Vice President Joe Biden raised the level of the Obama Administration's attacks on former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney today in Davenport, Iowa, delivering a speech on manufacturing at the PCT Engineered Systems that was intended largely to contrast this White House's support for manufacturing with Mitt Romney's alleged failings.
The most striking element of Biden's approach, though, was what he didn't say. Biden didn't suggest that Romney had switched positions on the economic issue. He didn't suggest he was insincere, a flip-flopper, or that he has "no core."
In fact, Biden pivoted away from the attacks that had, to date, defined the Obama re-elect.
"Mitt Romney has been remarkably consistent, remarkably consistent — and I respectfully suggest, consistently wrong," said Biden, after referring to Romney as a "good guy" if, perhaps, "out of touch."
"We have a choice in our election between our philosophy, that says manufacturing is central to our economy, and their philosophy, which scoffs at it," Biden said.
Some Democrats had warned that the downside of attacks on Romney as a man lacking principles is that they may make it difficult to scare independent voters with the specter of a Romney presidency. Biden's approach is far more direct.
But it's not yet clear whether this represents a broad shift, or just a split between the way they attack Romney personally and how they cast his economic policies.