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Biden defends stimulus in hot GE production plant

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday during his visit to the General Electric Co., plant in Louisville. Ed Reinke | AP

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday during his visit to the General Electric Co., plant in Louisville. Ed Reinke | AP

UPDATED at 7:15 P.M.

By Jack Brammer and Bill Estep – jbrammer@herald-leader.com

LOUISVILLE — Vice President Joe Biden rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt and told dozens of GE Appliances and Lighting employees Monday that the federal government’s stimulus package has been good for their company and country.

The Democratic vice president took a shot at critics of the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul has used as a favored example of excessive government spending.

Backed by Democrats in Congress, the stimulus package includes tax cuts, expansion of unemployment benefits and other social welfare provisions.

“I love these guys who say government should stay out when we’re in deep crisis, like some of the people you’re hearing from in this state and other places,” Biden said to cheers from GE employees.

GE is making a $600 million investment to expand manufacturing at the nearly 60-year-old Appliance Park in Louisville. It is being supported by $24.8 million in tax credits that were part of the Obama administration’s stimulus plan. The investment is expected to create about 830 jobs.

“Some say we cannot afford to make investments,” Biden said. “I say we cannot afford not to.”

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway did not attend Biden’s speech, but his campaign issued a statement later Monday in support of the stimulus plan.

“Jack is on record saying he would have supported the stimulus because our economy was in trouble and people were hurting,” said spokeswoman Allison Haley.

Conway’s campaign said he was making visits in Washington with former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, D-Owensboro. Conway’s wife, Elizabeth Conway, attended the speech.

Calls to Paul’s campaign for comment Monday were not returned. But the Republican National Committee, through spokesman Ryan Tronovitch, said Biden’s “sarcastic comments about the government’s involvement in the economic recovery are totally disconnected from reality and falsely imply that the Obama Administration’s big-spending policies are doing anything but pushing massive debt onto the next generation.”

Tronovitch said Kentucky has lost thousands of jobs since the passage of the stimulus package and has an unemployment rate that’s one of the worst in the nation.

“Regardless of what Vice President Biden considers progress, the fact is, Kentucky’s economy is far worse-off than before the failed $862 billion stimulus,” he said.

For its part, the Democratic National Committee suggested that Republicans have been disingenuous about the stimulus package. More than 114 lawmakers who voted to kill the Recovery Act — over half the GOP members in Congress — later either took credit for stimulus-funded projects or called them a success, the DNC said.

A May poll conducted for the Herald-Leader found that 62 percent of likely Kentucky voters felt the stimulus program had either hurt the economy or had no effect.

However, there was a sharp split among Republican and Democratic voters. Among Republicans, only 8 percent said the stimulus spending had helped boost the economy or prevented it from getting worse. Among Democrats, 50 percent said the spending helped the economy or prevented it from sliding further into recession, the poll found.

Many voters have focused far more ire on corporate bailouts and the federal health care reform law this year than on the stimulus program, but it remains an example of excessive government spending, said James H. Weise, GOP chairman of the 2nd Congressional District in Western Kentucky.

“What I hear is that people don’t like the whole idea of putting us so far in debt,” he said, adding that he has not seen any benefit from the stimulus package.

In May 2009, Kentucky Youth Advocates, a non-profit child advocacy group, estimated the stimulus package would bring roughly $7 billion in direct aid and tax cuts to Kentuckians.

The organization said one of the biggest chunks of that spending was more than $900 million for Medicaid — a program from which Paul receives payments in his practice as an eye surgeon.

Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer said people may see the stimulus in a different light than bailouts because they can see stimulus money at work close to home, which could affect how the issue plays out in the senate race.

“If they can see themselves what the money’s going to, it makes a big difference,” said Greer, a Republican. “People can see where it’s helping them.”

In Barren County, for instance, stimulus money helped the county finance construction of a new jail and is being used to build a new interchange on the Louie B. Nunn/Cumberland Parkway near Glasgow.

Biden made at least one mistake in his speech when he incorrectly called U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, “Jim.”

As he was winding up his 25-minute speech, Biden was interrupted when Jim Campbell, president and CEO of the GE plant in Louisville, fell off his stool and the 3-foot stage.

As several people gasped, Biden asked for a doctor. Paramedics and a doctor attended to Campbell, who walked away on his own in the plant that was quite warm.

Biden left Louisville to attend a southern Indiana fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Barron Hill.

Filed Under: Democratic PartyElectionsFederal GovernmentUS Senate Race

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Comments

  1. scoopsky says:

    whooo – hooo! I love spending! Go get ‘em Joe!

  2. Mdbran says:

    The crap Joe was spewing was so painfully stupid that it knocked the GE president unconscious!

  3. FormerDemocrat says:

    Jim, John, Jack whatever.. just follow my lead or else will cut your funding!

  4. Ken says:

    I’m sorry the CEO fell off his stool, but can you imagine having to listen to Joe Biden drone on and on in a hot building? The crap level must have become very noxious. Poor fellow…hope he recovers quickly.

  5. Sue G says:

    Hey Joe, here’s a tip for you: Baron Hill is an arrogant, obnoxious, rectum. Of course, that’s the kind of guy you would want to help. Like minds and all that…

  6. JHB4UK says:

    Joe Biden, a laugh a minute! All of his appearances should have the music “Yakety Sax” playing along with it. Congrats Democrats, your VP in one 20 minute appearance:
    1)Called Pelosi Pool Boy John Yarmuth “Jim”
    2)Caused a CEO to drop unconcious
    3)Was stood up by Jack “Tough SOB” Conway

    Can we please have VP Biden make another half dozen or so trips back to Kentucky before the November elections?

  7. SMcChystal says:

    Itemebay

  8. scoopsky says:

    “All of his appearances should have the music “Yakety Sax” playing along with it.”

    I Love it! I think you hit the nail on the head. I call him “Blustery Joe Biden” and that is the perfect accompaniment.

  9. wonderbread says:

    Biden may talk too much, but he’s not directly cause the death of what 4-5 thousand US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, gutted the regulation of oil companies … leading to the gulf spill, enriched himself and his buddies and kill more US servicemen via Haliburton, and spawned a daughter that attacks US attorneys with baseless charges.

    So yack all you want about joe, he’s light years better than Darth Cheney.

  10. wonderbread says:

    Maybe the fata*ss manager got a little taste of the way he treats his workers. Lets see how he does tomorrow after they turn off the airconditioner in his digs.

  11. wonderbread says:

    You morons complain about Biden pushing

    25,000,000

    to get some jobs in Louisville

    but you didn’t fuss a bit when Cheney spent, what

    2,500,000,000,000

    in Iraq and Afganistan, on what, nothing of value (other than enriching his friends).

    You guys are beyond belief.

  12. jon says:

    Biden is as full of s**t as a Christmas turkey.

  13. Buck Feshear says:

    Wonderbread,

    Glad to see you support(ed) Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. We need more Americans like you to support murderous dictators and heartless terrorists.

  14. yardless says:

    Bin Laden is laughing in his cave at all the help Bush and Cheney gave him. Their response to 9/11 played right into his hands.

    And you know all the Hussein stuff is just hogwash .. lies lies lies.

    So no, I don\’t think wonderbread supports terrorists, but Bush and Cheney did. They both belong in the brig, and should be next up for the torture they both liked so much.

    Buck, if anything you are consistent, consistently a fool.

    You and jon can go eat s**t in your turkeys. We have cornbread ourselves.

  15. wonderbread says:

    buck – you’ve completely fallen for Bush and Cheney’s lies hook line and sinker. If a terrorist is someone that brings harm to the United States and harms innocent civilians, then Bush and Cheney are your guys.

    Hussein was never any threat to anything other than our oil interests and his own people. That is no reason to go take over his country. Again, just lies lies lies from Cheney so he could go play war, or enrich himself and his friends.

    Fellow, you are living a lie. Give it up before you stand before your maker and try to weasel your way out of your fate. He’s going to take one look at Bush / Cheney supporters and apologists and send them to the down elevator along with the Bushes, Cheney’s, Rumsfields, and all their poisonous ilk. Save yourself man. They aren’t worth it.

  16. GermantownDem says:

    Wonderbread, you make no sense, but given your attempts that seems par for the course. But I do like Wonderbread, definitely beats rye, especially that nasty dark rye.

  17. wonderbread says:

    All you bush and cheney apologists – how can you sleep at night with the blood of 100s of thousands on your hands?

    Do you have no souls? Did you not listen to Jesus. Do you not see that they stand at the side of Satan?

    Do you really think those two made the world a better place? I hope you wake up before you meet your maker and atone for your sins.

    And Germantown – you are just a bigot. Thats pretty clear from your posts.

    I haven’t figure out Buck though, there is something darker (or stupider) that drives him.

  18. snappy says:

    wonderbread – read up on your govt. The VP does not fund war efforts. Congress does that. Whatever cheney is/was, the blood is on the hands of repubs and dems in congree. Only a handful do not vote for funding and refunding.

    lies about saddam – maybe, but it was the same lies that clinton, kery, and many others were saying during the mid-to-late 90’s.

    this whole bs is not all one sided.