Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday told a crowd of supporters at West York High School middle class families could face a hefty tax increase if his opponent wins in November.
Calling Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and running-mate U.S. Rep Paul Ryan, "(President George W.) Bush on steroids," Biden said a vote for his opponent would lead to a "catastrophe for the middle class."
"Middle class families with children will see a tax increase of $2,000 a year" as earners making more than $1 million a year see a $250,000 tax cut, he said. "How can it be fair on middle class families?"
Biden rallied a crowd of 1,400 supporters who waited hours in balmy temperatures to hear a rebuttal of claims made during last week's GOP convention in Tampa.
Because his opponents' plan calls for massive cuts in federal health care and education spending, and would raise taxes on the middle class, he challenged the GOP ticket's characterization that their ideas are "new, bold and gutsy."
"Where I come from ... there's nothing gutsy about giving another trillion in tax cuts to millionaires," Biden said. "It's nothing new, it's not fair, it's not right."
His words were said in front of a cheering, capacity crowd that often chanted "Four more years" as they waved campaign signs reading "Forward."
But the country could slip backward if the Republican challengers win, Biden said.
"Folks, we've seen this movie before and we know how it ends," he said.
It ends with lost jobs, stagnant wages, equity evaporating and retirement accounts drained, he said.
"Governor Romney says he wants to restore dreams and greatness. But the very economic policies the governor supported are the policies that put America in jeopardy in the first place," Biden said.
Biden's stop in York this Labor Day weekend is part of a campaign tour leading up to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held Tuesday through Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.
He did some fact-checking of statements made during the Republican convention, challenging Ryan's claim that President Barack Obama is responsible for the closing of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wis. Biden said the plant didn't close on the current administration's watch.
The crowd booed at Ryan's words, which have attracted negative criticism from nonpartisan fact-checking organizations.
"I don't need you booing. I need you voting," Biden said.
He said the closing of the plant did happen and was devasting to the Wisconsin town, "but that plant closed while President Bush was still president of the United States," he said.
Biden also defended Obama's bailout of the auto industry.
"But for (Obama), all those GM plants would've been closed, and one million Americans would've lost their jobs," he said. The country's automakers "would not have been reorganized, they would've been liquidated," he said.
Now is not the time to turn back, Biden said. He and his boss want to rebuild the country stronger than it was before, more vibrant than before, he said.
"We know, given half a chance, the American people have never let the country down. Barack (Obama) and I believe in you," he said. And history has shown, "it's never been a good bet to bet against the American people," he said.
Local support: He asked the crowd to help the Obama administration finish what it started, and Fran Moubray said she intends to.
The York resident said Obama and Biden will get her vote because the American people are still hurting, and the Democrats are the best candidates to help them, she said.
Her husband, Dave Moubray, said Obama has already helped the country get through some tough times.
"The president inherited a lot of pot holes on his road to the White House, and he's been filling them one at a time," he said. "I'm eager to let them finish the job they started."
Susan Combs, a Manchester resident, said she's a supporter because she knows a vote for Romney-Ryan would "go back to tax cuts for the rich. And the country can't afford it, so the middle class would end up paying more taxes."
Personal stories:She has also experienced the benefits of having Obama in office, she said.
Combs is the mother of a 23-year-old son with a chronic illness. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, he can get the medical coverage he needs, she said.
"This is very personal to us," she said.
It's also personal to Doug Leach, a West York resident.
"In all these conventions and meetings, they want to know is your life better now than four years ago. Mine is," he said.
Leach, a painter, said he struggled to find work during the economic downturn.
"People weren't worried about making their houses look better when Bush was in office. They were worried about losing their house," he said.
Obama has made progress, he said.
"It's not perfect, but it's better. People are working again, so he's doing something right. We need to let him finish the job," Leach said.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.