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Biden makes pitch to local auto workers

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli

ARNOLD, Mo. -- Recent layoffs at a nearby auto plant were Exhibit A for Biden this morning as he spoke about new economic data showing a shrinking economy.

Reaching out to those who lost their jobs when a Chrysler plant shut its doors in nearby Fenton yesterday, Biden somberly related their plight to those of auto workers in his home state when a GM plant closed, saying that just as he stood with them in good times and bad, and that he and Obama would work to create new jobs if elected.

"That walk from that plant gate to their car to home is one of the longest walks they've ever taken in their life," Biden said, but not as long as the walk they faced at home to tell their kids they might have to sell their home and move elsewhere.

"That conversation is taking place in 35,000 homes right here in Missouri right here this year," he said. "You know, if we can help Wall Street, we oughta be able to help Jeffco Boulevard and other streets in Arnold to be able to do the same thing to help them. And we're not paying enough attention."

He said the Democrats' plans to invest in infrastructure projects and clean energy would create jobs, and that their tax plan would help middle class families during tough times. The drop in America's GDP rate, announced this morning, came because many Americans have cut back on spending.

Meanwhile, Biden said, Exxon Mobil announced their largest quarterly effort.

"Now look, they're not bad guys. I'm not making this populist argument," Biden said. "But lets take a look at it folks. 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. 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 [McCain] and Governor Palin have this upside down."

This is Biden's fourth trip to Missouri, though the stop would be the only one before he heads back to Pennsylvania for the first time in nearly three weeks. Biden said he and Obama are closing on a positive note, pointing to last night's prime-time infomercial as proof.

"You saw Barack last night in that half hour message, never once mentioned John McCain's name. Never once mentioned our opponent," he said. "We've been talking about what we are going to do, what we think has to be done. And when this is over, even those people who viciously attacked Barack, even those people who have been less than honest about us, we gotta reach out. … We gotta start healing the country."