Former Vice President Joe Biden brought his Presidential campaign to rural Lee County Wednesday afternoon, though a little later than anticipated. He apologized to the crowd of about 100 people for being two hours late before spending the next hour talking about his family and his plans to rebuild the middle class.
Biden’s excuse for being late: a rally held in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Biden joked that the people in Scranton were not ready for him to immediately hop on a plane and fly to Iowa.
“It was awful hard when some guy, after I said I have to catch a plane, and he said, ‘Let me tell you, I knew your mother and this is what I want to tell you,’” said Biden. “What the hell am I gonna say, ‘Oh, you knew Mom?’ ‘Yeah, and by the way, your uncle was a wonderful guy, I went to school with him and your cousin and…’”
Biden referred to Scranton while telling the Lee County audience about his family and the struggles it has faced and overcome through the years. He talked about how his parents shaped the views he holds today.
“Maybe the most important thing they taught me was that everybody, every single person, deserves to be treated with dignity,” said Biden. No matter what their background, no matter their station. My dad would have never walked past someone, whether they were shining shoes or owned the institution he was in, and not said hello to them.”
Biden said he will take the lessons he learned from his parents and use them to rebuild what he described as the backbone of this country: the middle class.
“Because folks, Wall Street did not build America. Investment bankers did not build America. People like you in Iowa, in Scranton, across this country, built America,” said Biden. “The great middle class built this country and now they are in trouble.
“A lot of folks are losing hope.”
Biden said when he talks about the middle class, he is not talking about a group of people within an income or wealth range.
“Middle class is not a number. Middle class is a value system,” said Biden. “It’s about being able to send your kid to a local park or a local school and know they are going to be able to come home safe. It’s about being able to send them to a local public high school and if they do well enough, you know they can learn a trade or go on to get a college degree or a community college and somehow you will figure out how to pay for it.
“It’s about when your dad dies, being able to bring home your mom -- your elderly mom -- and being able to take care of her. It’s about hoping your children will never take care of you, never be a burden.”
Biden said his plan to rebuild the middle class is five-fold: providing access to quality, affordable health care and public education, rewarding hard work instead of wealth, addressing climate change, and enacting sensible gun control.
Biden said all of this is possible by people coming together and standing up.
“This is the USA. There is not a single thing we cannot do if we do it together.”