WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden says the latest job numbers show an economy still struggling to recover, but not one where hiring suddenly has stalled, which he says just might if Mitt Romney is elected.
"How is he gonna create jobs?" Biden asked in an interview broadcast Sunday. "He talks about another $2 trillion in tax cuts for the very wealthy. You're gonna create jobs? Is that how he's gonna do it?"
The appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" came a day after President Barack Obama headlined the first official campaign rallies of his bid for a second term, at college campuses in Ohio and Virginia. Obama contended that Romney was a likely "rubber stamp" for GOP conservatives, and portrayed himself as a champion of a struggling middle class.
Friday's report on April unemployment showed a continued slowdown in U.S. hiring. The economy added just 115,000 net jobs. The jobless rate slipped to 8.1 percent, but mostly because large numbers left the workforce.
Obama called the numbers "good news" overall. Romney said they were "very disappointing" and more evidence of Obama's economic failures.
"It's been steady growth, not enough," Biden said in the interview. "There's still a lot of people in trouble. But there's no stagnation."
Biden said Romney would return to policies that helped precipitate the worst economic recession in decades. He cited deregulation, deep spending cuts for education and health care, and tax cuts for wealthy Americans who "need it like they need another hole in their head."
Biden also scoffed at Romney's campaign mantra that his record as Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist qualify him to engineer an economic turnaround.
"When he was in business, how did he save companies? By piling debt on them," Biden said.
Romney maintains that in his time as top manager at Bain Capital, he helped revive and strengthen scores of major companies, and overall produced stellar results.
Also in the interview, Biden revealed a not very closely held secret: He's staying on the Democratic ticket as Obama's running mate.
"There's no way out," he joked. "I mean, they've already printed Obama-Biden" campaign materials.
Biden said he was not annoyed by speculation that he might be replaced on the ticket by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Asked which of those two is more likely to run for president in 2016, Biden said, "I think we may run as a team. I'm only joking, obviously. I don't know whether I'm gonna run. And Hillary doesn't know whether she's gonna run."