WATERLOO, Iowa — Vice President Joe Biden was at times Tuesday the Obama-Biden campaign attack man, tearing into presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney's job polices with new vigor at a Waterloo union hall speech.
At other times he was relaxed, joking with potential voters as he meandered 90 miles east toward Dubuque where he was to spend the night and deliver another campaign address Wednesday, ending two days of campaigning in Iowa.
While the state has only 6 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency, it is being hotly pursued in what is expected to be a close election. President Barack Obama carried Iowa in the 2008 election. Romney and Obama visited the state last month.
Biden told more than 400 union workers in Waterloo that the presumptive Republican nominee was adept at creating jobs in other countries but not in the United States.
Beginning a two-day visit to Iowa, Biden noted news reports that a private equity firm headed by Romney had outsourced jobs to China and India. The Romney campaign has argued that the reports aren't accurate and don't take into account how work done overseas supports U.S. exports.
"You've got to give Mitt Romney credit. He's a job creator in Singapore, China, India," Biden said.
Biden also claimed Romney opposed union efforts to increase wages and improve benefits.
"The president and I don't see American workers as part of the problem. We see them as the heart of the solution," he said.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul called Biden's comments misleading and said they were an effort to district voters from Obama's "disastrous economic record."
"President Obama has failed to meet his own standard for lowering unemployment because he has no idea what it takes to get our economy moving again," Saul said in a statement.
Biden's had a sympathetic audience of union members from a John Deere factory, transit workers and members of a public employees union.
After the campaign event Biden worked his way toward Dubuque, stopping at small towns along the way, causing a stir in each.
In Independence, a town of slightly less than 6,000, he bought a turkey wrap for lunch at the First Street Deli, where he mingled with customers, sitting next to a few and conversing.
He treated campaign volunteer Cathy Layton-Johnson to lunch. She had won a contest to eat lunch with the vice president. Biden also bought 5-year-old Alex Thompson a chocolate chip cookie before departing.
A jovial group of customers at the ice cream counter in Widners Drug and Gifts in Manchester laughed and joked with Biden, who bought several of them ice cream cones.
Then it was on to Dubuque where customers and employees of a Hy-Vee grocery were shocked to see the vice president in their store to buy three half-gallon containers of ice cream and two packages of cookies.
Campaign workers said he planned to visit with some old friends while he spends the night in Dubuque and bought the treats to share.
A Wednesday morning public campaign event is scheduled in Dubuque.