During a visit to the Dayton area, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday paid somber tribute to four Americans killed in an assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and vowed that America “would bring to justice their killers.”
“There is no place in the civilized world for the senseless murder that occurred last night,” Biden said during an afternoon campaign appearance at Wright State University.
“Americans must be steadfast, resolved and committed in the face of such horrific offense. We never have been and never will be run off, period.”
U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack Tuesday as a mob in Benghazi protested a film ridiculing Islam’s prophet Muhammad.
Biden, who is running for reelection with fellow Democrat President Barack Obama, did not mention by name his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Biden, much subdued compared to his speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention, said Obama’s plan would help the middle class, while the rich would benefit greatly from Romney’s proposed tax cuts.
“The president and I believe our job is to strengthen the economy and broaden opportunity,” Biden said. “In order to do that, unlike our friends, we think what we should be doing is promoting the private sector, not the privileged sector.”
Romney spokesman Christopher Maloney said, “Vice President Biden’s appearance in Dayton only served further damage to his credibility as he reprised hypocritical and widely debunked attacks against Mitt Romney.”
“With today’s Census report showing nearly 1 in 6 Americans living in poverty and incomes continuing to decline, it appears that misleading attacks are all the Obama campaign has left to offer 400,000 Ohioans looking for work,” Maloney said.
About 1,000 people attended the Biden speech, some in an overflow area in the Student Union where the speech was held. Outside, a small contingent of protesters held pro-Romney signs.
In his 30 minute speech Biden said Obama wants to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to everyone making less than $250,000. Romney wants to extend them to everyone, and according to Biden, giving those tax breaks to rich would lead to massive cuts in funding for Medicaid and education.
Biden called for rebuilding bridges and schools, adding math and science teachers, creating a million new manufacturing jobs and helping students go to college - earning laughs and groans when he accidentally referred to Wright State as Wayne State.
“Americans know the way to rebuild this economy the old fashioned way,” said Biden. “Build it from the middle out not from the top down. Folks, we’ve seen that movie before. We know how it ends. It ends with the Great Recession. It ends with the middle class being decimated.”
Those interviewed after the speech liked what they heard.
“I’ve seen him do the things he has to do to make things better and that’s why in 2011 I threw away my Republican card,” said Fairborn resident Ben Russell, a former Marine who also served in the Air Force.
Russell said he recruited troops for four years, some of who died in Iraq. He said it became apparent that not everyone is cut out for college and then find they can’t earn enough to cover their bills.
“I’m glad that he talked about what happened in Libya. And he made it serious and somber,” said Wright State senior Luis Luiggi, 28, of Dayton, a former Navy Reservist who served in Afghanistan. “They’re bringing us home from the war and making sure we get the care and benefits we earned, like finding jobs, access to health care and affording our education.”
Wright State psychology major Lauren Runyon, 22, said she was glad to hear Biden say the administration is working to bring more American jobs.
“I’m putting in so many years and so much money toward getting a job,” said Runyon, who plans to pursue a doctorate, “Hopefully it will be there when I graduate.”
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