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Biden rallies labor workers in Detroit

Biden Detroit.JPG
Kate Wells

Vice President Joe Biden took the spotlight at Detroit’s Labor Day parade. It's one more sign that the auto bailout is shaping up as a central theme of the Obama-Biden campaign.

Last week Republican nominee Mitt Romney asked Americans if they were better off today than four years ago. Now comes part of the Democrats’ response: you sure are if you’re an auto worker.

Against a backdrop of hard hats, fire fighters and the UAW, Biden said that bailout saved a million American jobs – not the Bain way, not in Mexico or China, he said: “But in Detroit, Toledo,Cleveland,  and the United States of America! That’s where we’re built!”

Biden is preaching to the choir here (literally: Detroit’s Labor Choir opened with the National Anthem). This is the kind of scene Democrats hope will win with the national audience: their guy on the side of labor and blue collars, while calling Republicans out of touch with the middle class.

With the recovery still slow, and job numbers mediocre, Detroit sends a clear and simple message that works for Democrats: hey, it’s still here.

“And because of you and your productivity, the combined auto companies have committed to invest another 23 billion dollars of expansion in America,” Biden told the crowd.

Everything about Biden’s stop could have been scripted in advance, from the cheering crowds of labor unions, to his attacks on Mitt Romney for refusing to release more tax returns.

Except for one snafu: a U-Haul truck with Secret Service equipment was stolen in Detroit last night. It's one sign that things might be better for this city, but they’re still far from perfect.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health and the COVID-19 pandemic.