Manchester, N.H. - Vice President Joe Biden sought to rev up union support in yet another crucial swing state Saturday, stopping by the local Teamsters headquarters to address members getting ready to canvass neighborhoods on behalf of the Democratic ticket.
The vice president professed his loyalty to the crowd soon after taking the podium.
"I've never ridden anywhere without the Teamsters," he said. "I've never ridden anywhere without the Teamsters and all of labor industry," he repeated for emphasis.
The modestly sized group, a collection of SEIU, NEA, Teamsters, Fire Fighters, and Carpenters members gathered in the basement of the office building, wore shirts signifying their allegiance. "We are the 99%," read the back of one union t-shirt.
Anticipating aggressive ad attacks by Republican superpacs, Biden told the crowd the only "antidote" to the air campaign is a "knock on the door."
"It's somebody saying, ‘Look, I know what you just saw and what you just heard in that ad about how Romney is getting tougher on China, whereas I'm here to tell you, I know these guys...I vouch for them,'" Biden told the room.
"What we appreciate the most is the fact that you put your name on the line for us," he said. "You vouch for us. That's not an easy thing for somebody to do."
Biden, who once famously declared that unions are the only people with the organizational capacity to keep the "the barbarians from the gates," decried the current state of politics where, he said, "we're supposed to somehow apologize for labor."
"There is a middle class because of the word union -- that's why there's a middle class!" he forcefully asserted.
Alluding to the imperfect history of unions, which have been declining in membership, the vice president said, "We've all made mistakes - unions make mistakes, politicians make mistakes - but the rock bottom beginning in my hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania with my great grandfather and grandfather was all about giving people a voice, giving them a voice in their own lives and that's what unions did."
Fifty-nine percent of people in union households voted for Obama in 2008, eight points higher than people in non-union households, according to national exit polling. As the countdown clock until election day winds down, the vice president has been gearing his message to union supporters in a mutual love affair that hasn't gone unnoticed.
"It's because of you we're coming back," he declared to thousands of organized labor workers after the annual AFL-CIO Labor Day rally in Detroit.
"President Joe Biden," a local UAW president and floor worker at a spark plug plant misstated when introducing the vice president in Burlington, Iowa. "Sorry, I got a little ahead of myself."