Biden's sharp words mark a new phase in campaign

Vice President Joe Biden reacts to a fan prior to speaking Thursday at a union hall in Toledo, Ohio. As the No. 2 on the ticket, he’s leveling biting attacks on Republican candidates and even calling them by name.

Associated Press

Vice President Joe Biden reacts to a fan prior to speaking Thursday at a union hall in Toledo, Ohio. As the No. 2 on the ticket, he’s leveling biting attacks on Republican candidates and even calling them by name.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Make no mistake, the presidential campaign is well under way for the Democrats as well as the Republicans. Vice President Joe Biden called out Mitt Romney and other GOP rivals as being "dead wrong" about the auto bailout, a feisty ramping-up by President Barack Obama's top political surrogate as the Republicans battle each other through the primaries.

Biden's sharply worded attack marked a new offensive by Obama's re-election team as it seeks to set the terms for the general election while Romney and his GOP rivals are still mired in their party's nominating process.

In keeping with tradition, Biden, as No. 2 on the ticket, will be the campaign enforcer, leveling targeted attacks on Republicans. And his speech before a boisterous, 500-person crowd at a United Auto Workers hall in politically crucial Ohio suggested it's a role he plans to fully embrace.

"If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class," Biden said of the Republican field.

"Gingrich and Romney and Santorum, they don't let the facts get in the way," he added. It was notable that Biden criticized the Republicans by name.

The vice president's speech was the first of four events the Obama campaign has planned for Biden in the coming weeks. His task, campaign officials said, is to define the core issues of the campaign and draw a clear contrast between the president and the Republican contenders.

Documentary out on Obama's first term: Helped by Hollywood, President Barack Obama's campaign is releasing a 17-minute documentary that portrays the president as a resolute figure who confronted a massive economic downturn and the aftermath of the nation's war on terrorism with determination and a series of tough decisions.

The documentary, commissioned by the Obama campaign, provides a window into how his team is trying to sell the president's re-election bid.

Actor Tom Hanks is the narrator of The Road We've Traveled, released Thursday at 300 screenings across the nation. It was directed by Davis Guggenheim, whose credits include the Academy Award-winning An Inconvenient Truth, about Al Gore's global-warming campaign.

Biden's sharp words mark a new phase in campaign 03/15/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 15, 2012 11:50pm]

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