WASHINGTON -- In a fiery campaign speech on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden took direct aim at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for advocating that the auto industry go bankrupt instead of the Obama administration bailing it out.
"[Romney] said let Detroit go bankrupt. He said that," Biden said to boos during a Toledo, Ohio campaign event. "He said what what we propose, and I quote, 'is even worse than bankruptcy.'"
More telling, he said, is that Republicans like Romney were instead advocating that the private sector come to the aid of the auto industry, something Biden pointed out was never going to happen. He cited as proof the fact that Romney's own private equity firm did nothing to help out during the crisis.
"Bain Capital wasn't lining up to give anybody money," Biden said, adding that Romney said "the market, Wall Street, will help lift them out ... Wrong."
In the end, the Obama administration bailed out the industry and it is now returning to stable footing. Romney had argued a government bailout "would make GM, quote, 'the living dead,'" Biden said. "I say to Gov. Romney -- his prediction of a living dead -- we now have living proof: a million jobs saved."
UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. -- The Romney campaign responded to Biden's comments by pointing to his statement, during the 2008 Democratic primary, that Obama was not ready for the presidency.
During a Democratic presidential debate held in Des Moines in August 2007, when Biden was a presidential contender, he was asked if he stood by a past comment about Obama not being prepared for the White House. "I think I stand by the statement," Biden said.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Thursday that Biden's comment was true then and is true now.
"In 2007, Vice President Biden said he didn’t believe Barack Obama was ready to be president. More than four years later, it's clear that he was right. Since taking office, President Obama has devastated the middle class by failing to live up to his promises of fixing unemployment, lowering gas prices, decreasing health care costs, and addressing the unsustainable federal debt. As president, Mitt Romney will implement a bold, pro-growth jobs plan that will help all Americans recover from the broken Obama economy," Saul said.
The Romney campaign also cited a number of articles from the past three years hitting Obama for breaking promises to keep unemployment below 8 percent and cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.