Biden lauds Dubuque as example of economic turnaround - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Biden lauds Dubuque as example of economic turnaround

Biden spoke to more than 500 people at Dubuque Grand River Center Wednesday Biden spoke to more than 500 people at Dubuque Grand River Center Wednesday

On the campaign trail Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden held up Dubuque to the rest of the country as an example of successful economic turnaround.

More than 500 people poured into the Grand River Center at the Port of Dubuque Wednesday morning to see the vice president speak.

State senator Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) was one of the people who introduced Biden.

"Under the leadership of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, we're moving forward again," she told the crowd.

She and other supporters took the opportunity to enlist the help of the Democrats, packed densely in the room, encouraging them to get involved and sign up to help canvas.

Folks in attendance also got to view the 17-minute documentary about President Obama, "The Road We Traveled."

Upon taking the podium, Biden gave a warm greeting to the key city.

"It's good to be back in Dubuque, it feels like home," he said, to applause.

For Dubuquers in the room, Biden showed an intimate knowledge of the city, after many campaigning visits there over the years.

"I remember those t-shirts that said, 'Last one out of Dubuque, turn out the lights.' You have lit up the world, man," Biden said, gesturing to the River Walk and Mighty Mississippi that served as his backdrop through the window of the Grand River Center.

He referenced the city's dire economic straits in the 80s and how, through tourism and job creation, among other things, the economy turned around.

"You've not only turned the lights on, but this is the masterpiece on the Mississippi," Biden told the crowd.

The Vice President said the manufacturing industry, both in Dubuque and nationwide, has bounced back.

There are now more open manufacturing jobs -- 600,000 of them, he said -- than there are people to fill those spots. Biden praised community colleges for creating programs to train skilled workers for the jobs.

"Train your students, give them a certificate and we'll...take them right through community college and hire them," Biden said. "I can take you all over America, in this state as well: it's working."

Shawn McCoy, Iowa communications director for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, attended Biden's speech to hear the vice president's words.

"The Vice President today said that he's strengthening the middle class, but what we've seen is wages dropping, the middle class shrinking and the median income has dropped by over $4,000 since President Obama took office," McCoy said. "That's not strengthening the middle class."

Democrats argue President Obama inherited an unstable economy from the Bush Administration. Biden cited continued need for economic stimulation.

"We have to invest in education, innovation, research and development, new energy outlets, develop new markets for products we make and be able to sell them abroad," Biden said. "We believe that's the way to deal with this god-awful recession we inherited."

"President Obama took ownership of this economy," McCoy said in response. "He said that this was his economy. He promised to keep unemployment below 8 percent. Now unemployment has been over 8 percent for 40 straight months."

Biden's message was one filled with praise for the American worker.

"The Boston Consulting Group did this study: American workers are three times as productive as Chinese workers," he said, discrediting the practice of outsourcing jobs to other nations.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I really believe this election is going to be the starkest choice in our lifetime," Biden said.

The Vice President hammered home the need to fortify the middle class.

"Everybody does fine when the middle class is doing well. Everybody," he said, to cheers.

Romney supporters protested outside Biden's event at the Grand River Center.

The Vice President headed from the key city toward the Quad Cities for the last leg of his Iowa trip.

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