe Biden's speech to about 1,500 people at a campaign rally in Minneapolis Tuesday.
The Democrat questioned Republican Mitt Romney's boldness after his selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Biden's counterpart on the Republican ticket.
"What's gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break?" Biden asked, touting instead economic recovery built around a revived middle class. "When the middle class does well, everyone does well."
He also praised health care reform—following an introduction by a Brooklyn Park father who credited it for his son's medical treatment—and attacked Republican's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
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'Like Squealing Pigs'
Biden blamed Republicans for blocking Obama administration initiatives in other areas.
Folks, we're trying to change the dynamic here. Admittedly, Republican obstructionism has slowed our progress, but it has not stopped our progress. In spite of Gov. Romney's insistence to let Detroit go bankrupt, we rescued the automobile industry, saving a million jobs and creating 200,000 brand-new, good-paying jobs. Over the objections where they sounded like squealing pigs—over the objections of Romney and all his allies, we passed some of the toughest Wall Street regulations in history, turning Wall Street back into the allocator of capital it always has been and no longer a casino. And they want to repeal it.
Biden's 1994 Violence against Women Act got at least three mentions Tuesday—two by Biden himself—during a rally peppered with pointed pleas for women's rights and equality. Those cries generated some of the greatest crowd response, coming two days after —comments that got no direct reference but perhaps needed none.
Biden offered a bumper sticker slogan for Democrats: "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive." And he finished his speech with a tagline for the man at the top of the ticket, saying Barack Obama "has a backbone like a ramrod."
Acclaim from the Carsons of Columbia Heights
Bob and Teresa Carson of Columbia Heights filed out of the hall onto Washington Avenue S. with hundreds of others. "We love him," Teresa Carson said of Biden." He's a very dynamic speaker. He speaks from the heart. He says what he means and he means what he says."
The Carsons said they attended a John Kerry presidential campaign rally in 2004 and regretted not going to see Obama at Target Center during his 2008 presidential campaign. "We're big supporters of the president," Bob Carson said. "It's important to get together with like-minded people."
For the Carsons, highlights of the rally included Biden's call for gender equity and his backing of health care reform. "He hit hard on women's rights," said Teresa Carson, adding that for them, the central issue is "health care more than anything."
Bob Carson said he liked hearing Biden say how many people the Affordable Care Act has already helped—"and how much can go away if Romney is elected. We think people don't realize that."
"We're not here to cause a ruckus," said Isaac Schultz of Roseville on a streetcorner outside the hotel as rallygoers streamed past. He and a half-dozen other College Republicans held up pro-Romney signs to the traffic at Washington Avenue S. and Third Ave. S.
The student said the group has had a full summer, attending parades throughout the state with the "primary mission to get out the vote for all college students" and to "put a positive light to the Republican Party" and make sure it has a "youth voice."
The protesters had a couple counter-protesters kibbitzing behind them, including Barbara Mahowald of Savage, who is campaign manager for .
"Get your greed on," said Mahowald. "Get your greed on, folks!"
Romney in Minnesota Thursday
Minnesota will go only a day without a visit from a member of a major-party presidential ticket. On Thursday,
At the Biden event, Minnesota Obama-Biden campaign spokesperson Kristin Sosanie emphasized a contrast: Biden's events in Minnesota were free, not fundraisers.