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Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman criticized Republican policies related to the economy Wednesday and touted the Democratic Party as the party of the middle class.

“This election is about a choice between two competing visions. One vision — the Democratic vision — says our economy can be built to last from the middle out by giving all Americans a fair shot at getting into the middle class and achieving the American Dream,” Wyman said at an event sponsored by Americans United for Change.

The national group, according to, sprang from the ashes of Americans United to Protect Social Security — a labor-funded liberal group formed in 2005 to oppose then-President George W. Bush’s Social Security proposal. It changed its name in 2006. The group is a 501(c)4 organization and does not have to disclose its donors.

Hartford’s Bushnell Park was one of the first stops Americans United for Change made on what will be a four-week, 18-state bus tour to support Democrats running for state and federal offices across the country.

Wyman embraced the group’s platform. Standing outside the bus, she said Republicans weren’t interested in policies that benefit the middle class.

“The Tea Party Republican vision says if we pool all our resources at the top with the millionaires and big corporations while starving programs like Medicaid below, it will eventually trickle down to everyone else,” she said. “President Bush tested out that theory, and all he had to show for it was the Great Recession.”

But the Republican Party said Democrats can’t play the blame game when it comes to the economy.

“Dan Malloy passed the largest tax increase in Connecticut history — raising taxes on everything from gasoline to clothing and hurting middle class families in the process,” Connecticut Republican Party Spokesman Zak Sanders said in an email. “The difference in economic policies in this race is simple, Dan Malloy will raise taxes and Tom Foley won’t.”

Wyman cited the passage of paid sick leave, raising the minimum wage, and the success of Connecticut’s health care exchange as some of Malloy’s major policy victories.

“Under Malloy’s leadership Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a minimum wage increase to $10.10 and to pass legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave to workers,” she said.

Raising the minimum wage is one of Americans United for Change’s major policy goals, along with infrastructure investment, college affordability, closing the pay gap between men and women, and protecting Social Security and Medicare from cuts and privatization.

Blake Williams, deputy communications director for Americans United for Change, said, “we came to Connecticut because we wanted to talk to people about Malloy and the importance of voting for candidates this November that are going to be focused on the issues that matter to the middle class.”

The bus tour will be traveling all through the eastern half of the United States, covering ground from Maine to Colorado to Florida before finishing in Virginia at the end of the month. The Wednesday morning stop in Bushnell Park was the only one planned in Connecticut.

“There’s a lot of big races we want to make sure people are tuned in to, and we want to make sure people choose candidates that are going to put the middle class first,” Williams said.