Newton Daily News - Biden Visits with Supporters for Three Hours Wednesday
By JESSICA LOWE NDN Staff Writer
Democratic presidential hopeful and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden may receive a bill for rent after setting up shop at Uncle Nancy's Coffeehouse in Newton for most of Wednesday night.
Biden, despite urging by some of his campaign workers to wrap up the event, shook hands, signed autographs, answered questions and discussed issues including the loss of American jobs for three hours.
"With Maytag leaving after about 100 years ... I realize this is a incredible time of transition," Biden said in his opening remarks. "I realize you've known about it since 2006 but it doesn't make it any easier."
To help keep American jobs on American soil, Biden said he would work hard to make trade agreements that supports products made in the United States in a competitive global market and keeps corporations from taking away employees' security.
"Trade agreements are suppose to promote jobs not cut jobs. I'm not going to be a part of that. Our job is to promote economic growth as president," he told the crowd of about 100 gathered to hear him speak. "And no company should be able to shed pension plans unless the executives' pensions are shed with it. One in, all in."
Biden quickly moved from domestic issues to the war in Iraq and his plans to fund troops until a solution can be made and the situation in Iraq can be peacefully resolved.
"I've been there eight times. I've been there eight times with these kids getting shot. I've ridden home with these fallen angels and how many more have to die? How many more have to die? Some of you were mad at me for voting for funding for the troops but some things are worth losing an election over," he said.
He also noted the importance of engaging the international community in order to come up with a viable solution to the war in Iraq.
"We have no credibility so it can't be a Made in America' solution," Biden said.
With the war in Iraq and the intensifying global disdain for the United States, Biden said some people have questioned why he would want to take office.
"'Why in Lord's name would you want to be president right now?' And the truth of the matter is if you ever wanted to be president this is the single greatest moment to be president because literally the next president has the opportunity to change the direction of the world. They are looking at us to get this world back on track."
With that in mind, Biden said if elected he will focus on developing better foreign relations to not only solve the problems in Iraq, but to deal with other countries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.
"We have no credibility in the world. We have no one to cooperate with us in the world because they think our judgment is horrible," said Biden.
Biden also was asked if he would make any policy changes regarding the long-standing embargo on Cuba.
"The policy in Cuba has to change," he said. "Castro is gonna die, probably under the next president, and what follows after Castro matters and instead of engaging them we have a Cuban policy no, we don't have a Cuban policy, we have a Castro policy and we need a new one."
Before the evening was over, Biden answered questions on health care, immigration, missile defense, campaign funding and education and noted it was important to take the time to answer all the questions asked Wednesday night.
"I think these people deserve real answers," said Biden. "This is probably the most important election that they will have ever voted in so they deserve answers."
Before leaving for the night, Biden said he appreciated people taking the time out of their evening to stay and engage him in discussion about serious issues facing the nation and the next president.
"I respect these people, and regardless of whether they vote for me or not, I hope they walked away at least knowing how much I respect them," Biden said
Biden did earn the respect of some of the people at the event Wednesday. Dean Lane of Newton said he was impressed with Biden, especially on his Iraq policy.
"I like him a lot," Lane said after the event. "He has the only policy on Iraq that makes any sense."
Mark Tinnermeier of Newton said he also was impacted by Biden's discussion, specifically with the detailed answers he gave to questions and the Senator's willingness to stay and meet with supporters.
"I was very impressed," said Tinnermeier, who had an opportunity to have one-on-one interaction with Biden. "He is probably the most thought out and dedicated politician I ever heard."
Tinnermeier said he was considering supporting Biden in the upcoming election.
"I came to hear what he had to say and I was leaning toward him before but I am definitely with him now," he said.