Crowds of people filled the intersection of 31st and Chestnut streets Tuesday morning in anticipation of hearing Vice President Joe Biden speak at the Hillary for America National Voter Registration event at Drexel University. American flags and bunting, as well as signs with the slogan “Stronger Together,” covered every surface of the inside of the building.
In the wake of the previous night’s first presidential debate, people were eager to hear Biden’s response to the candidates’ performances.
“I want to hear what Joe [Biden] has to say about the debate last night. Trump told a lot of lies, and I want answers,” Drexel freshman Tran Mai said.
Biden’s speech lived up to the expectations of several attendees.
“If this isn’t clear [now], then I don’t know,” Biden said, in reference to the candidates’ behavior.
Biden directly addressed students, emphasizing what he called the generation’s tolerance, generosity and progress, but also its disengagement in politics because of a “dysfunctional” Washington.
“I know ... [that] a lot of students on campus are frustrated ... and [are] not thrilled with the choices,” Biden said. However, he assured spectators that a vote for Hillary is a vote for the “progress” of the last eight years of the Obama administration and a vote that will benefit students and their lives to come.
“Students are what make America great in the first place,” Biden said.
He also underscored the importance of not just college attendance, but also job training and apprenticeship programs.
Embracing his unofficial moniker, “Middle Class Joe,” Biden argued that issues including debt, taxes, retirement, social security and healthcare would suffer under a Trump administration. He asserted his belief that the middle class is an integral component of stability and progress and that Clinton is the only suitable candidate to keep that progress going.
Biden further described Trump as part of the “rigged system” of a corporate culture in dire need of a switch from “short-termism” to a more far-sighted approach. “What bothers me about this race is how palpable his cynicism is about this country ... Can you imagine Ronald Reagan saying it is ‘good business’ to profit off of people’s misery?” Biden said.
Other speakers at the event included Democratic senatorial candidate Katie McGinty, who is running against the Republican incumbent Pat Toomey, as well as Democratic congressional candidate Dwight Evans.
However, while all the speakers touched upon the frustrations of the American people and their disapproval of Trump, there was an overwhelming message of positivity and hope.
Biden said we stand upon the precipice of “the most optimistic time in modern history,” adding “we own the future; we own the finish line.”
Similarly, in her speech, McGinty quoted President Obama, urging spectators, “Do not boo, vote.”
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