CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Offering a glimpse inside the Oval Office, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech Thursday night that told Americans about President Obama’s decisions to take out Usama bin Laden, efforts the U.S. auto industry and other choices that he said have moved the country forward and are deserving of re-election.
“I want to show you the character of a leader who had what it took, when the American people stood at the brink of a new Depression -- a leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years,” Biden said before an overflow crowd at the Democratic National Convention. “I don’t see him in sound bites. I walk down the hall, 30 steps to the Oval Office, and I see him in action.”
In his roughly 40-minute speech, Biden laid a choice for Americans between re-electing Obama or choosing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
He specifically took Romney to task for his opposition to the federal bailout of the auto industry.
“It’s not that he's a bad guy,” Biden said. “I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant to all of America.”
Biden said Romney instead saw the situation as “balance sheets” and “write-offs,” referring directly to Romney’s work at the Bain Capital private equity firm.
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“The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years have fundamentally different visions and a completely different value set,” he told the overflow crowd at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Biden said he was fascinated when Romney said that if elected he would take a jobs tour.
“Governor Romney believes that in the global economy, it doesn’t much matter where American companies put their money or where they create jobs,” he said. “With all his support for outsourcing, it’s going to have to be a foreign trip.”
Biden -- the 69-year-old former senator from working-class Scranton, Pa. -- is notorious for making gaffes and going off script. But on this night, he powered through the speech without a glitch – pause for the cheers about saving Detroit and getting emotional over the relationship he has forged with the president.
“Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him, as he made one gutsy decision after another,” Biden said. “I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down choices of enormous consequence. Most of all, I saw what drove him: His profound concern for the American people.”
Biden also reminded the crowd of the promise Obama made in 2008 to kill bin Laden if he had the chance.
“Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong, healing a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart,” he said.
Using his now often-repeated stump line, Biden said, “Usama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”