Democratic vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, tells a Columbia audience that Republican John McCain has a compelling story, but that he is out of touch with average Americans.
Biden is stumping the state in his first appearance here since securing the vice presidential nomination of his party at the national convention in Denver.
Biden tells the crowd that the silence of McCain and running-mate Sarah Palin on the issues that affect the middle class is deafening. Biden says McCain is his friend and has shown great courage in fighting for his country, which led to his serving as a Prisoner of War in Viet Nam. Still, Biden insists McCain doesn’t understand the day-to-day concerns of Americans coping with a sagging economy and soaring gas prices.
Change has been the theme of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign since the beginning, mostly stemming from Obama’s opposition to the Iraq War. Biden notes that McCain and Palin have also adopted "change" as a theme, but Biden chides the Republican presidential ticket for talking change without outlining how it would bring about change. He and Obama have suggested that a vote for McCain is, in effect, a vote for a third term for President Bush, an attempt to link McCain with the unpopular president.
In contrast, Biden says he and Obama will bring about real change. One specific on the economy that Biden emphasized was a little-known tax break for corporations that actually provide an incentive for manufacturers to produce at foreign factories. He says the tax break costs $20 billion. Biden says he and Obama will turn that around and provide a $20 billion incentive to keep jobs in the United States.
Policy on the Iraq War also marks a difference between the two presidential tickets. Obama came out as an early opponent of the war, Biden less so. Biden, though, tells the Missouri audience that Iraq must shoulder more of the financial burden of the war. He says the war costs the United States $10 billion a month. Biden says Iraq, which he claims has a $79 billion surplus, must be required to pay for the country’s rebuilding.
Biden’s visits to Columbia and St. Louis comes a day after McCain and Palin campaigned in Lee’s Summit.