PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — President Joe Biden used a backdrop of the world's largest facility for wind tower manufacturing to sharpen his criticism of Republicans Wednesday, saying the company's expansion validates an environmental agenda his political opponents want to undo.
The company that Biden visited, CS Wind, is on the home turf of Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has described the president's climate policies as “a massive failure.”
"Did you all know that you’re part of a massive failure?” Biden said to the workers and local officials gathered for his speech as he touted hundreds of new jobs fueled by tax incentives for clean energy initiatives. “None of that sounds like a massive failure to me. How about you?”
Biden’s rebuttal to Boebert was fresh evidence of the Democratic president's intention to more aggressively push back against what he calls “MAGA Republicans." He has been struggling with low approval ratings, and Democrats are anxious for him to gain ground politically ahead of a likely rematch against Donald Trump next year.
Boebert, who has cultivated a national reputation as a right-flank insurgent, taunted Biden from Washington, where she said, “I hope there’s not a silver alert that goes out for him” during his trip. The alerts can be sent for missing elderly people with dementia.
Pueblo, a city of about 110,000 south of Denver, is one of the anchors of Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District, which covers more ground than Pennsylvania. Boebert won her seat in 2020 and barely held on to it during the 2022 midterms.
Democrats are eyeing it as one of their top pickup opportunities as they aim to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans. Boebert suggested, “Joe Biden coming to my district probably helps me win reelection.”
She recently suffered an embarrassing episode when she was kicked out of a musical production of “Beetlejuice,” where she was spotted vaping. She faces a likely rematch against Democratic candidate Adam Frisch.
During his speech in Pueblo, Biden rejected criticisms that his policies are a form of socialism.
“My plan is rooted in what has always worked best for this country: Investing in America. Investing in Americans,” Biden said, putting his hand on the shoulder of a worker wearing a bright yellow safety vest.
Biden was originally scheduled to visit Pueblo on Oct. 16, but the trip was postponed so he could remain in Washington to focus on the conflict in the Middle East. Two days later he went on a last-minute trip to Israel to show support for the country after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.
CS Wind is undergoing a $200 million expansion that is expected to create 850 jobs by 2026 with help from the tax benefits in Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which included hundreds of billions of dollars of financial incentives.
In addition, a new analysis from the Treasury Department said clean energy investments have mostly flowed to communities with below-average wages and above-average child poverty. The White House said the data indicated that Biden's policies are expanding economic opportunity.
Biden arrived in Colorado on Tuesday after attending a memorial service in Atlanta for Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady and wife of former President Jimmy Carter. He spoke at a Tuesday night fundraiser in Denver, where he said Trump and Republicans want to abandon his administration's efforts.
“We’re now investing in America,” he said.
Biden in recent weeks has been taking an increasingly confrontational stance toward Republicans. For example, during a White House event focused on supply chains on Monday, he unleashed a broad critique.
“They want to go back to the bad old days, when corporations looked around the world to find the cheapest labor they could find, to send the jobs overseas, and then import the products back to the United States,” he said.
Biden also said Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare, benefits that are crucial for many elderly Americans.
“They just don’t give up," he said. "But guess what: We won’t let these things happen.”
Megerian reported from Washington. Mike Pesoli contributed from Washington.
Fatima Hussein And Chris Megerian, The Associated Press