With the General Election less than a week away, Vice President Joe Biden visited Sarasota Wednesday with the promise that he and President Barack Obama will continue to move this country “forward” — Obama’s campaign slogan — if the Democratic ticket wins Nov. 6 and is given a second term in office.
“There’s no quit in America,” Biden told a crowd of approximately 1,500 supporters at the Municipal Auditorium. “It’s never good to bet against America (referring to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s stance on the health of the country). If we win Florida, this race is over.”
Supporters lined up outside the building on a cool morning more than two hours prior to the doors opening in hopes of getting one of the few prime viewing spots in the auditorium. The atmosphere outside the building was calm — a direct contrast to Romney’s visit last month, where observers waited several hours and several protests broke out in 90-degree-plus temperatures at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.
Biden spoke for almost 45 minutes, spending nearly the first 15 minutes attacking Romney, saying“he’s elusive on issues.” He also spoke on several weighty matters, including the economy, job creation, Medicare, taxes and troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, and mentioned Romney’s now infamous 47 percent quote, in which the former governor of Massachusetts was secretly taped saying, “47 percent of Americans feel entitled to government handouts” during a private fundraiser in Boca Raton.
Biden’s strongest point of the day was on women’s rights, and the push for women to have equal pay for jobs, along with equal insurance coverage laws the Obama administration has helped pass. Biden, who called women’s rights “the sleeper issue of this election,” brought up the question posed to Romney at one of the presidential debates about equal pay for women and jobs in his Massachusetts cabinet and said the GOP candidate “started talking about binders.” Biden actually pulled a binder from the podium to emphasize his point.
“He said ‘I’ve got a binder full of qualified women,’” Biden said in repeating Romney’s answer from the debate. “All he had to do was come knock on my door, and I would have pointed out some women who were more than qualified.
“All kidding aside, those binder comments spoke volumes, and guess what — he never did answer the question.”
As Biden exited the stage, chants of “four more years” emanated from the crowd. Supporters said they were happy with the event, with Nokomis resident Gary Howland, who works for the Sarasota County School District and drives special-needs children from North Port to Venice Elementary, saying, “The enthusiasm was fantastic.”
Venice resident Harvey Davis agreed.
“This is what Joe does … he’s got an energy that transmits,” Davis said. “I think this was a great crowd and it’s a good cross-section of America. I’ve been to Romney’s events, and they’re bland. These are the topics of America, and I feel that Joe touched on that. He talked about the character of the two candidates, and that to me is the most important issue here because Romney has been changing positions forever.”