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Biden Defends Obama Education Policy, Criticizes Romney in Speech to Michigan Teachers

August 9, 2012

The Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns are squaring off on education issues – especially in hotly contested Midwestern states where the race is thought to be close.  Reporter David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press covered events in Michigan last weekend.

Jesse covered Vice President Joe Biden’s speech to a convention of teachers in Detroit, which (as you might expect) defended the Obama Administration’s education policy, and criticized the positions of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

According to Jesse’s article:

"Don't tell me you value education and (then) don't invest in it," Biden said during his remarks at the American Federation of Teachers conference at Cobo Hall, as he launched into a litany of proposed spending on education he said the Republicans in Congress had voted down.
The reason the Republicans make all these cuts is so they can afford tax cuts on the richest Americans, Biden added.

"We believe you rebuild a country from the middle out. They think it has to come from the top down. When the middle class is doing well, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy do very, very well because you have money to spend.

"Unlike our Republican friends, we don't see you as the problem. We see you as the solution."

Jesse’s article went on to note that Republic Mitt Romney's campaign disputed the Vice President’s arguments.

"Instead of putting students first, this administration has put the union bosses that fund their political campaigns ahead of what's best for our children," said Sean Fitzpatrick, a Romney campaign spokesman, in a statement. "Instead of creating good jobs for graduates, this administration has presided over one of the worst jobs markets for young people. Mitt Romney has the plan and record to put students first and make sure that they have a job waiting for them when they graduate."

Jesse also observed that:

Biden's appearance was mostly a campaign rally – with chants of "four more years" erupting several times. Most of the several thousand teachers in attendance were wearing blue Obama/Biden T-shirts. Their seats inside Cobo Hall came with Obama/Biden campaign re-election signs.

The start of Biden's speech was briefly interrupted by a small crowd of 20-25 protesters who attempted to march through the convention floor holding anti-Obama signs. The crowd quickly drowned out the protesters with chants of "four more years," while police escorted the protesters peacefully from the hall.

But the vast majority of those in the hall wanted to hear from Biden.

Biden repeatedly stressed to the teachers that he doesn't think the Republicans and their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, truly understand teachers and the sacrifices they make to educate students.

He did not mention the Obama's administration's support for charter schools, evaluations with testing and merit pay. The AFT opposes each of those.

Biden spoke to the country's other major teacher union – the National Education Association – less than a month ago.

Source:  Detroit Free Press