In Louisville, Biden claims stimulus bill successful in creating jobs

06/28/2010 03:13 PM

(UPDATED WITH VIDEO) LOUISVILLE — While seeking to make a case for success of the federal stimulus bill, Vice President Joe Biden on Monday answered Republican critics in Kentucky who have questioned whether the $787 billion legislation was worth it.

“I love those guys who say the 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 during a speech at Louisville’s GE Appliances and Lighting facility. “We’re using the government to spur private investment.”

Many Kentucky Republicans — including U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul and Todd Lally, who is challenging U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville — have hammered the Democrats and President Barack Obama’s administration for approving spending bills that they argue haven’t helped the private sector and have unnecessarily increased the debt.

Biden’s visit was aimed at promoting GE’s creation of more than 800 jobs that will come to the GE’s Louisville operations in the next three years, including 400 jobs that will be in-sourced from China.

“I don’t see where we can’t be the manufacturing leader,” Biden said. “I don’t see that written anywhere. Americans will not be No. 2 under any circumstance.”

GE Appliances and Lighting President and CEO Jim Campbell told a crowd of nearly 200 GE employees and some Louisville leaders that the federal stimulus bill helped the company make such an “unprecedented” investment in its facility and jobs.

The event wasn’t without its awkward moments. The vice president, who is notorious for speaking gaffes, had another one to start his speech when he gave credit to “Jim” Yarmuth for his vote on the stimulus bill.

The end of Biden’s speech was marred too when Campbell, the GE president and CEO, passed out and fell off his stool on stage in the sweltering heat. He got up and walked off on his own.

To back up his defense of the stimulus bill, Biden referenced different times in U.S. history where the government gave out large sums of more to promote growth, including when the Union Pacific railroad was built.

He also praised GE for its work:

Other Kentucky Democrats such as Yarmuth, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and Gov. Steve Beshear echoed Biden’s points celebrating the jobs created for the city and state with money from the stimulus bill, formally named the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“This is a case of government solving our problems,” Yarmuth told the crowd.

After the GE event, Yarmuth and Biden traveled across the river for a fund-raiser for Indiana 9th District Congressman Baron Hill at Kye’s in Jeffersonville, Ind. Across the street from the fund-raiser, Yarmuth’s and Hill’s challengers in the fall held a counter-rally blasting the congressmen and the vice president.

Todd Lally, Yarmuth’s opponent, continued to blast the congressman for not doing more to generate jobs in Louisville Humana, despite the announcement of GE adding 800 jobs that morning.

Here’s that video:

— Kenny Colston with video produced by Kevin Scanlan

CHECK BACK for video from the events.

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