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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Biden Tells Crowd, \'We Need Ohio\' to Win

LAKEWOOD, Ohio â€" On the last day he was to campaign in the state that might decide the election, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called for a return to an earlier bipartisan era â€" but warned that Mitt Romney was not the way to get there â€" and exhorted more than a thousand supporters at a high school gymnasium near Cleveland to turn out to vote on Tuesday because, “We need Ohio, we need you, we win Ohio, we win this election.”

Mr. Biden was expected to travel to Ohio events later on Sunday in Fremont, southeast of Toledo, and Lancaster, near Columbus, before flying to Washington so he can spend a final day campaigning in Virginia on Monday and then vote in his home state of Delaware on Tuesday.

But the race may ride on turnout in Ohio, where Mr. Biden told supporters Sunday that the Romney-Ryan ticket was stuck in the 1950s or 1960s on women's issues. “As hard as they try, they can't bring themselves to climb into the 21st century,” he said.

And in a play on one of the main arguments of the Republican campaign â€" that the Obama administration favors a big-brother, over-spending approach to government â€" Mr. Biden argued that something like the opposite was actually true: A Romney administration, he suggested, would usher in a plutocracy run by moneyed elites dictating what they think is best for middle America.

“I think they do not have confidence in the average American,” Mr. Biden said of the G.O.P. nominees. “They somehow think that everything has to be run from the top down, the people with the most power, the people with the most money. Not because they think they are bad, but they think that's what has to be done in order to be able to run this country.”

The vice president hit on many of the themes that have dominated his campaign's stump speeches in the closing weeks, such as what he characterizes as Mr. Romney's “shameless” fiscal and budget poli cies propagated in the service of tax cuts for the wealthy, as well as criticism of Mr. Romney's secretly recorded statement that there are “47 percent” of Americans who “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them.”

He also lauded President Obama's support of the $80 billion auto bailout, which is popular in Ohio. (Mr. Biden slipped up describing a Romney campaign ad about the auto bailout, mistakenly saying the commercial had attacked “President Clinton.”)

Mr. Biden also suggested he yearned for a time when Republicans and Democrats worked more easily in Washington, citing Republican leaders including former secretary of state Colin Powell, outgoing senators Dick Lugar of Indiana and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and former senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Bob Dole of Kansas.

“It used to work,” Mr. Biden said. “When this electio n is over, we've got to get back to doing it again.”

But he suggested the Romney-Ryan ticket was not the way to return to bipartisanship, saying they appeared committed to turning everything they could to their own political advantage. “I've never met two guys who are more negative about the country,” he said.