SUPERIOR, Wis. – Vice President Joe Biden made his final push in Wisconsin, campaigning in the state home state of his rival, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee.
Since Ryan joined the GOP ticket as Romney’s running mate, Biden has traveled to Wisconsin five times, even campaigning in areas close to Ryan’s hometown.
“I was down in southern part of state, 13 miles from congressman Ryan’s hometown,” Biden said at Superior Middle School as the audience booed. “No, no. He’s not a bad guy.”
In the final week of the campaign, Biden and Ryan have gone head to head over the auto industry. Less than half an hour away from Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis., Biden argued that Ryan has underestimated the positive impact the Obama administration has had upon the automobile industry.
“I know the guy next door doesn’t recognize it, but we actually did rescue the automobile industry and saved a million jobs, a million jobs saved and 200,000 new jobs continuing to expand,” he said in Beloit, Wis., Friday morning at the Aldrich Middle School auditorium.
The vice president kicked off the back-and-forth Wednesday in Sarasota, Fla., by slamming Romney for his misleading ad running in Ohio that suggested President Obama allowed Jeep operations to move to China. Biden called the GOP nominee’s TV spot an “outrageous lie.”
Ryan countered in a paper statement, saying, “GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas.”
During a stop in Ocala, Fla., shortly after, Biden reminded voters that Ryan voted for TARP, a program pushed by the president. The vice president said that since joining Romney’s ticket, Ryan has caught “Romnesia” and forgotten his previous stance.
Ryan quickly fired back.
“We want a strong manufacturing sector,” Ryan said in Racine, Wis., Wednesday. “But today you might have heard that Joe Biden was at it again. Today, he was talking about the government bailout, which they keep touting as an unqualified success story. … Chrysler, in particular, we know this story, are now choosing to expand manufacturing overseas. These are the facts. Those facts are inconvenient for the president, but no one disputes them.”
After joining the GOP ticket, Ryan used his roots in the state to help shore up votes and tried to tie President Obama to the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wis.
An NBC/WSJ/Marist poll released Thursday had President Obama up by three percentage points – 49 percent to Romney’s 46 percent. The Obama campaign made a strong push for Wisconsin after Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate, with the president and vice president picking up their appearances there, hoping their frequent trips will help net them a win on Election Day.
“Go get ‘em, Superior,” Biden said before walking off the stage at his last campaign event in Wisconsin. “We’re going to win this election because of you.”
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe contributed to this report.