Politics

Biden Tells Autoworkers, ‘Hillary Gets It’

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Vice President Joe Biden returned the Mahoning Valley today – four years and one day since his last campaign stop here – and made the importance of organized labor and the auto industry the thrust of his message.

No surprise given that he spoke at a union hall here or that Labor Day will be celebrated Monday. And certainly no surprise because both Donald Trump and Rob Portman were opposed to the Obama Administration’s auto bailout – and Biden was here to campaign for Hillary Clinton and former Gov. Ted Strickland, Portman’s opponent.

“When I was here the first time, you were laying off 1,700 people here, and GM was threatening to move production to Mexico,” Biden told the crowd assembled at the United Auto Workers Local 1714 hall on Salt Springs Road.

“How many times did we hear that you’re overpaid? Or ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt’ … or that autoworkers “had gotten fat and happy?” Biden asked.

At the time of the auto bailout, domestic automakers were turning out six million cars a year, he said.

“You took a hit to get it back on its feet when management had screwed up,” Biden said.

“You’re now selling 17 million cars a year,” he said, referring to auto sales nationwide.

“You are the most productive workers in the world,” he said. “American workers are three times more productive, by every study, as Asian workers.”

Biden blasted Trump and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as he delivered the best punchline in his remarks.

“I’m so sick and tired of hearing people like Trump and the chamber saying you get paid too much. Give me a break!” he said. “This is a guy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and who’s now choking because his foot is in his mouth.”

Twice during his remarks the vice president alluded to disenchantment with Hillary Clinton among blue-collar voters.

“I know some of you are mad at Hillary [but] she gets it. She never yields. She does not break, and they [Hillary and Bill Clinton] know how to spell the word union, u-n-i-o-n,” Biden said.

“Tell your friends who are angry and say they don’t want to vote for anybody – ask them this question: Do you think there is any possibility that Donald Trump would do anything other than trying to break the labor movement?

“This is about who we are as a people. It’s about the stuff we’re made of. It’s about our values. And for all the criticism of Hillary, she gets it, she gets it.”

Strickland, down in the polls to Portman and recently embarrassed by the Democratic Party diverting funds away from his race, also blasted his opponent for opposing the auto bailout. And he accused Portman of “putting his party above his country,” citinghis failure to campaign on the same platform with Trump.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, compared Trump’s job-creation promises to “the guy who was going to bring the blimp manufacturing facility here” decades ago. “We kind of believed it because we wanted work and jobs and we were so devastated by the collapse of the steel industry,” he said.

“People have come through the Mahoning Valley for decades trying to peddle something right before the election that’s going to save us,” Ryan said.

“Donald Trump is trying to do that to us … while on the side, he’s making his ties in China.

“We’ve got to call BS on you, Donald Trump. We’ve got to call BS on you.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.