Jobs are returning in the auto industry and other parts of the private sector, he said, and the economy is growing – “not enough, but it is growing.” He tried to shift the blame to the Bush administration and said Republicans would return to those policies if they take back Congress.
“These Republicans put us in such a god-awful hole and we’re just beginning to crawl out of it,” Biden told a crowd estimated at 1,000 that gathered in light sprinkles on the University of Washington Tacoma campus mall. “We have seen this movie before and it’s a horror movie.”
Even before Biden and Murray stepped on the stage in Tacoma, however, her Republican challenger Dino Rossi was pointing to Friday’s stagnant unemployment figures as a failure for the Obama administration and Democrats like Murray who supported their policies.
Democrats had touted a “recovery summer” just a few months ago, and claimed last year’s economic stimulus package would keep unemployment from going above 8 percent, Rossi said. It has been above 9.5 percent for 14 straight months.
“Instead of admitting she was wrong to support this $1.2 trillion jobless stimulus, Sen. Murray is holding a rally with Vice President Biden who has touted this bill as a rousing success,” he said. “We know that passing tax relief, paying down the national debt will get our economy back on track and encourage small business to expand.”
Not a rousing success, but good enough to stave off a depression, Biden argued. He and Murray agreed that Congress should pass tax relief for most Americans but differed with Rossi and other Republicans on one point, that those who make more than $250,000 a year should lose their tax cuts. That would bring down the deficit by nearly $1 trillion, they said.
Murray criticized Wall Street for “playing Russian roulette with the nation’s future”, and problems with the financial industry cost workers their jobs and families their savings. She supported Wall Street reforms that passed Congress this year; Rossi has promised to repeal them, along with health care reform.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said. “This is the Republican Tea Party. This is the party of repeal and repeat.”
The race between Rossi and Murray is considered close, and could be one of the contests that determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate for the next two years. Biden essentially acknowledged that with an appeal for the students in the crowd to get as excited for the 2010 election as they did in 2008, and not give up.
“People are saying your generation made a one-time appearance,” Biden said. “Reports of the death of the Democratic Party are exaggerated. People said there was no way the U-dub would beat USC, but you did on Saturday.”