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Biden touts stimulus in speech at GE plant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden took a swipe at
government critics during a speech in an appliance factory Monday,
crediting the massive federal stimulus program with helping jump
start the economy through tax credits aimed at spurring private
investment and job creation.
Without dropping any names, Biden appeared to target Kentucky
Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul and other candidates
critical of government intervention in the economy.
Biden spoke to factory workers at a sprawling GE facility where
the company is making a $600 million investment to expand
production with three new energy-efficient product lines. That
investment is backed by $24.8 million in tax credits the company
received as part of the economy recovery act to retrofit and retool
the facility.
"So those who talk about this is big government, this is big
government giving a little bit of help to jump start America to
lead the world in the 21st century," Biden said.
Biden said tax credits being doled out as part of the stimulus
program will produce nearly $5.5 billion in private-sector
investments that will spur job creation.
GE plans to add some 830 jobs at its sprawling Appliance Park
campus in Louisville through 2013, thanks to the new products.
Production of new hybrid electric water heaters is to begin in
2011, followed by a new line of washing machines in 2012 and
matching driers the following year.
The work force stands at about 4,100 at Appliance Park, down
from a peak of nearly 23,000 in the 1970s.
Biden criticized political candidates who he said think the
government should "sit on the sidelines" as the nation's economy
tries to rebound from its worst downturn since the Great
Depression.
"I love those guys who say that 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.
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton took his own swipe at the
vast economic stimulus package, which has a long-term cost of $862
billion.
"Government is not very good at creating jobs," he said in a
statement Monday. "President Obama's stimulus package cost
$413,000 per job created and those jobs largely went to political
cronies.
"Private businesses create useful jobs because the consumer
votes every day to reward the businesses that are able to
distribute what the public desires in a timely and inexpensive
manner."
Biden said the economy has started a turnaround, noting the U.S.
added 495,000 private-sector jobs in the first five months of this
year. He said the country was "hemorrhaging jobs" when he and
Obama took office in early 2009.
Biden praised the local congressman, Democrat John Yarmuth, for
supporting the stimulus program. But Biden misidentified the
Louisville Democrat, who was on stage with him, referring to
Yarmuth as "Jim."
Near the end of his speech, Biden was interrupted when the
president and CEO of GE's appliances and lighting division, Jim
Campbell, collapsed off a stool on stage in the plant where GE
dishwashers are made.
Paramedics and a doctor rushed on stage, but Campbell walked
away under his power in the stuffy plant.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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