Vice President Joe Biden was fired up on Tuesday, delivering a rousing defence of labour unions and the middle-class at the annual gathering of the country’s largest public-sector union.
Speaking to leaders of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Biden warned that Mitt Romney and other Republicans would gut spending for government jobs and “scapegoat labour for the problems they created.”
“You guys are under a full-blown assault,” he said. “This is the greatest assault against the working-class people and their unions that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
“They hear labour, they think enemy,” he added, before crescendoing into an impassioned “We owe you!” cry that got big cheers from the crowd.
The speech was the strongest defence of public-worker unions since the failed recall election against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker earlier this month. The Obama administration has been accused of not doing enough to support Democrats and labour unions in the recall fight, which centered around Walker’s push to curb collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions.
That Biden was the one sent to rouse the Big labour crowd underscores the vice president’s critical role for Obama’s re-election campaign. As the economy continues to sputter, the President has been forced to temper his support for organised labour to avoid appearing anti-business; but Biden has proven to be an effective attack dog when it comes to rallying the Democratic base.
Moreover, while Obama has always had a hard time connecting with white, blue-collar voters, his No. 2 clearly doesn’t have that problem.
Watch the highlights of Biden’s speech below, courtesy of CNN:
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