ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe Reports: Just hours after announcements that the nation’s economy had slowed at the same time as Exxon Mobil recorded record-setting profits, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., blasted the Republican ticket of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Gov. Sarah Palin for their “upside down” tax plan.
“Here the entire economy of America is shrinking and the oil companies are, this one, in fact, made the largest profit in its history in a quarter,” the Democratic vice-presidential nominee said Thursday in Arnold, Missouri, citing this morning’s news that in the third quarter the nation’s gross domestic product had fallen 0.3% while Exxon Mobil had raked in $14.83 billion in profits. “Ladies and gentlemen, what more evidence do we need that the Exxon Mobils of the world don’t need a tax break? That $4 billion should go to middle-class taxpayers, people who need the money!”
“John and Gov. Palin have this upside down,” Biden said. “They literally have it upside down.”
The Delaware lawmaker flew in from Florida late last night for a quick rally here just outside St. Louis, emphasizing to a thousand Missouri supporters the importance of their votes next Tuesday in this battleground state.
“We’re back in the Show-Me State and you all are going to make us show you, and you’re gonna make all of us show you and that’s the way it should be, because this is the time, “ he said. “This is the time to make us all ante up. This is the single most important election in the lifetime of anyone, anyone who is within hearing distance of my voice."
“And it is appropriate, it is appropriate that much of this campaign is winding up right here in Missouri,” Biden continued. “Because it is a state, it is a state that wants to know. They don’t want any rhetoric, they don’t want to know – they want to know what is going to happen.”
The six-term senator attempted to show supporters that the Democratic ticket understands how to fix the nation’s financial crisis, delivering a speech focused almost solely on the country’s struggling economy, specifically referencing a Chrysler plant in nearby Fenton that just closed down.
“Just yesterday…the last minivan came off the assembly line at the Chrysler plant," Biden said. "It was a white Dodge minivan. And the important thing I want everybody who doesn’t understand about labor to understand, it came off the line two days early. Now let me tell you what I mean. Think of this a minute. These workers, at that Chrysler minivan plant took pride to the very, very, very end to produce the best product, the best product that they could produce.”
Biden described how he had gone to a General Motors plant that closed down near his Wilmington home years ago, greeting employees who had just been laid off.
“Part of government’s responsibility is to be there when things aren’t going well," he noted. "And people would walk by and do a number of expletive deleteds, deleteds to me. You know, ‘Biden da-da.’ But I promise you, 85% would get halfway across the parking lot and they’d walk back to me and say, ‘Joe, thanks for being here’.”
Amidst numerous reports that he has been “muzzled” by the campaign to prevent any inflammatory off-the cuff comments, Biden continued sticking to script today, although he joked at one point that he had slipped up and gone off-message.
“Now look folks,” began Biden, before spotting the Warriors band in the corner of this Fox High School gym. “Hey, I didn’t even see the band up there. Hey, folks, how you guys doing? Thanks for being here. That’s really nice of you. Thank you.”
Then he paused, perhaps reining himself in before drifting too far off-script.
“That’s what you call getting off-message,” Biden quipped. “But I tell ya, you guys look good.”