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In Greeley, Biden pledges to restore America’s middle class

JIM RYDBOM/jrydbom@greeleytribune.com
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A day after Sarah Palin riled up the Republican base in Grand Junction, Colorado, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden came to Greeley, Colorado, on Tuesday to call out the Bears of the University of Northern Colorado.

Biden spoke at the UNC to an enthusiastic crowd in the loud , echo-y Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.

Biden arrived to “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen with people all around wildly waving “Change We Need” signs.



“Hello, Greeley,” Biden said. “The bears are coming out of the woods.”

It was a comment from Biden that showed he knew his surroundings, many in the audience of 3,875 estimated by the Barack Obama campaign were students from the UNC.



Before his comments, Maggie Fox, Rep. Mark Udall’s wife, spoke as did Greeley City Councilman Charles Archibeque.

“I am a registered Republican,” Archibeque said. “As I look around, I see a lot of signs going up that we need a change. … I’m voting for Obama.”

“America simply can’t afford four more years of the same policies,” Archibeque said before being drowned out by crowd. The Republican Party has changed, he added.

“I feel it has left me behind,” Archibeque said, later adding that McCain’s negative attacks on Obama and Biden helped change his mind on who should hold the presidency.

Both Archibeque and Biden’s introducer, Betsy Markey ” the Fort Collins Democrat running for Congress in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave ” said that Obama’s tax plan would give 98 percent of Greeley residents a tax cut.

“If we win the 4th Congressional District, you bet Barack Obama and Joe Biden are going to win,” Markey said.

Speaking of the economy, Markey said Greeley has felt the downturn.

“Our families have struggled to stay in their homes,” Markey said. “We cannot afford four more years of the same.”

Biden recognized people in the crowd, including Obama campaign co-chairperson Frederico Pena, former mayor of Denver. He also spent some time speaking about Markey’s race against Musgrave.

“How ’bout that Betsy?” Biden asked. “I should say Congresswoman Markey.”

Biden spoke about what retired Gen. Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama meant to the campaign, that just an hour earlier, he had gotten off the phone with Powell and that Powell had told him simply to win.

Biden ” echoing Palin ” appealed to residents to vote early through the mail or by casting an early ballot.

A lot can change between now and Election Day, he added.

“We’re going to fight for every single, solitary vote,” Biden said.

Biden brought with him tough talk on the economy and John McCain’s strategy to solve the United States’ financial crisis.

“For too many, the American dream is becoming a distant dream,” Biden said.

Following the still beating drum of tying McCain to President Bush, Biden struck at McCain ” a friend of his, he said.

“He doth protest too much,” Biden said, adding that McCain has bragged about voting with Bush 90 percent of the time.

“If it looks like a Bush, if it sounds like a Bush, if it votes like a Bush … ” Biden said.

At the same time, Biden sounded a bell of reconciliation with the Republican Party, something noticeably absent from Palin’s speech Monday in Loveland.

“These aren’t bad folks. They’re good people,” Biden said, saying the economic crisis will mean both Democrats and Republicans have to work to solve the problems.

Biden talked up a strong middle class and reclaiming the respect of the world for the United States. He said Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and that even President Bush has recently met with the Iraqi government to discuss a timeline for withdrawal of troops. Biden said under Obama’s plan, all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, that they’d give tax breaks to the middle class and that they’d work to stem the tide of foreclosures.

But most of all, we have to unite, Biden said right after calling for McCain to stop the negative advertisements about Obama.

“That’s who we’ve got to speak to ” is the indivisible nation,” Biden said.


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