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President Joe Biden speaks at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y., Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y., on Thursday.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Biden hits the stump for a closing argument on the economy

In Syracuse, the president touted a $100 billion investment in high-tech manufacturing jobs against a backdrop of inflation.

By and

SYRACUSE — Faced with the prospect of losing Democratic majorities in Congress, President Joe Biden returned to a key battleground district to defend his administration’s economic record and tout a significant investment in domestic manufacturing.

Announcing a $100 billion investment for computer chips by Micron Technology — a deal that was secured, in part, by the law he signed that boosts semiconductor production — Biden painted the deal as “the latest example of my economic plant at work.” 

While the stage was set for Micron’s announcement, Biden spent a considerable portion of his remarks defending his economic record and grilling his predecessor’s for not delivering on his campaign commitments.

“The previous president made a string of broken promises in places like Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, were promised investments in jobs and manufacturing that never materialized. But layoffs and shuttered factories did materialize. On my watch we’ve kept out commitments,” Biden said. 

“It’s a fundamental shift and it’s working, compared to what the very conservative Republicans are offering these days.” 

Biden referred to the economy as “in ruins” when he took over, and accused a possible Republican majority in Congress of wanting to cut the social safety net and erase what he sees as his administration’s accomplishments. 

“They’re determined to cut Social Security, Medicare, and they’re willing to take down the economy. There is nothing, nothing that will create more chaos or do more damage to the American economy than that happening, if it were to happen,” the president said. 

Republicans have made attacks on the Democratic handling of the economy a centerpiece of their midterm message, laying issues like inflation at the feet of the party in control.  While Biden’s job approval has ticked up to 45% from its March slump, just 38% of voters support his handling of the economy, according to a new national NBC News poll.

The White House hopes that visits like this one, focused on job-creation and technology investments, will serve to counter the Republicans’ midterms attacks and ultimately bolster support among undecided voters with just days to go before the midterm elections.This trip marked the third time this fall that the president has gone on the road to highlight computer chip investments. 

The event took place in New York’s 22nd Congressional District, which is represented by the retiring GOP Rep. John Katko, one of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president following the January 6th attack on the Capitol, and one of 24 who supported the semiconductor law.

Biden flew with the congressman to Syracuse today on Air Force One — an uncommon presidential invitation for an elected republican. He also praised Katko in his remarks, but the congressman later silently watched as Biden excoriated him and his colleagues for supporting President Trump’s 2017 tax cut.

The district — suburban, urban and rural communities — is expected to be home to one of the closest races this November and is one that will test Democrats’ hold on the coalition that helped elect Biden in 2020. The race pits two Navy veterans against each other — Republican Brandon Williams and Democrat Francis Conole.