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Biden says Romney will lead U.S. into the past

Published July 11, 2012 9:12 am

He says Romney has "social policy out of the '50s" and "foreign policy out of the Cold War."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Park City • Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that a Mitt Romney presidency would be a throwback to a bygone era, and the coming election posed a stark contrast for voters between two very different campaigns.

"These guys have a social policy out of the '50s," Biden said, warning that a Romney administration would appoint more justices to the Supreme Court in line with Justice Antonin Scalia and other conservatives.

"Close your eyes, I'm not being facetious, and imagine what a Supreme Court would look like after four years [of Romney]," he said. "Imagine what it will look like for women with six Scalias on the bench."

Biden asked the audience members what they thought that would mean for social policy, and if they thought that Roe v. Wade, the landmark case legalizing abortion, would survive.

The vice president spoke for about 40 minutes to a crowd of about 300 people gathered under an open-air canopy outside the Park City home of John and Kristi Cumming before taking questions after the press was escorted out.

About two dozen protesters lined the route to the fundraiser, holding signs that read, "Four More Months" and "8.2% Unemployment, That's a recovery?"

"This isn't Obama-Biden territory. This is Romney territory," said Ciera Smallwood, a University of Utah student from Alamo, Nev. "Utahns believe in conservative values that the Obama administration has shown over the past three years they don't believe in: smaller government, self-reliance, working hard to get what you want, not relying on the government."

Biden, wearing a blue blazer, blue shirt and gray pants, recounted how he had spent many winters in Park City, starting with a family trip he took with his sons in 1975, after his first wife and daughter were killed when a tractor-trailer slammed into their car.

He said they made the trip an annual tradition.

Biden said that Romney is an honorable and decent man, but the two campaigns "have a fundamentally different vision for this country. It's as basic a choice as voters have had in a lifetime."

He said that Romney has "basically given up on the public school system" and believes that government shouldn't invest in alternative energy and should, instead, drill for more oil and gas.

Biden said that one of his proudest moments was when he was able to go to Iraq and end the U.S. military operations there.

"Mitt Romney thinks that is a tragic mistake," Biden said, adding that Romney believes America should keep 20,000 troops in Iraq. "Mitt Romney says we should stay there, period."

"They have a foreign policy out of the Cold War," Biden said, referring to a statement by Romney that Russia is the greatest global threat to the United States.

Biden said the Obama administration has seen 28 straight months of job growth. "We're in a trough now, but it's still growing," he said. But he said he doesn't think that Romney and his supporters understand the economic hardships that average Americans face.

He is scheduled to stay overnight in Utah and meet Wednesday morning with senior advisers before flying to Houston to speak at the NAACP annual convention.

Admission to the fundraiser started at $100 for young professionals, premium seating for $1,000, photos for $5,000 per person or $8,000 per couple. Donors could give $25,000 or raise $50,000 for the Obama campaign to be co-hosts of the event.

The contributions to the Obama Victory Fund 2012 will be split between the Obama for America campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic parties in 10 key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright said that, while it's an honor to have the vice president in town, "Utahns in general don't believe in the policies of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden."

"It's just unfortunate that they have brought the campaign into a realm of class warfare and divided our country," he said. "They're spreading a message right now that the only way people who are struggling can succeed is with the help of government. … I'm sure there's a few people in Utah who support him and want to give him money or get a picture with him, but Utahns in general just don't support that kind of policy."

But Wayne Holland, a former Utah Democratic Party chairman and regional coordinator for the Obama campaign, said that Obama is the candidate who will stand up for middle-class Americans.

"Since Roosevelt and the New Deal, we have seen in this country the middle class has grown and been the backbone of the nation because of good policies," Holland said. "There's a clear choice between where Governor Romney wants to take us, which is back to the Bush days, compared to President Obama, who has led us out of the Great Recession."

He said the visit also gives Democrats in Utah a chance to show support for the campaign and energizes candidates like gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke and U.S. Senate candidate Scott Howell, who attended the event.

Gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke