WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Appearing in swing state North Carolina, Vice President Joe Biden blasted congressional Republicans Wednesday for obstructing the president's attempts to jump-start job creation, promising the administration will use all constitutional tactics to bypass the gridlock.
"We will use every power that is legally under our constitutional capacity to act when the Congress will not," Biden told a supportive crowd of about 600 at Wake Forest BioTech Place in Winston-Salem. "But understand our Republican friends in Congress are just as determined to not act."
Carolyn Kaster / AP
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable with college presidents and education system leaders June 5 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.
Saying that job gains so far still are "not enough," the vice president urged cooperation and continued "fighting" to correct the country's financial troubles.
"Not enough, not enough, not enough," he said of the nation's economic progress since the 2008 downturn. "And it's up and it's down, but it's been constantly forward. But not enough. We have to do more, we have to keep fighting through this period of transition and this godawful recession we inherited.
Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mitt Romney, said Biden's speech "will do nothing to lower the state’s 9.4 percent unemployment rate, encourage small business growth, or help companies add to their payrolls."
Biden skewered congressional Republicans for obstructing what he called "bipartisan" and reasonable measures to spur jobs, naming items on the president's congressional "to-do list" such as the creation of a veterans job corps, mortgage refinancing assistance for some homeowners, and incentives to keep companies from going abroad.
On last year's Capitol Hill fight over payroll tax cuts, Biden invoked his upbringing and "neighborhood" to suggest that most Republicans don't relate to the impact the thousand dollar cash infusion would have had on average American families.
"A lot of these guys don't know that a thousand dollars makes a difference," said the Pennsylvania native. "It makes the difference between whether or not you pay your automobile insurance that year. It makes a difference what you're going to eat and how often you have meat on the menu. A thousand bucks makes a difference in my neighborhood."
Even worse than GOP obstruction, he said, would be the other party's vision for the country as laid out by Rep. Paul Ryan, whom Biden called "a bright, handsome guy" whose budget would have "a devastating impact on America."
"He is a fine guy but I think his ideas are not nearly as fine as he is a man," he said
The vice president's appearance in swing state North Carolina marked a visit to one of the most heavily trafficked political battlegrounds in the state. NBC's most recent analysis found the Greensboro-High Point area is the seventh most saturated media market in the country for political ads.
The venue for his remarks was a 242,000 square foot research center which houses several companies — with its largest tenant being Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center — and employs approximately 450 people.
The Winston-Salem area has suffered major job losses as a result of the declining manufacturing and textile industries in the region. But Biden pointed to the area's new focus on biotechnology and other types of innovation as an example of how Americans are re-imagining manufacturing in the modern era.
"What I can tell you about America is this: there is a deep deep strength in this country," he said. "No matter how tough things get, there is no quit in this country."