Vice President Joe Biden today added a new twist to Democrats' economic argument against Mitt Romney, saying his business practices at Bain Capital resulted in costs to taxpayers.
"If the job is to make sure investors do well, at the expense of a company that employs everybody else, you all end up paying for it," Biden told a crowd of supporters outside a car dealership in Martins Ferry, Ohio. He was speaking specifically about the case of GST Steel, a Kansas City, Mo., firm which Bain acquired in 1993 and was forced into bankruptcy and shuttered in 2001.
"People who had nothing to do with it, were not associated with it, never worked at the steel mill they talked about, they all paid for it," Biden said.
"Here's why: because we don't let people just go out there and beg in the street. We have unemployment insurance. Taxpayers pay for that! We don't let those guys who lost their jobs, let their kids go without health care; we provide it! And everybody pays for it. The taxpayers pay for it!" he said.
Biden, on the second day of his campaign swing through eastern Ohio, also pushed back on criticism of Democrats' assault on Romney's Bain record, insisting it's fair game when evaluating the economic values a candidate would bring to the White House.
"We're not anti-capitalist! For God sake, it's the system that built the country!" Biden proclaimed.
"We hope investors do well. But you can't build an economy, an economy of the future where the only people who do well are the investors and everybody else pays the price. You can't do that," he said. "Workers get laid off, that's true. Companies get shut down. Whole communities suffer from the effects when that happens. That's no way to build an economy. That's no way to create job creators."
Romney has argued that there are two sides to the coin, that some of Bain Capital's investments were highly successful resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs.
"In the campaign, instead of talking about our respective ideas, what he's doing is trying to attack me on a personal basis," Romney told a group of donors at a private morning fundraiser in Jacksonville, Fla. "Character assassination has become the nature of his campaign. And of course with regards to the American people, he goes after success."
Biden did make an effort to temper his criticism of Romney Thursday by heaping praise on the GOP nominee personally.
"Now Gov. Romney, he loves you all, I don't doubt that a bit," Biden told the crowd. "Gov. Romney's a good decent man. In my experience he's a patriotic guy. He's a religious man. He raised five beautiful kids. He's got a beautiful, bright wife. But he has a fundamentally different view of how to make this country go."