Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive. That was Vice President Biden's message for Republican Mitt Romney in a campaign speech Thursday that blended a robust defense of President Obama's foreign policy record with a harsh attack on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's positions.
Appearing before 500 students at New York University Law School, Biden said Romney approaches foreign policy with a Cold War mentality and is uninformed about the challenges facing the United States abroad. He said Romney lacked vision and had "distorted" Obama's record in a way that has been counterproductive to U.S. interests.
"If you're looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive," Biden said, arguing that Obama's decisions on both foreign and domestic policy had made the United States safer.
Biden cast the former Massachusetts governor as an inexperienced foreign policy thinker who would delegate decisions to staff and advisers. He also criticized Romney as having a reputation for flip-flopping on issues.
"We know that when the governor does venture a position, it's a safe bet that he previously took or is about to take an exactly opposite position," Biden said, noting that Romney had originally supported setting a time frame for pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan only to criticize Obama's plan to do so by the end of 2014.
Biden repeatedly used Romney's own words against him, such as when Romney downplayed the significance of capturing bin Laden and when Romney said Russia was the United States' gravest geopolitical foe.
"As my brother would say, 'Go figure,' " Biden said to laughs.
In response, Romney adviser John Lehman accused the president of a "gross abdication of leadership" that could have practical and political consequences.