REMARKS BY SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE), DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, AT A "CHANGE WE NEED" RALLY INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY: SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO); JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF SENATOR BIDEN
LONGVIEW COMMUNITY COLLEGE, LEE'S SUMMIT, MISSOURI
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SEN. MCCASKILL: (Cheers, applause.) Good morning. Good morning, good morning! What a great way to start the week in Eastern Jackson County, Missouri! (Cheers, applause.)
You know, there is a rally going on down the road in Jeff City. (Boos.) No. You remember what Barack says, "Don't boo, just vote." (Cheers, applause.) And they've got a -- they've got a country- western signer down there in Jeff City today, and on Monday night sometimes he says, "Are you ready for some football?"
Here's what I say to you, are you ready for some change? (Cheers, applause.) I am so proud of our ticket this year. I am so proud of Jay Nixon, Sam Page, Clint Zweifel, Robin Carnahan, Chris Koster. What a great ticket we have. (Cheers, applause.) And I am so proud of the campaign that has been run by Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.)
You know, there are different roads you can take to the highest office in the land. There are different paths that you can choose. There is the high road and there is the low road, and doesn't it feel good to be on the high road? (Cheers, applause.)
I am here this morning to introduce some -- a very special person. You know, when Barack had to show the country his judgment he had to make a very difficult choice. When you think about it, the choice for vice president is really the first opportunity you have, as a presidential nominee, to show the country your judgment, to show your decisionmaking process, for them to get a sense of what kind of leader you're going to be -- how you make the decision, what you take into account, what is important.
And let me just tell you that I think in that process Barack Obama showed the kind of judgment we need as a president of the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.) Barack Obama chose a man who has an incredible record, not just in terms of his foreign policy experience, and the heft of his knowledge of complex problems all over the world -- he is so respected by the leaders of all of the countries that we call our allies.
But, let me tell you, all the people of Eastern Jackson County, and the other areas that are here today, the other thing that Joe Biden has done for many, many years is he's stayed focused on the middle-class working families of America -- (cheers, applause) -- and how we can help them.
Barack Obama chose the very best person in the country that could be president of the United States; and, well, let's just say John McCain didn't. (Cheers, applause.)
Before Barack Obama had the good sense to choose Joe Biden, there was someone else who chose Joe Biden. And I'll tell you what, he was very, very lucky when that happened. There is a very strong, smart woman, and she feels so at home here because she is a community college professor in Delaware.
She, in fact, is someone who continues to teach during this campaign because it is her calling. She is someone who fundamentally understands that if we don't let out kids reach for that highest rung on the ladder -- that you could only grab through higher education, then we are short-changing the future of this great country that we love so much.
Please give the next speaker a warm, "show me" welcome, Dr. Jill Biden. (Cheers, applause.)
(Audience chants "Joe and Jill?".)
MS. BIDEN: Thank you. (Laughs.) (Cheers, applause.)
Good morning Lee's Summit, Missouri. Thank you for that welcome. (Cheers, applause.) It's great to be here at Longview Community College, the first community college in the nation to be named Time Magazine's "College of the Year." (Cheers, applause.)
I've been teaching at a community college for 15 years, so I really feel right at home here this morning. How many students are out there? (Cheers.) Woah! Good for you. And how many of my colleagues are sitting in the audience? (Cheers.) Thank you. Thank you for being here.
You know, as a community college educator I have seen every day that education is the key to opportunity in America. And tomorrow we have another great opportunity to bring change to this country, change we desperately need. (Cheers, applause.) We're here because, with your help in Missouri, we know that Missouri is going to help elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden president and vice president.
This is the most important election in our lifetimes, and I love that Joe's mother, who is 91 years old, says that this is the most election in her lifetime as well. And that's not just because Joe is her son -- but, you know, that has something to do with it, but because she wants a better life for her great grandchildren.
Over the past few months, the country has gotten to know Joe Biden pretty well. You've seen what I've seen for the last three decades. Joe Biden is a man who loves his country, loves his family, and who gets things done.
Barack and Joe understand what people here in Missouri and all over the country are going through, because they too had to overcome obstacles to get to where they are today. Well, today I couldn't be prouder of Joe and all that he's done to bring about change in America. I couldn't be prouder that Barack Obama chose Joe as his running mate.
(Cheers, applause.) What a great crowd you are. I love this energy. (Cheers, applause.) Isn't it great? (Off mike, to a colleague.)
So, now we need you to go out and vote for them. And we need you to go out and work until tomorrow, until this is all over. (Crowd yells, "Yeah!") So, do it for Barack and Joe, but do it for you. Do it for your families.
Now, I'd like to introduce my husband, your next vice president, Joe Biden.
SEN. BIDEN: (Laughs.) Woah! Well, Claire, you draw a crowd. (Cheers.) Claire McCaskill, Senator McCaskill. (Laughs.)
(Audience chants, "Joe, Joe, Joe!")
SEN. BIDEN: Well, thank you, folks. Thank you.
Claire, I owe -- I owe Barack really big. (Laughter.) Claire is -- knows me pretty well, and knows Jill, and I tell you what, this is worth the trip for one reason, I never heard my wife say so many nice things about me in public. (Laughter.) Jill, baby, Jill! (Laughs.)
I'll tell you what, they may not be sure about me, but they're going to love this woman. (Laughs.). (Cheers.) And Claire said Jill made -- I made a choice; Barack made a choice; and Jill made a choice. Well, Claire, the truth is, I had to ask this woman literally five times to marry me -- (laughter) -- five times before she said yes. And, finally, you know what did it? The two boys said, "Dad, why isn't Jill marrying us?" (Laughs.) (Crowd laughs.)
Well, Jill, thanks for signing on. (Laughter.) And Jill, very straightforwardly said, well, I love the boys so much -- (laughter) -- but, 34 years later we're still hanging together. Hey, folks -- (cheers, applause) -- you know why I think -- you know why I think Jill likes Claire McCaskill so well -- Senator McCaskill, Jill is one of five sisters; Claire is one of three sisters, and I'd tell you what, you women raised with sisters are different than women raised with brothers. (Laughs.)
My sister is smart; runs every one of my campaigns; is beautiful; graduated with honors from college; was homecoming queen, but she's a -- she is, what I'd call, a girl-boy growing up, you know what I mean? (Laughter.) And I'd tell you what, girl-girls are tougher than girl- boys.
But, there's one important thing I noticed, the great thing marrying into a family of five sisters, there's always one that loves you -- (laughter) -- there's always one that loves you. Because you can count on splitting them a little bit, you know what I mean?
I shouldn't be going off like this, but -- (laughter) -- hey, folks, 37 more hours. (Cheers and applause.) Thirty-seven more hours to change. (Cheers, applause.) And after that, Congress and Emanuel Cleaver -- (cheers, applause) -- who I think is going to be spending a lot of time on the phone with Barack Obama getting this agenda finished; is going to have a different path for us.
And I'd tell you what -- I mean this sincerely, folks, you know when you sent Claire McCaskill to the United States Senate -- (cheers) -- most freshman come like I did: You are seen and not heard; your opinion is not sought for a considerable amount of time. (Laughter.) That was not the case with Claire. (Cheers, applause.) Barack Obama has no better friend than Claire McCaskill -- (cheers, applause) -- and I have no better colleague than Claire McCaskill.
Ladies and gentlemen, I also wanted to thank your state auditor, Susan Montee, she's here. I think Susan's here somewhere. Susan, thank you for being here. I also want -- Anna Burger, president of Change to Win. Anna, where are you? Anna, by the way, there's a woman who knows how to get things done.
Thank you, Labor. Thank you, Labor. And I also want to -- Fred Grogan, president of the Metropolitan Community College. Where are you, Mr. President? (Cheers, applause.) Thank you, Mr. President, I appreciate it. What a beautiful campus, by the way. As I came across -- came up, I saw a lake behind us. I haven't gotten a chance to see the whole lake, but what a beautiful, beautiful campus.
And as Jill pointed out -- Jill keeps track of these things, you picked number one, that's pretty darn good, man. Congratulations to you. (Cheers, applause.) You know what it means, though? If you're number one, it means you got the best students in America, that's what it means.
Look, folks, it truly is great -- hey, Teamsters, thanks for being here, guys. (Cheers, applause.)
I understand that this town's name comes from the fact that it's the highest point between Kansas City and St. Louis, and from this vantage point you get a pretty good view. And there's one thing I consider clearly -- see very clearly, it is change is on the way!
Today, no matter where I am in America -- and I imagine Claire's been all over the country for us, has found the same exact thing -- today in America people are asking, not matter where it is, the same questions. They are simple -- as simple as they are profound:
Is my house worth what I paid for it, or do I now have an upside- down mortgage where I owe more than it's worth?
Will my company continue my health care -- as a matter of fact, are the rumors about my company going abroad true?
How are we going to be able to retire now that our 401K has been cleared out and all that equity in our home we counted on seems to be gone?
Will we be able to send our kids back -- let alone in the first place, back to college?
Conversations are taking place -- you students, you're asking yourselves questions. Some of you are going to be graduating from here and going on to four-year schools. You're finding it hard to go out there and borrow that money. (Crowd yells, "Yeah!") You're finding it difficult.
Well, ladies and gentlemen -- ladies and gentlemen, the questions are profound, but they're everywhere. Claire, this is the first election -- presidential election I've campaigned in where whether I was Montana or Florida, whether I'm in Missouri or Maine, whether I'm in Texas or -- (inaudible) -- New Jersey, the questions are the same. It is the most uniformly -- how can I say it, intense election I've ever, ever been a part of. (Cheers, applause.)
Because, ladies and gentlemen -- ladies and gentlemen, people have been hurt. Hard-working people who played by the rules have been hurt. There have been more than 700,000 jobs lost just since January. And, ladies and gentlemen, more than 2 million homes have been foreclosed on so far this year. And last month 235,000 people in America -- hardworking Americans, got foreclosure notices.
Folks, for too many families, people who played by the rules, the American dream is literally -- they see it slipping from their grasp. And, ladies and gentlemen, and that's why I believe, with a greater degree of confidence than I've ever had before, that we are on the cusp of a new brand of American leadership, because that's what we need -- (cheers, applause) -- a new brand of American leadership.
Because folks, if we want to answer all those questions being raised around that kitchen table, we need to get out and elect Barack Obama president of the United States tomorrow.
(Crowd chants, "Yes, we can!")
Yes, we can.
Folks, the truth is, although John McCain is a brave and honorable American, John McCain will not bring -- his record does not show, his campaign has demonstrated -- there will be no real change.
In the most recent debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, John McCain felt the need to state to Barack, to the commentator, and to all America that he was not John McCain. Look, I know we're not running against President -- I mean he was not President Bush -- (laughter) -- because the truth is he's not the John McCain I served with a long time. (Applause, cheers) Freudian slip, you know, you know. But ladies and gentlemen -- that I -- he keeps saying he's not George Bush. Well look, I know we're not running against George Bush. But we are running -- in serious note -- we are running against the very policies, the very economic policies that Bush has espoused and John McCain promises to continue.
Over the course of three debates -- three debates, 20 months of campaigning, eight years of failed economic policy, literally there is not one fundamental economic difference between John McCain and George W. Bush. He has not outlined one. Oh, he's different than -- he's different than George Bush on a number of things that are important but not consequential to the economy or to our foreign policy.
Look folks, I kind of love it, I like how when people self- identify themselves, you know what I mean? (Scattered laughter.) And John McCain and Sarah Palin stand up there -- and I love watching them when I get back to my hotel late at night. (Laughter.) Turn on the TV and it said, "Hey maverick, hey maverick, we're the mavericks!" (Laughter.) Hey, hey, give me a break.
I mean, you know, mavericks. (Applause, cheering) Look, a very good friend of Claire's and mine from my birth town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States senator, Bobby Casey -- Claire, Bobby has a phrase he uses. He says, and I'm paraphrasing him, Senator Casey -- he said you can't call yourself a maverick when all you've been the last eight years is a sidekick. (Applause, cheers.) So folks, I don't think they're mavericks, I think they're sidekicks! (Cheers, applause.) Nothing wrong with being a sidekick, as long as you're getting up on the right horse.
Hey folks, look (chuckles), if you give Barack and me the honor of serving as your president and vice President here's what we're going to do in a straight forward and simple, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart, we have two over-arching, overriding goals that we expect Emanuel Cleaver and, and Claire share with us, I know Claire does because I know her so well personally. There's two overriding goals we have. It's really basic and simple. You can put it on a bumper sticker.
The first is, to reestablish the middle-class in America, give them a fighting chance. (Applause, cheers.) And the second is -- and the second is, to regain the respect in the world America deserves. (Applause, cheers.) And folks, the first step -- the first step in regaining our respect in the world, entitling us to lead the world again, is to end this war in Iraq! (Applause, cheers.) And end it -- and end it we will! We will end it responsibly but end it we will!
Ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to rebuilding the middle class, as the kids used to say, this is not rocket science. The truth of the matter is though we can't wait -- Claire and I and Emanuel, we can't wait until January 20th, God willing, when we're sworn in. Too many people are hanging on the edge right now. Too many people find themselves in difficulty. (Cheers, applause.) That's why -- that's why Barack Obama and I believe right now we need to place a three- month moratorium on all housing foreclosures in America. (Cheers, applause.)
Seven days ago, as two of the five largest banks in America collapsed, and the financial crisis became undeniable, back on September the 15th, John McCain still insisted, repeatedly saying it, that quote, "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." That's John's quote. (Boos.) And once again -- and once again, God love him as my mother would say, John is fundamentally wrong! (Cheers, applause.)
Now look, since the collapse of those banks, John McCain has been saying, and I quote him, "We cannot spend the next four years like we've spent the last eight, waiting for our luck to change." Well, folks, I find that a hopeful sign, John acknowledging we've been waiting for four years, but I believed that he might believe that we had to take action. But as recently as 10 or 12 days ago, while the rest of the world, including Claire and Emanuel, me, secretary -- excuse me, the Chairman of the Fed, all were saying we need some economic stimulus right now. They asked John McCain -- they asked John McCain what he thought, and John McCain, after warning us we can't wait four more years, hoping for our luck to change, John McCain's chief economic advisor says, as it relates, when it comes to this, jumpstarting the economy, he said well, we'll just have to wait and see. (Boos.)
Folks, the reason I tell you this is not to be critical of John. No really, we have a very different view. It's a very different and fundamentally different view of John's economic philosophy. How much longer does John have to wait to realize, how much more does he have to see to realize people need help now, right now! (Cheers, applause.)
Folks, Barack Obama, with Barack Obama as our president, we won't be waiting to change our luck, we will change our luck! We will take control and change our luck! (Applause, cheers) Folks, we'll embrace the most enduring American belief -- and Claire, I think it sort of epitomizes who Barack is. I mean, when I think of Barack, if they asked me to describe Barack and I think the essence of Barack Obama is this basic fundamental American belief which is we do not have to accept circumstances the way they are. We have the power to change our circumstance -- (applause, cheers) -- and change it we will!
We'll cut taxes for the middle class! (Cheers, applause.) We'll give tax breaks to corporations that stay in America instead of going overseas! We'll have an energy policy that frees us from foreign oil, creates an environment -- we'll invest in rebuilding America, our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our infrastructure, broadband for all America! Creating 39,000 new jobs right here in Missouri! (Cheers, applause.) And we'll guarantee that every American has affordable, available health care. (Cheers, applause.)
And you college students -- you college students and all those of you aspiring to go to college, and all the parents wondering how you're going to get your child to college, we'll make a simple deal with you. We're going to broaden the definition of national service -- not just -- not just military service, which I'm proud of -- and our son is on his way to Iraq and Sarah Palin's son is there, and John's son -- not just military service, as admirable as it is, we're going to broaden the notion of national service. If you serve underserved communities -- hospitals, schools, senior centers -- we'll get you to college! We will get you to college! (Cheers, applause.) It's in our nation's interest to do it. It's not only the right thing to do, it's a necessary thing to do. My wife has an expression, any country that out-educates us will out-compete us. We cannot allow that to happen. (Cheers, applause.)
Folks, at the end of the day -- at the end of the day, Claire and I know, as well as all of you, it's all about jobs. And ladies and gentlemen, it's actually -- a job is actually more than a paycheck. A job is about dignity, about respect, about how you're able to view yourself. You know, when a job is lost or a house is foreclosed on, it's not just an economic loss, it's emotionally devastating for a family. It's about a parent having to make that long walk up a short flight of stairs, like my dad did when I was 10 years old, and walk into the child's bedroom and say, honey, I'm sorry -- I'm sorry but Daddy lost his job or Mommy lost her job. You can't go back to the same school you're in, honey. We're going to have to move.
Where we moving daddy? Well I don't know yet honey, I'm not sure.
Daddy, what's foreclosure mean? Well it means, honey, we didn't have enough money to pay the bank. We didn't have enough money to pay the bank so, honey, the bank has said we can't live here anymore.
Well, Daddy, where are we going? I don't know, honey. But it's going to be alright.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not theater, this is reality. That conversation has taken place in 36,000 homes here in Missouri -- 36,000 times this year, that conversation has taken place. So folks, Claire, Barack, Emanuel, Joe Biden, we all share one basic fundamental notion. If we can help Wall Street and to save the overall economy we have had to, we sure in heck can help 3rd Street and all the streets here in Lee's Summit. (Cheers, applause.)
It's time to act. Stop waiting, it's time to act. Folks, look, at the end of the day -- at the end of the day, if we want -- if at the end of the day, if we want -- if we want to strengthen the middle- class, which we do, if we want to regain the respect of the world, which we must, we have to do one more thing and it has nothing to do with legislation or policy. We have to -- and I want you to listen to me closely because some of you will be mad at us, but we mean it -- we have to unite this country ladies and gentlemen. (Cheers, applause.)
If there's anything, if there's anything that brought Barack and me together, while we were running separately for the nomination and now we're running together, it has been the one consistent theme we've each had from the moment we set out on this course. And that is, ladies and gentlemen, a country divided cannot lead the world, not a joke. I know most of these world leaders, many of them by their first names because I got elected when I was 29 and I came up with them. One of the first things they ask me in their offices, when the -- the presidents and foreign ministers, are you as divided as you seem? Because they know divided America can't lead the world. And ladies and gentlemen, a divided, a divided America, cannot produce the results we need for the middle-class.
Claire and I and Emanuel are going to have to reach out when this is over. This can't be a Democratic solution. We need Republicans in the Congress to join us. (Applause.) We need to bring this country back together. And quite frankly, quite frankly John McCain and Sarah Palin have made it more difficult the last couple of weeks.
Over the past couple of weeks, in my view, in my view, Claire, the McCain campaign has actually gone over the top here. I think they've gone over the top. They're taking a very low road to the highest office in the land. It's not only -- it's not only George Bush's economic policies that John McCain and Sarah Palin have bought hook, line and sinker, it's Karl Rove's brand of politics. (Boos.)
And by the way, you are seeing in your state, those robo-calls coming into people's homes. Those scurrilous attacks and lies about Barack Obama. I quite frankly never thought I'd see it from the McCain campaign. I never thought I -- I have to admit to you to, and I'm not naive, I've been around a while -- they're calling Barack Obama every name in the book. But ladies and gentlemen, listen to me closely. Tomorrow night they'll have to call Barack Obama something else -- the 44th president of the United States of America! (Applause, cheers.)
Now folks, America -- America and all Americans are ready. They're ready to get back up. America is ready for this change. You're ready for this change! I'm ready for this change! Barack Obama is ready! (Cheers, applause.) It's our time! It's America's time. So get up, Missouri! Take back this country we love so dearly.
May God bless you all and may God protect our troops! Get up Missouri, let's go! (Cheers, applause.)