In a major push into the 2012 general election, Vice-President Joe Biden said Thursday that the Obama administration made a winning bet on the industry while opponents were "bankrupt" of ideas.

Touting the recovery of the U.S. auto industry since 2009, the vice president told United Auto Workers in Toledo, Ohio, that President Obama's efforts strengthened middle class security.

Biden noted that General Motors has now seen the largest profits in its history and 200,000 auto jobs have been created since the president’s rescue plan was put in place.

"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 said.

On the contrary, the vice president said, Obama’s opponents wanted the companies to file for bankruptcy.

"I want to tell you what’s real bankruptcy -- the economic theories of (Newt) Gingrich, (Rick) Santorum and (Mitt) Romney. They are bankrupt. If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again," Biden said.

Biden added that he didn't buy the argument that the private sector would have aided the ailing auto manufacturers had the government not stepped in.

"Governor Romney says the market, Wall Street, 'will help lift them out.' Wrong. Any honest expert will tell you in 2009 no one was lining up to lend General Motors or Chrysler any money or for that matter to lend money to anybody. That includes Bain Capital," he said.

Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in 1999 to oversee the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

"We're about promoting the private sector. They’re about protecting the privileged sector," Biden said.

The vice president concluded that it's not just the automobile industry that’s coming back

"Manufacturing is coming back, the middle class is coming back, America is coming back," he said.