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Thursday, September 13, 2012

 12:29 PM 

During Eau Claire visit, Biden criticizes GOP on education, Medicare

EAU CLAIRE -- Vice President Joe Biden told an audience of about 3,000 on the UW-Eau Claire campus Thursday that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan "gave flesh" to Mitt Romney's economic plans, which he said would cut access to higher education, slash Medicare and give tax breaks to millionaires.

"This is not your father's Republican Party," Biden said. "This isn't even Mitt Romney's father's Republican Party."

Biden focused on education at the start of his speech, telling the crowd that it is the "cornerstone" of the nation's economic prosperity. He contended that Ryan's addition to the ticket essentially showed that Romney wants to adopt the stances of House Republicans, which he said incuded cutting Pell Grants and allowing banks to control the student loan process once again.

He also criticized Ryan's attempts to reform Medicare, calling the plan "VoucherCare."

"I love when the congressman says, 'No one will suffer any damage,'" Biden said. "Well, they will."

Biden pledged to add more manufacturing jobs, build renewable energy infrastructure and "end the war in Afghanistan as we did in Iraq."

Biden bookended his speech with occasionally somber foreign policy topics. He began by paying respect to U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats who were killed in an attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Biden said the country's aid workers and diplomats should be recognized alongside the troops in Afghanistan as putting their lives on the line.

"The cause to which they are dedicated and gave their lives -- democracy, partnership, tolerance -- stands in absolute sharp contrast to the values held by those who callously took their lives, who I think have no real values," Biden said.

Biden was preceded by Sen. Kathleen Vineout, D-Alma, and 7th CD candidate Pat Kreitlow. Biden told those in attendance to vote for Kreitlow, though he mispronounced his name.

-- By Jason Smathers


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