Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
“Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe!” chanted an enormous crowd of nearly 4,000 as Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden took the stage in Media to address the economy, attack Senator John McCain, and excite voters about the upcoming Presidential election.
“I thought that it was an inspirational call to arms from Obama’s second in command,” said Linnet Davis-Stermitz ’12. Along with 50-some Swatties, Davis-Stermitz attended the event with great anticipation and excitement. It was “a great reminder of how strong the ticket is on the top and bottom,” she continued.
For some Swatties, it was their first time at a political event. Arik Davidson ’11 said, “As a southern California resident, I’ve never gotten to see to a candidate for national office in person.”
“To watch a full stump speech, rather than short media bites, was nice and motivating,” he reported.
Despite difficulties with van shuttle transportation after the event, Swatties at this political event had a remarkable and memorable time.
After notable introductions from Governor Ed Rendell and wife Jill Biden, Senator Biden stepped on the stage to thunderous applause and cheers. In his 30-minute stump speech, Senator Biden covered topics ranging from America’s current economic troubles, flaws in the healthcare system, and the need to withdraw from Iraq.
Dressed in a rolled-up blue buttondown shirt and green khaki pants, Biden primarily focused on addressing the concerns of the American middle-class. “All those people who’ve played by the rules, worked hard, and did what was asked for them to do, they deserve a government as good as they are and an economy as strong as they are. They are getting neither of those now,” Biden declared.
In his speech, Biden attacked McCain as “profoundly out of touch with the American people.” Repeatedly asking “Where’s the change?” Senator Biden stressed the failed policies of the Bush Administration and McCain’s likelihood to continue the status quo. While Biden said he respected for McCain as a ex-POW, he said, “America deserves more than a brave soldier, it deserves a wise leader.”
The Swatties’ responses to Biden’s speech was mixed. While some students appreciated the Biden’s assertive attacks on John McCain and his polticies, others were surprised by Biden’s intermittent negative tone. A Swattie volunteer at the event, Kat Clark ’12 elaborated, “I found Biden to be a great speaker and a terrific complement to Senator Obama. I was particularly impressed with how forthright he was about the issues and his opponents…I think everyone was a little jolted when he said: ‘I am sick and tired of this Republican garbage. I am sick and tired of being told we don’t care.'”
Overall, the crowd and Swatties left the political rally energized and motivated for the election in seven weeks. With fierce conviction and strong language, Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden urged, “Ladies and gentlemen, the stakes couldn’t be higher the opportunities could not be greater. It’s time for America to get up! Let’s get up and change this nation now!”