V.P. candidate Joe Biden visits ECU
Sen. Joe Biden holds his new ECU baseball cap as he takes the stage to address the crowd assembled near Mendenhall Student Center Oct. 27.
(Oct. 27, 2008)
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) visited East Carolina University Oct. 27 to rally voters in support of Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
The vice presidential candidate took the stage outside ECU's Mendenhall Student Center wearing an ECU baseball cap. A crowd of about 500 ECU students and Greenville community members turned out to welcome him to campus.
Biden's speech focused on the troubled economy, the policy differences between the presidential candidates and why voters should cast their vote for Obama and Biden on or before Nov. 4.
"This election is about you," Biden told the crowd. "You saw the debates. You heard the policy positions of both the teams. You've seen me and Barack in North Carolina at least 10 times since the convention. And Lord knows, you've seen enough television commercials. Now, it's time to choose."
Biden said if elected, he and Obama would work to restore the middle class in America by making affordable health insurance available to all and investing in alternative energies and the nation's infrastructure.
"We estimate that by investing in infrastructure over the next 10 years, we'll create 60,000 new, high-paying jobs right here in North Carolina," he said.
Biden said, ultimately, this election is about jobs. He mentioned North Carolina's loss of textile jobs in recent years and the rising number of home foreclosures throughout the United States, including 35,700 in North Carolina.
"If we can help Wall Street, it sure seems to me, we should be able to help Evans Street, and all the streets here in Greenville," he said.
Biden compared the economic policies of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to those of President George W. Bush. Drawing some of his biggest cheers, Biden referred to something his friend and colleague Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) recently said about McCain: "You can't call yourself a maverick if you've only been a sidekick for eight years."
Biden also pledged to work with Obama to end "responsibly" the war in Iraq, restore the respect for America around the world and work for tax cuts for small business owners and working people.
For the students in the crowd, Biden spoke of Obama's plan to expand America's definition of "service" to include, not just military service, but commitments to underserved communities, hospitals and schools.
"We'll make a simple deal with you, just like we have with the military," he told the students. "You serve your country; we will get you to college."
Biden's message resonated with ECU students who attended the rally.
Emily Mosman and Erica Cudic, both sophomores at East Carolina University and first-time voters, missed class Monday morning to see Biden's speech.
Cudic said she connected to Biden's remarks about ending the war in Iraq. For Mosman, it was his emphasis on the future that inspired her: "He talked about it really being our future that is going to be affected by this vote," she said.
After the rally, the women were heading to the early voting site at ECU's Newman Center.
Another ECU student attending the rally was Benjamin Herring, 20, of Clinton. The business major said he came out to the event to see the vice presidential nominee for himself.
"I didn't know much about Joe Biden," he said. "I wanted to see him first hand and see what he is all about."
Herring also plans to vote early for Obama-Biden and has been encouraging his friends and girlfriend to get more involved with the presidential election.
That type of involvement is what Congressman G.K Butterfield, who represents North Carolina's First Congressional District, said is needed in eastern North Carolina leading up to Nov. 4.
Butterfield, who introduced Biden, also pushed an economic message. "America's working fa