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Biden to lawyers here: What would we do without you?

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during American FederatiTeachers 2012 conventiCobo Center Detroit Sunday July 29 2012. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the American Federation of Teachers 2012 convention at Cobo Center in Detroit, Sunday, July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Kathleen Galligan)

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Updated: September 1, 2012 6:13AM

Vice President Joe Biden told 700 trial lawyers gathered in Chicago Monday he didn’t know what the country would do without them.

“Man, I don’t know what we’d do without you — who is going to step up and take the case of the little guy who’s getting screwed?” Biden asked the lawyers gathered for the convention of the American Association for Justice, formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association.

The lawyers had contributed at least $500 each for the lunchtime fund-raiser for the President Barack Obama campaign at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Republican Mitt Romney has campaigned on limiting the amount of money lawyers can win in trials against corporations and hospitals.

“For all the malarkey you get, you’re well remunerated for what you do,” said Biden, who practiced law himself decades ago. Complaining that Romney wanted to raid middle-class programs such as federal support for college scholarships to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, Biden acknowledged many of these lawyers are wealthy.

“That’s on top of maintaining the tax cuts for y’all. I hope some of you in here are millionaires,” Biden quipped.

Biden was introduced by his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m Beau Biden’s father,” Biden told the crowd, beneath the chandeliers of the Hilton’s ornate Grand Ballroom.

Biden’s appearance capped off a weekend family gathering with Biden’s sons on Lake Michigan’s shores in Indiana. His son Hunter, he said, owns a place in Long Beach, Ind.

Hunter’s wife, Kathleen, is a Southwest Sider whose family has been going to Long Beach for 35 years. Hunter and Kathy Biden bought a house next to her parents on the Lake, Biden said.

“I got to come out and see it,” Biden said. “Those of you who are Chicagoans, no wonder you spend all your time on Lake Michigan, God it’s beautiful. Long Beach is a beautiful area. Much as I love you I didn’t want to leave the beach to come see you.”

Remembering the man known locally if not nationally as the father of personal injury law, Phil Corboy, Biden said, “Something is missing here today. It’s Phil. Phil Corboy is missing. Phil became my friend a long, long time ago. Phil helped me in all my races. He was the consummate gentleman.”

Biden told the lawyers that burdens on the middle class would multiply under Romney, especially when it comes to sending their kids to college.

“Imagine the Supreme Court after four years of Romney. This is not scare tactics, just what he said. If you’re frightened it’s because you should be. You know who his advisor on constitutional issues is? Appointed officially? [Conservative legal scholar] Robert Bork.

“Imagine what American foreign policy would look like in four years — the man who said at first we did the right thing getting out of Iraq now says we should have 20-to-30,000 combat troops there, The guy who said we should not have set a date to turn over responsibility to the Afghans and bring the troops home.”

“Romney’s a good family man. These are decent men. But I think their judgment is fundamentally flawed. What’s Romney saying he’s going to do in the first 100 days? He’s going to de-regulate Wall Street. He’s going to deregulate the banking industry. He’s going to handcuff the EPA if they get in the way.”

Romney spokesman Michael Levoff responded: “Vice President Biden will say anything to distract from the fact that 23 million Americans are struggling for work in the Obama economy. If there is any question of judgment, it should be the Obama Administration’s doubling-down on a failed plan for our economy that President Obama still claims has ‘worked.’ Governor Romney will empower small business owners, allowing them to create jobs in their communities and help grow the middle class.”

Biden stopped at the Obama campaign’s national headquarters on his way to the airport to rally the troops.

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