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Jim Cole, Associated Press
Vice President Joe Biden talks to workers of a Rochester company that has partnered with a local college, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 in Rochester, N.H.

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Republican presidential hopefuls are blatantly focused on advancing economic policies that favor the wealthy over most Americans, giving voters in the 2012 election a clear choice, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday.

Biden told reporters there's no discussion in the Republican campaign about compassionate conservatism, or wanting to save Medicare or education as in past campaigns.

"The reason I think this race is going to be so clear is that for the first time in my career, Republicans aren't hiding the ball," he said.

"They're putting forward a political philosophy that is absolutely straight-forward... The way it's going to work is to not only keep the tax cuts for the wealthy but increase tax cuts for the wealthy, and the way to move forward is to deregulate Wall Street."

Biden said Republicans want to "unshackle" businesses by eliminating regulations, but doing so would shift risk to the average American instead. He argued that reasonable regulation of business and Wall Street is necessary.

Biden was making his seventh trip to New Hampshire as vice president. Obama carried New Hampshire in the 2008 general election, but the state is expected to be heavily contested in the fall.

On Thursday, Biden spoke to employees of Albany Engineered Composites and Safran USA, two companies that used a labor department grant to design a training program with Great Bay Community College to help workers acquire advanced manufacturing skills. He cited the program as an example of the Obama administration's efforts to encourage companies to expand in the United States rather than of overseas.

"Our job is to encourage," he said. "The government doesn't produce jobs, it produces incentives," he said.

Biden said after years of economic distress, "Americans are tired of being tired," and added that he's tired as well.

"I am tired of the naysayers. I'm tired of people telling me America isn't going to come back," he said. "We start off better positioned than any nation in the world to be the dominant economic force of the 21st century."