Campaigning in Canton, Ohio, on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden stepped up his attack on GOP nominee Mitt Romney's positions, inching noticeably closer to the center in recent weeks and warning voters in the critical battleground state: "We're seeing the remaking of Mitt Romney right before our eyes."
Going after his policies on everything from taxes to women's issues to China, Biden called Romney "out of touch on most of the fundamental issues."
"America's moved beyond where these guys are," the vice president told a boisterous crowd of about 800. "And now, and now they're even abandoning the central organizing principle of their party's agenda: All of a sudden Romney claims that he doesn't have a $5 trillion tax cut!" Playing to the crowd's shouts of "Romnesia" - a term coined by President Obama last week - Biden noted that the condition is "contagious," a knock on his GOP opponent Paul Ryan.
Revisiting a favorite line from the Republican primary, after a senior Romney adviser suggested the campaign would redraw its positions - like an Etch-a-Sketch - to be more moderate in the general election, Biden corrected a line the president used following his first debate with Romney.
"The president said the day after the debate with Gov. Romney, he said, Gov. Romney's plans are 'sketchy,'" Biden said. "Now, look - as vice president, it's not my job, nor am I inclined, to correct the president. But in this case, I am: [Romney's] plans aren't 'sketchy,' they're 'Etch-a-Sketch'-y. They're like shaking that little tablet out there.
"It's under way, guys," he continued. "We are seeing the remaking of Mitt Romney right before our eyes."
One of Biden's harshest - and lengthiest - attacks was on Romney's promise to "get tough" on China. He told of the "cruel irony" in a story about an unemployed Massachusetts resident calling the state help line about her unemployment benefits, who "ends up talking to someone in another country, who has the job she could have been doing."
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the vice president continued, "is the guy who is running ads here, non-stop in Ohio, saying he is going to 'get tough' on China? C'mon, man. please. Give us some credit."
During a rally in Lorain, Ohio, later in the day, Biden said the president is "excited" for his final debate against Romney on Monday night.
"The president is about to have his third debate," Biden said, adding that he had just received word from first lady Michelle Obama that "he's excited for the debate tonight.
"Of course, this will be his third debate, and I had my one debate with Congressman Ryan," he continued. "And one thing I think has come across clear to the American people is that we really have fundamentally different views on how to move this nation forward. And a fundamentally different value set than the other team does."
Rodney Hawkins contributed to this report.