BELOIT -- Vice President Joe Biden today slammed the Republican presidential ticket as "truly desperate" in the final days of the 2012 campaign, saying next week's election is a matter of character.
"Character's the most important ingredient a president must have to lead a great nation," Biden told supporters in the gymnasium of Aldrich Middle School. "And it's clear who has character, and it's clear who doesn't have character."
The vice president made the remarks after slamming the Romney campaign over an ad charging that Jeep would shift production to China, saying he can't remember a more "outrageous" slate of ads in his career.
Biden also said he couldn't remember a time at the end of an election when "two major American corporations (Chrysler and GM) have publicly criticized a Republican nominee."
He accused Mitt Romney and VP candidate Paul Ryan of "running away from central premise of this new Republican Party" -- namely an across-the-board tax cut plan and Ryan's House GOP budget proposals.
"These guys are trying to kind of run away from their shadow," Biden said.
Biden's first mention of Ryan -- whose congressional district narrowly misses this city on the Illinois border -- drew boos from the crowd as he talked about their vice presidential debate and foreign policy.
"I like him, I just fundamentally disagree with him," Biden told the crowd, joking that in the presidential foreign policy debate, "I wasn't sure whether or not Romney was about to endorse Barack (Obama) or debate him."
Biden also slammed the GOP ticket on women's issues, charging that they "just can't seem to drag themselves into 21st century." He said his one regret of the campaign is the lack of focus on the president's role in nominating Supreme Court justices, asking the audience to "imagine where the 40 years of progress we've made for women in America" would go under a Romney administration.
Biden touted new monthly jobs numbers near the beginning of his speech -- and the Obama administration's economic record overall -- saying, "companies hired more workers in October that at any time last eight months."
The vice president started off his speech by mentioning the cooperative efforts made by federal officials and state governors in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's destruction on the East Coast, saying that "when this election's over, we need to get back to that."
"When I started in public life, this is how it worked," Biden said.
Biden spoke to an estimated 1,137 people, according to Beloit Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Murray; he's headed to Superior for another Wisconsin rally later today.