Biden, Clinton fill in for Obama

Oct. 29, 2012 at 7:43 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Joe Biden and Bill Clinton stood in for President Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio and Florida Monday as Hurricane Sandy kept Obama occupied.

"Folks, I know you were expecting the real president, the present president," ABC News quoted Biden telling a crowd of about 4,800 supporters in Youngstown. "... I just want you to know he asked me to express his regrets for not being able to be here, but you know, he's doing the job a president should be doing."

Biden also praised the first responders from across the country who have headed to the region being hit by Sandy.

" They're coming from all over," Biden said. There's folks from Ohio heading east. There's a whole lot of folks all over the country. And it's further evidence, further evidence that when America stands together we're all better off."

Clinton said he told Obama his decision to return to the nation's capital to oversee the storm response was "the right call."

Clinton criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for a campaign ad suggesting Obama allowed Jeep operations to move to China, saying that was "the biggest load of bull." The former president said Obama told him the ad "probably hurts my feelings the most" of anything that's come up during the campaign.

Clinton said Chrysler "put out a statement today saying it was the biggest load of bull in the world that they would ever consider shutting down their American operations. They are roaring in America, thanks to people like the people of Ohio."

Biden said "Romney will say anything, absolutely anything, to win."

"But he can't run from the truth," Biden said. "He said in that article entitled, that he wrote, 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.' Only the head of Bain Capital could think that liquidating an industry is the same thing as saving it. Because that's what he did at Bain Capital."

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement Americans will see the Democrats' "desperate arguments for what they are."

"It appears the Obama campaign is less concerned with engaging in a meaningful conversation about President Obama's failed policies and more concerned with arguing against facts about their record they dislike," Williams said.

The Democratic incumbent also canceled a visit Tuesday to Green Bay, Wis., so he can monitor the impact and response to Hurricane Sandy, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

"The president's priority right now is the safety and security of Americans who are in the path of the storm and who will be affected by it. It's essential in his view that he be in Washington, one of the areas that will be affected, and where his team is to oversee that effort," Carney said during a news briefing aboard Air Force One.

Carney said it was too soon to address how the storm may impact Election Day, now eight days away. Several states canceled early voting because of Sandy.

Biden canceled two later events in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania through Thursday to "ensure that all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm."

Romney canceled campaign events in Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa Monday, and Romney and running mate Paul Ryan also canceled all of their events Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy, the campaign announced Monday.

Romney believes "this is the time" for the nation and its leaders to focus on those Americans "who are in harm's way," Talking Points Memo reported.

"Out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we are canceling tonight's events with Gov. Romney in Wisconsin and Congressman Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Fla.," campaign communication chief Gail Gitcho said in a statement. "We are also canceling all events currently schedule for both Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan on Tuesday."

Flying solo in Orlando, Clinton urged 7,600 people at the University of Central Florida Monday to re-elect Obama based on his record concerning education, energy, environmental, healthcare and economic issues, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Clinton described the president's plans for higher education, including student loan reform that would link payments to income, while saving $60 billion on costs and then used that savings for Pell grants and research. Romney, he charged, wants to repeal the student loan bill Obama pushed through Congress during the summer.

"On this issue alone, every person within the sound of my voice should vote for Barack Obama for president of the United States," Clinton said.

The Romney campaign's Jeep ad said he would do more to help the auto industry, the Detroit Free Press reported. In the ad, the Romney campaign said Jeep, which is a brand of Chrysler, which is owned in part by by Italian automaker Fiat, would manufacture its vehicles in China.

Late last week, Romney told a rally in Defiance, Ohio, that he'd seen an article that Jeep -- which has a facility in Toledo -- was moving its production to China. Not only was the story wrong, Romney caught heat for repeating it without it being vetted.

The article subsequently clarified that the production move would be an expansion or return of jobs to China for Chrysler, not a transfer of North American jobs.

Meanwhile, Illinois supporters wanting to spend Election Night with Obama can earn a ticket by crossing the border to door-knock in Wisconsin, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We want to make sure we're using every opportunity, right up to the end," a campaign official said.

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