Biden Courts Working-Class Voters in Visit to Wisconsin Union Training Center

Jeff Louderback
By Jeff Louderback
February 9, 2023Politics

A half-day after delivering a State of the Union address before a divided Congress that produced boos and jeers from Republicans in the chamber, President Joe Biden traveled to Wisconsin on Feb. 8 to tout his economic plan.

Biden has said in recent months that he plans to seek a second term in 2024. Traditionally, presidents embark on a national tour after the State of the Union speech to promote their key messages.

During his State of the Union address, Biden said his economic strategy has helped generate 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs across the country since he took office.

At a training center operated by the Laborers’ International Union of North America near Madison, Biden continued to praise economic numbers that show job growth, especially in the manufacturing sector; and reduced inflation rates in each of the previous six months.

Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point in the 2020 election. If Biden decides to pursue another term, many political strategists agree that he will have to attract a high percentage of working-class voters.

At the union training center, workers wearing orange shirts and hard hats sat behind Biden as he made his remarks.

Before his speech, the White House released a statement that said, “For decades, the U.S. exported jobs and imported products, while other countries surpassed us in critical sectors like clean energy, semiconductors, and biotechnology. Thanks to President Biden’s economic plan – including his American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act – that is changing.

“Since the President took office in 2021, companies have invested over $4 billion in manufacturing across Wisconsin,” the statement explained. “These investments are increasing the productivity, competitiveness, and resilience of both Wisconsin and our nation’s economy. And they’re creating good-paying jobs, including union jobs and jobs that don’t require a college degree.

“Two years ago, the Wisconsin unemployment rate was 4.7 percent and nearly 30 percent of Wisconsin’s small businesses were permanently closing,” the statement said. “Today, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is down to 3.2 percent while the number of new Wisconsin business filings have hit new records with nearly 118,000 jobs created and 130,000 new businesses filed in the state over the past two years.”

‘Places That Feel Forgotten’

Biden told the Feb. 8 event in Wisconsin his concerns about middle-class America.

“A typical middle-class family for decades was the backbone of America. The middle class has been hollowed out — it’s been hollowed out,” he said.

“You saw it Janesville,” Biden added, referring to a General Motors plant that closed in 2008 and once employed 7,000 people at its peak.

Reiterating what he said in the State of the Union address and multiple speeches in the new year, Biden said that “my economic plan is about investing in people and places that feel forgotten.

“Once-thriving cities and towns became shadows of what they used to be. When those towns were hollowed out, something else was lost: pride, self-esteem, a sense of self-worth,” he continued. “But now we’re going to turn that around and build an economy where no one’s going to be left behind.”

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and several members of the president’s cabinet are traveling to states across the U.S. to promote policies and messages from the State of the Union speech.

On Feb. 9, Biden is slated to visit Tampa, Florida, to talk about proposals to reduce health care costs and protect Social Security and Medicare

‘Negotiated a Deal Last Night’

Biden told the audience in Wisconsin that “it looks like we negotiated a deal last night” on Social Security, referencing a contentious part of his State of the Union address.

Biden criticized Republicans, who have said they will not approve raising the debt ceiling unless the president agrees to spending cuts.

“Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what their plans are,” he said during his State of the Union address.

“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.”

The claim drew more boos and jeers from Republicans, who said Biden’s claim is not true.

“I’m not saying it’s the majority,” Biden said.

“Anyone who doubts it, contact my office. I’ll give you a copy of the proposal,” he added.

Moments later, tension was calmed as Biden said, “So, folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now. Right? All right. We’ve got unanimity!”

Biden’s post-State of the Union address tour will test his endurance. He is expected in the coming weeks to announce he will seek reelection. At 80, he is already the oldest president in U.S. history. If he runs again, wins, and completes his second term, he will be 86 when he leaves office.

From The Epoch Times