An enthusiastic and festive crowd of Democratic supporters greeted Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday on the campus of William Jewell College in Liberty.
Biden opened his speech by joking with a crowd of Jewell students that their national championship debate team should have given Sen. McCain some advice before last Tuesday’s debate.
Biden’s main message to supporters was the need for change in the White House when it comes to economic and social issues not only in America but also in Missouri. Biden said the McCain/Palin campaign is not focusing on the real issues affecting Missourians. Instead, Biden said they want to focus on attacks on Barack Obama. He said 100 percent of McCain’s ads focus on negative attacks.
“We need a wholesale change in our economy,” he told the overflow crowd at the Maybee Center. “Folks, when you vote with George Bush 90 percent of the time your best hope is to attack 100 percent of the time.”
Biden said not focusing on the issues only hurts the American people.
“Most Americans don’t have the luxury to ignore this problem,” he said. “We need a leader that will write a better ending to the stories that are being written right now. Don’t be distracted. These attacks don’t hurt Barack Obama or me. It hurts you. They want to get you to stop paying attention to what is going on in this country. You are what Barack Obama and I want to talk about, not the other guy.”
Some of the negative attacks do have some consideration by the mainstream media. Recent reports have uncovered possible voter fraud by a voter registration organization called ACORN. Obama’s campaign has contributed $800,000 to ACORN.
Biden said McCain’s public comments about the current economic crisis only show that his policies only follow the same broken policies of the Bush Administration. Biden said McCain’s only original ideas he has outlined publicly are bad ideas.
Biden poked fun at Palin’s reference to him being in Washington since she was in second grade.
“You can’t call yourself a maverick when all you’ve been is a sidekick,” Biden said while quoting Sen. Robert Casey from Pennsylvania. “She was in sixth grade the last time John had a new idea.”
Biden said the only way out of the economic crisis is to build up the middle class in America. Biden said the wealthy and the poor cannot benefit unless America has a strong middle class. Biden said the Obama Administration will focus on job creation.
“We’re going to invest in America,” Biden said. “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. That’s how you build the middle class.”
Biden referred to John Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon. Biden said Kennedy didn’t know how they were going to do it, but they had a vision. Biden said the focus needs to be on alternative fuels.
“We’re going to become energy independent,” he said. “We’re going to get farmers back out on the job.”
Biden also focused on healthcare and said how McCain’s plan will drop millions of Americans from their company’s insurance plans because costs will go up under his plan. Biden said Americans will get the opportunity to get the same coverage as government officials enjoy. He said millions of Americans who have insurance worry about rising rates. Biden said those who don’t have insurance worry about all costs.
“When you don’t have insurance, you go to bed at night staring at that ceiling because you know the cost of everything,” he said.
Former Kansas City mayoral candidate Alvin Brooks said he was energized by Biden’s speech. Brooks said he thinks Missourians are ready for a change.
“I think it’s an exciting moment for Missouri and an exciting moment for America when I hear the resounding voices say we want change,” Brooks said. “I think it’s an indication that this state is going from red to blue. I think the American people are ready for it. Now is the time.”
Former Missouri 6th district Democratic candidate Sara Jo Shettles said Biden’s speech really hit home for her.
“I like the fact that it hit my heart pretty hard and that he is saying exactly what I’m feeling inside, and the reasons I’m supporting this campaign is because this is where my heart is. This is where everyone I know heart is,” she said.
Biden continued his campaign in Jefferson City last night and will speak in Springfield today.
Photo: Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden fired up an already enthusiastic crowd on Thursday afternoon on the campus of William Jewell College in Liberty. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)