I had the pleasure of volunteering at a Joe Biden event last night here in Sarasota. In Booker Highschool’s gymnasium (the school Syesha attended, for you Idol fans), a standing-room only crowd gathered. My team of folks helped the elderly and disabled in and took care of them, two elderly ladies had a hard time with the heat and it was my honor to walk them into the gym and fuss over them with water and attention.
Senator Biden showed up just about on time, not bad for having done three previous events yesterday. He gave a twenty minute speech that was very well delivered and very well received, followed by an hour of question and answer.
The crowd was very receptive. Sen. Biden lived up to his reputation of being able to speak straight-forwardly and honestly and convinced your humble reporter that he truly believes what he says.
The local news covered the event in full force, here is a summary of the early part of the event for those of you who want the Cliff Notes:
And for those who would rather hear the whole thing, here it is in two movements:
During the question and answer session Sen. Biden told the volunteer carrying around the microphone to chose himself who to give the mic to, making it entirely clear that there was nothing pre-ordained in the questioning.
A Highschool senior asked Senator Biden what he and Senator Obama would do if they were elected to help make college available to her and and her classmates:
Next was a person who would like to know how the two Senators would manage to work with Congress to enact their plans:
Someone wanted to know how Senator Biden would handle the debates with Gov. Palin:
The fourth person with the microphone was a Republican, from a family who has voted a straight party ticket since Lincoln. I will let her speak for herself:
Joe Biden fielded a question about the use of coal from an attendee who was very much against the environmental impact, and provided a very aware and nuanced understanding of the issue:
(sic)”In China they have huge amounts of low-grade coal, and are building two new coal-fired power plants every week to supply their growing nation, just as we did when we were a growing country. And they are not going to stop. The pollution from China is now coming across the pacific and causing health concerns on the US west coast. It is imperative that we continue to develop technologies to cleanly use coal as a power source, and we will be able to export that technology overseas, creating more American jobs while cleaning the air that we all breath.”
The final question was (sic) “There are many who live here who make a lot of money – more than $250,000 – how do I talk them about the fact that their taxes will go up?”
The Senator’s answer touched on the fact that they will have the same tax rates that they had during the Reagan era, that they will not have to give up their second homes or their cars “which they deserve – they’ve earned them”, and spoke to the fiscal realities of a country that has spent a trillion dollars on a war and lost the middle class.
It was a very positive event, Senator Biden handled the questions with respect for all sides of every issue, and from a depth of knowledge. Best of all, as he left the gymnasium, I got to shake hands with the next Vice President of the United States, and I felt very comfortable supporting him for the job.