Campaign promises and impassioned pleas for votes were on the menu for Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday when he became the first candidate to visit Missouri Western’s campus during an election year.
Biden minced no words on hot button topics such as the economy and tax relief to the sold out crowd of over 600 students, faculty and community members at M.O Looney complex Thursday morning. In the nearly 40-minute speech, he reasserted the Obama-Biden ticket’s position on the economy and openly attacked the McCain campaign for forgetting the middle class voters.
“We don’t have the luxury of ignoring the middle class anymore,” Biden said. “It is not enough to just get us out of this immediate crisis. When we talk about change, we talk about a wholesale in the economic philosophy that got us in this hole. That change is not going to come from John McCain.”
Missouri is currently one of the most hotly contested battleground states and its 11 electoral votes are key to the McCain campaign. Missouri voted Republican in the last two elections and most current polls are in a near dead heat. The speaking event was part of a whirlwind two day campaign tour throughout Missouri which also made stops in four additional cities. The handlers for the campaign are using this tour to promote the campaign
and to finally flip Missouri to the democratic column for November. Biden acknowledged the economic hardships and the health care issues that have developed in Missouri and issued a challenge to the voters to look at their programs as superior.
“They just don’t get it,” Biden said. “They are using a recycled idea from the Right… Their answer is he’s going to give a tax credit, and the way he’s going to pay for that tax credit is to tax everybody who has health insurance.”
The event was announced the previous day and sold out nearly instantly. Beth Wheeler, director of external relations for Missouri Western, said that this was the cornerstone of enhancing campus awareness of national events.
“We worked hard to put this on at this short of notice,” Wheeler said. “We are amazed at the turnout of the community and we have extended the same invitation to Senator McCain and Governor Palin. We would love to do this again.”
Kay Barnes preceded Senator Biden as she also made her case to voters for herself and the Obama campaign. Barnes is currently in a highly contested congressional race with incumbent Sam Graves for the 6th district Congress seat.
“I’m happy to be in Buchanan County because you guys get it,” Barnes said. “[This campaign] is here with a clear plan, especially for the hard working American that have made our country so great.” The event attendees, who were predominately pro-Obama, did encounter McCain supporters before the event. The McCain group was discussing its views and making the campaign’s position known to the attendees. The group had noticeably stepped up their efforts in anticipation for the event during the week, but declined to comment about the event.