Image: Sen. Joe Biden
Mark Stahl  /  AP
Sen. Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally in Warren, Ohio, on Tuesday.
updated 10/15/2008 4:55:31 PM ET 2008-10-15T20:55:31

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that Barack Obama's plan to rebuild the nation's crumbing roads and bridges would help reverse the loss of 240,000 jobs in Ohio during the Bush years.

Biden told an audience in this economically distressed battleground state that the Democratic presidential candidate's public works projects would create 2 million jobs nationwide, including 76,000 new jobs for the middle class in Ohio.

He also criticized Republican candidate John McCain's idea for the federal government to spend $300 billion to buy distressed mortgages at full face value and renegotiate them at a reduced price.

"Think about that, that means every single bank in America gets off Scott-free and the taxpayers foot the bill," Biden said a campaign stop in Lancaster, about 30 miles southeast of Columbus. "That's the only fundamentally new idea John has come up with."

Biden spoke earlier at a county fairgrounds near the campus of Ohio University in Athens, where he wondered if McCain would mention the middle class by name in Wednesday night's third and final presidential debate, a forum focused on pocketbook issues and domestic policy.

Biden said McCain and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, don't understand the plight of struggling Ohioans, and he decried the fact that the median income of a middle class family in the state has dropped $2,000 in the last eight years and that health care premiums have doubled nationally from eight years ago.

"Everything we will propose for the economy will be targeted toward the middle class," he said of a Barack Obama administration. "When the middle class is growing, everybody benefits. That is the tide that rises all boats."

In Athens, Biden said a second economic stimulus package, which Democrats in Congress have called for, would help Ohioans afford the $3,500 that it will cost to heat the average home this winter.

He compared a tax rebate from the stimulus package to a check that Alaska residents receive each year from the state government, a stipend from the proceeds of the state's more than $30 billion oil-rich investment account.

"If a $1000 rebate is good enough for them in Alaska, it sure as heck good enough for the people of southern Ohio," he said.

Biden was in Ohio for the second straight day of campaigning in the eastern and central part of the state.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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