Biden highlights progressive issues in Clinton campaign stop

Joe Biden, former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidate, spoke at Clinton Community College in an overlapping Iowa visit with President Trump.

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Biden highlights progressive issues in Clinton campaign stop

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at Clinton Community College in Clinton, Iowa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Wyatt Dlouhy/The Daily Iowan)

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at Clinton Community College in Clinton, Iowa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Wyatt Dlouhy/The Daily Iowan)

Wyatt Dlouhy

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at Clinton Community College in Clinton, Iowa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Wyatt Dlouhy/The Daily Iowan)

Wyatt Dlouhy

Wyatt Dlouhy

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at Clinton Community College in Clinton, Iowa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Wyatt Dlouhy/The Daily Iowan)

Julia Shanahan, Politics Reporter

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Joe Biden, former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidate, made a campaign stop in Clinton on June 12 during a two-day Iowa visit, during which he rallied around working class families — similar to his first Iowa tour in early May.

“You hold the key to the gate, man,” Biden said to a room of around 200 mostly retired Iowans in regard to the high number of candidates coming through the state ahead of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.

Biden said he talks so much about the country’s middle class because there is an expectation for the middle class to grow.

“We’re no longer in a position where over half of America can say they are part of the middle class,” Biden said.

He also talked about the national debt and predicted that at some point, the debt is going to reach a point Congress will not be able to sustain, and that if a Republican is in office, they would likely cut Medicare and Social Security.

Other issues Biden highlighted were affordable education, health care, and climate change. He said he wants to finish the job he started with health care, referring to the Affordable Care Act he worked on with former President Barack Obama.

“Look at all the people that don’t have health care and don’t have preventative action,” Biden said. “I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act … we have to do more.”

On climate change, Biden said one of the first things he did when he was elected as VP was talk to a Pentagon official who warned him about the imminent danger of rising sea levels around the world. Biden said he would address climate change by investing in electric vehicles and eliminating fossil-fuel emissions.

Anna Knapp, a retired nurse and 70-year Clinton resident, said Social Security and affordable health care are two of the most important issues to her during in the election.

“I don’t want [Social Security] to lose any funds because I live on Social Security and a pension, and if I don’t have one, then I have to go back to work,” Knapp said.

Knapp said Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are her favorite candidates so far, but she feels overwhelmed with the number of Democratic candidates in the field. She will pick the candidate who she feels will be best-suited to beat President Trump, she said.

Biden is in the state at the same time as Trump, just days after the Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame Celebration, which Biden did not attend. The Hall of Fame Celebration was the largest gathering of Democratic candidates so far this election cycle, but Biden said he attended his granddaughter’s graduation.

“Yesterday was an interesting day in that the president was in Iowa,” Biden said. “So now he’s going to save farmers, save the community, and deal with rising rivers and global warming, but as long as you don’t live near a wind mill — they cause cancer.”

Biden was referring to an assertion by Trump in which he said wind mills cause cancer. The false claim was met with dismay from Iowa’s Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.

On June 11 in West Des Moines, Republican Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann introduced Trump and called out Biden, labeling him “Sleepy Joe,” a name Trump coined for Biden on Twitter when he announced his candidacy. Kaufmann also referred to the Hall of Fame celebration as a “clown show.”

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