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Biden slams McCain Palin in Michigan speech. Transcript, prepared remarks.

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Remarks by Senator Joe Biden--as prepared for delivery
The Case for Change
Saint Clair Shores, MI
Monday, September 15, 2008

Eight years ago, a man ran for President who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his Party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he'd been doing that for a long time.

That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that? Remember the promise to reach across the aisle? To change the tone? To restore honor and dignity to the White House?

We saw how that story ends. A record number of home foreclosures. Home values, tumbling. And the disturbing news that the crisis you've been facing on Main Street is now hitting Wall Street, taking down Lehman Brothers and threatening other financial institutions.

We've seen eight straight months of job losses. Nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance. Average incomes down, while the price of everything -- from gas to groceries -- has skyrocketed. A military stretched thin from two wars and multiple deployments.

A nation more polarized than I've ever seen in my career. And a culture in Washington where the very few wealthy and powerful have a seat at the table and everybody else is on the menu.

Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who's telling us the exact same thing:
This time it will be different, it really will. This time he's going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works.

We've seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original.

If we forget this history, we're going to be doomed to repeat it -- with four more just like the last eight, or worse. If you're ready for four more years of George Bush, John McCain is your man.

Just as George Herbert Walker Bush was nicknamed "Bush 41" and his son is known as "Bush 43," John McCain could easily become known as "Bush 44."

The campaign a person runs says everything about the way they'll govern. The McCain-Palin campaign has decided to bet the house on the politics perfected by Karl Rove. Those tactics may be good at squeaking by in an election, but they are bad if you want to lead one nation, indivisible.

I count John McCain as a friend. I've known him since before he was a Senator. If he needed my personal help, I'd go. He served our country bravely, nobly. But America needs more than a great solider, America needs a wise leader.

Take a hard look at the positions John has taken for the past 26 years, on the economy, on health care, on foreign policy, and you'll see why I say that John McCain is just four more years of George Bush. On the issues that you talk about around the kitchen table, Mary's college tuition, the cost of the MRI for mom, heating our home this winter -- John McCain is profoundly out of touch.

Senator McCain has confessed, quote, "It's easy for me to go to Washington and frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have." And he's right, if all you do is walk the halls of power, all you hear are the wants of the powerful.

I believe that's why Senator McCain could say with a straight face, as recently as this morning, and I quote "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." That, "We've made great progress economically" during the Bush years. But friends, I could walk from here to Lansing, and I wouldn't run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well, unless I ran into John McCain.

John McCain just doesn't seem to understand what middle class people are going through today. I don't doubt that he cares. He just doesn't think that we have any responsibility to help people who are hurting.

My dad used to have an expression: "Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value."
By that measure, John McCain doesn't stand with the middle class. He stands with George Bush firmly in the corner of the wealthy and well-connected. He stands with the CEO of Exxon-Mobil, who, while testifying before my Senate judiciary committee swore to me under oath that Exxon-Mobil didn't need the tax breaks they'd been given to explore for oil.

John McCain is so firmly in their corner he thinks the Exxon-Mobils of the world should get an additional $4 billion dollars a year in tax cuts.

He stands in the corner of the wealthiest Americans by extending tax cuts for people making over a quarter million dollars a year, and then adding more than $300 billion on top of that for corporations and the wealthy.

There is simply no daylight - at least none I can see -- between John McCain and George Bush.
On every major challenge we face, from the economy, to health care, to education and Iraq, you can barely tell them apart.

Don't take my word for it, look at the record. Ninety percent of the time, John McCain votes with George Bush.

Here's what that means:

When George Bush called for Social Security to be privatized, John McCain stood with him - he even campaigned for that roundly rejected plan.

When George Bush says that the government has no obligation to re-train or provide extended unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs due to trade agreements,

John McCain echoes that view, and has said that Bush is "Right on trade... absolutely."

When George Bush said we shouldn't investigate why the government's response to Hurricane Katrina was so incompetent, John McCain stood with him.

When George Bush initially opposed a new GI Bill that would send a new generation of veterans to college, John McCain stood with him, calling Senator Webb's effort too generous.

When George Bush blocked our efforts to provide health care to another 3.8 million children, John McCain stood with him.

And when, in early 2007, George Bush suggested that the health care benefits you get through your employer should be taxed as income, John McCain stood with him. And now, ladies and gentlemen, John McCain has resurrected that idea, and made it an essential part of his health care plan.

Issue after issue, vote after vote, the story is the same.

In the last 16 years, he's voted 23 times against the renewable energy - wind, solar, biofuels -- we need to free ourselves from foreign oil.

Since he arrived in the Senate over 20 years ago, he's voted more than 19 times against the minimum wage.

In 1994, I wrote and we passed a Crime bill that put 100,000 new police officers on the street, 3,300 of them here in Michigan, provided shelters and security for tens of thousands of battered women, and helped lead to an eight year drop in violent crime. John opposed the crime bill and the Violence Against Women Act it contained, calling them "ineffective" and "ill conceived."

Time and again John voted against increased funding for Pell grants to help families with incomes under $55,000 send their kids to college.

Time and again, John McCain voted to make it harder for women to achieve equal pay for the same work - making it harder to prove, and punish, discrimination. He even voted against a study to determine if there is a gap between what men and women are paid. Twice.

Governor Palin says all senators do is vote. Well, just imagine what the country would look like if John's votes had become the law of the land.

In John McCain's America, we wouldn't guarantee that more of energy would come from wind, solar, and other renewables. The minimum wage would still be $3.35 an hour. There would have been 100,000 fewer police on the beat. There would have been no national domestic violence hotline for the 1.5 million women who were in crisis and needed somewhere to turn.
Over 160,000 members of the Guard and Reserve who answered their country's call and served more than one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan would get no credit towards an education for their additional sacrifice. Fewer parents would be able to afford to send their kids to college. And women who were discriminated against on the basis of pay would more difficulty making their case. Thank God that's not the America we live in.

John McCain recently said: "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." Then he proved it by the advisors he chose to surround him - advisors who have further cocooned him from the reality facing the rest of us. People like Phil Gramm. The man who wrote John McCain's economic plan actually said, repeatedly, that we're not going through an economic recession. Phil Gramm says it's just a mental recession. That we're a nation of whiners.

Tell that to my friend who flew jets for the Navy and then went to work for a commercial airline for over 20 years - only to see his pension wiped out while his CEO got a golden parachute. Don't tell me that he is a whiner.

Don't tell me that the woman I met in Missouri who worked for the Chrysler plant for 13 years making minivans and lost her job when production moved to Canada is a whiner.

Don't tell me that an engineer who sees his job go overseas because his company has been given a tax break to leave instead of one to stay is a whiner.

Don't tell me that these people, people who are our nation's heart and soul - deserve to be treated as economic scapegoats.

These people worked hard, they did everything right, and they're willing to work hard again. But instead of their government supporting them, their government walked away from them. Nobody stood up for them.

Barack and I will.

What is John's response to the state of the economy? Let me quote him: "A lot of this is psychological." Let me tell you something: Losing your job is more than a state of mind.

It means staring at the ceiling at night thinking that you may lose your house because you can't get next month's mortgage payment. It means looking at your pregnant wife and not knowing how you're going to come up with the money to pay for the delivery of your child, since you don't have health care anymore. It means looking at your child when they come home from college at Christmas and saying "Honey, I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to send you back next semester." It's not a state of mind. It's a loss of dignity.

When you and your economic advisors are so out of touch, it's no surprise that your economic policies ignore the challenges that normal families face.

Let me just give you one more example. In the midst of this housing crisis, John McCain said, "I will fight for those that lost their... real estate investments." He went on to say, "It's not the role of government to bail out big banks or small borrowers." What about small borrowers? What about homeowners? What about the people who don't invest in homes, but live in them? There's an important distinction between the predators and the preyed upon.

I heard that a Republican County Chairman right here in Michigan said that they're keeping a list of foreclosed homes, suggesting that if you've lost your home, you should also lose your vote. I have a different idea. I think that if you're worried about losing your home, you should vote for the guys who are going to help you keep it!

Whatever happened to the guy, who once denounced tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in a time of war as immoral.

When someone running for election changes his views to satisfy the base of the party, that's not change, that's just more of the same Washington game. The problem is that in the Washington game today, the American people are losing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as of today, there are 50 days until Election Day. That's just seven more weeks to talk about the direction we're going to take this country, to talk about the issues of concern in your lives, to talk about you. But as his campaign manager has said, and I quote, "This election is not about issues."

When Senator McCain was subjected to unconscionable, scurrilous attacks in his 2000 primary campaign, I called him on the phone to ask what I could do. And now, some of the very same people and the tactics he once deplored his campaign now employs. The same campaign that once called for a town hall a week is now launching a low blow a day.

Barack and I can take it. That's not what bothers me.

It bothers me that -- as one media watchdog put it -- John's recent commercial is the, "latest in a number that resort to a dubious disregard for the facts." As another news organization put it: The wheels have come off the straight talk express.

But what really bothers me, is that every punch thrown at us --- is an attempt to distract you. And they can be plenty distracting.

Like the McCain advertisements that misrepresent a vote by Barack Obama to protect young children from sexual predators. Like Senator McCain's effort to obscure the fact that Barack Obama's tax cuts will benefit 95 percent of all working people. Like John McCain's attempt to cloak himself in reform by misrepresenting his running mate's record.

It's disappointing to me to think that John McCain really does approve this message.

Every false debate we're drawn into is a real conversation we don't have with the American people. Character attacks get media attention, but they make this election about us when it really needs to be about you.

Barack Obama believes that progress in this country is measured by how many people have a decent job where they're shown respect. How many people can pay their mortgage. How many people can turn their ideas into a new business. How many people can turn to their kids and say "It's going to be okay" with the knowledge that the opportunities they give will be better than the ones they received.

That's the American dream. That's what the people in my neighborhood grew up believing. And I want our kids to have the same dream.

Barack Obama starts from that vision of progress and will do what it takes to get us there.
That's why his tax cuts - benefit the middle class. That's why he'll make it easier for families to afford college for their kids. That's why he says everyone should be able to have the same health care that members of Congress have. That's why his energy plan will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring down gas prices, and, in the process, we'll create five million new green jobs. Those are the changes we need.

Yes, this campaign is about change, but it's about even more than that. It's about what we value as a people. It's not just about a job, it's about dignity. It's not just about a paycheck. It's about pride. It's not just about opportunity. It's about respect. That's why Barack and I are in this race.

We know we need change if we're to restore dignity, pride, and respect. We know America's best days are ahead of us, and we know why we're here.

We're here for the for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workers, the engineers and office workers, the small business owners and the retiree.

All of the folks who play by the rules, work hard, and do what is asked of them. They deserve a government as good and an economy as strong as they are.

We're all are Americans. There has never been a challenge too great. The stakes have never been higher.

My father always told me, "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up." It's time to get up. It's time to trust the grit and determination of the American people.

America is ready. You are ready. I am ready. And Barack Obama is ready. Our best days are yet to come.

May god bless America and may God protect our troops.


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18 Comments

Good column. I share your sentiments.

Did you see/hear Bill Maher on Larry King's show a couple of weeks ago?

His best line: "Americans are too stupid to be governed."

That's obviously been true for the past eight years. Here's hoping the trend doesn't
continue.

If only they could win.

I trusted a peanut farmer (Jimmy Carter) and he gave away the Panama Canal. I trusted a slick lawyer from Arkansas and he crippled our intelligence network and gave away defense critical weapons and information. Now you ask me to trust the most junior Senator with 143 days experience as senator and no executive experience, no budget authority, no military experience, and no foreign relations experience? I seriously doubt it.

Let's see, the GOP runs untruthful ads and the sweet and pure little Democrats are just victims, right? That is pure hogwash. The Democrats virtually invented dirty campaigning and have putrefied every election in my lifetime with false accusations, lies, phony vote counts, multiple votes per individual, and dirty tricks. The liars can’t even agree amongst themselves in their own primaries. The reason is they know what they are up against – each is as sleazy as the next. The difference has been that the media has always looked the other way. When I see a headline that refers to “THE ONE” as a “MISOGYNIST PIG”, my feelings regarding the press may begin to change.
Nixon learned his dirty tricks from the Democrat dirty trickster who sabotaged his campaign when he ran for governor of California and then wrote a book bragging about it. In one of the closest Presidential elections in US history, in 1960 Nixon again lost to Kennedy by margins in both IL and TX by amounts larger than the total number of registered voters. Why do you think Democrats are insistent on NOT requiring ID’s to vote? They need ID’s to drive, to cash a check, to get a library card, to get a job, to buy a house or rent an apartment, to get medical care, to open a checking account . Are we to believe it is to not inconvenience them? Or is it so every Democrat can go back to the polls 15 times and re-cast their ballot? Hmmm, I wonder.
Remember the "Daisy ad" that lied about Goldwater? The last 2 times out, Democrats ran phony ads telling black voters that the GOP was out to keep them from voting. It is a never ending stream of rank BS from those that actually have the “audacity” to cry foul over RESPONSES to their slimy tactics.
Again, in the 2000 & 2004 campaigns, which Democrats are still crying about, The Miami Herald, a mullet wrapper, driveway liner liberal rag if there ever was one, spent over $500,000 of its own money to “prove” Bush lost. Their conclusion; he won both times. I guess that reaffirms that most democrats don’t read.
For the last 40 years the democrats have scared the elderly in the country to death with lies about Republicans cancelling social security. The myopic souls don’t even realize that in GWB’s first term, he and a Republican controlled congress increased social security entitlements by the highest percentage ever to the highest dollar amount in US history. That, by the way, was an attempt to reach across the aisle and the only thing you hear from imbeciles on the left is the budget deficit is because of the war. Apparently they are too ill-informed to realize entitlements and education trump military spending 10:1.
In this campaign, Obama has been whimpering that the GOP was going to attack him because of his name and race (none of which has happened). As I recall, the lovely and charming Democrat party has given America the Ku Klux Klan, White Primaries, Poll Taxes, "voter literacy tests", Gerrymandering, Union thugs intimidating voters, the Daley machine, the Prendergast machine, Tammany Hall and , more recently, has registered tens of thousands of illegal aliens to vote.
In comparison the Republicans have delivered (not merely promised) the two most important contributions to American Civil Rights in American history- 1) Lincoln 2)Overcoming filibuster after filibuster to make sure the civil rights act of 1964 actually got passed over the fierce objections of ignorant, racist, Democrats.
This tribe of miscreants is unfit to govern. I simply wish they would spare us the tripe about unfair elections and mindless drivel about the virtues of Obama, the Democratic Party or its constituents.

Well, it's about time the facts about John McCain and Sara Palin are brought to the publics attention. This speech should make the rounds following every place that McCain and Palin deposit their lies and deception and absolute desire to put themselves ahead of all of us who need some relief and change from the last 8 years.

So, Mr. Biden, what you are going to do besides bash the other party?

Can't we behave as adults?

Stop the negative publicity and provide details of what you propose and how you are going to acheive the proposals (financially).

The truth is that neither party will reduce spending nor reduce government. Taxes will continue to go up to feed the blob, which we call the "government".

I agree 100% with Joe Bidden, and Obama, I cannot believe anyone could want another Bushie regime.. I think Joe said it all in his talk today.. now, if the people that are unsure would only read this important message.... My best wishes to you two, I have threatened to leave this country, if the Bushies have control again. It is too scay to think the American people sre that stupid/... JoanVredenburg.....

Amen,I like evry word you said and you are right with every thing you said. I am a white middle class women getting poorer every day.God bless you and Barack Obama I pray that you will be our next President and Vice President.If you two don't make it this is going to be a very difficult world to live in. Sincerly Emily Hemrich

WOW!!! Finally Obama has some help fighting these republican whack jobs. He's been left out there all alone for a long time. So it's good to see his VP running mate finally giving him a helping hand to fight the smears, myths and untruths. Republicans have been taken by storm as if this race is about all the things that they don't stand for. And for McCains running mante, let Michelle Obama step up there as a VP nominee with all them kids and a pregnant teenage daughter. You know the black stereotypes would be thrown all over the place. I just think it's unfortunate that that double standard is there as well as the fight Barack has to fight solely because he's a black man. All that he said leading up to this election has been done by the republicans. They are using all his good advice to act now. How hypocritical. If Obama wins it will be because of White America. Not Black America.

Biden continues to demonstrate why he is the best choice for vice president. His experience, knowledge and moral authority are unimpeachable in the face of the McCain/Palin falsehoods being launched everyday.

Incredible speech...Now is the time...this is the place. We need to focus our energies and support Obama and Biden. The opposition that has been bleeding us dry will NOt GO away easily, since like any addiction it wants to continue feeding itself and the cronies. Do NOT listen to the corporate run media that is telling you the opposition is stronger than you are. We need to stand up NOW and fight harder to take back our country. The world is watching and supporting us. Our children and grandchildren need us to speak for them now and in this way.

It is so good to see Biden back in stride. For those of you who've read the text of this speech, I urge you to see the complete video... it most probably will be on C-SPAN in it's entirety. It'll become more and more evident why Obama chose Biden.

Biden's speech has content as well as context. There's a passion in his delivery that's been missing in the Obama campaign. To this, I say... WELCOME JOE, WELCOME!

Many laugh at how wordy Biden is... that's really a giant negative about Joe Biden, it's truly a bummer when you have to listen to all that factual crap. All that boring information about how the dots are connected. What a waste of time to really understand causation, and the consequences of certain actions. I hate all that stuff.

Did you notice his hair plugs? He's probably trying to look good for his hot secretary. And, those racist remarks even directed to Obama, when he called him "clean and articulate."
Look... don't bother giving me all that bs about him being a champion of civil rights, and that stupid legislation he passed for women's rights. Give me a break!

Just before I go... did you hear what I heard about Brittany, and her being pregnant again? I wonder if it's really true. If so do you think it'll be a boy or girl? I sure hope it's a girl. If it is, I've got a great name for her.

...and, furthermore... All this uproar, about Obama, the one who talks about change... selecting as his running mate, of all people, Joe Biden, a Washington insider of 35 years.

Well, let's examine this for a moment. If I wanted to bring about 'change' I'd try to make sure the bills I want ennacted into law have the best chance of passage.

The job description for this sort of grunt work requires an ability to lubricate the legislative process. He'd have to be a consensus builder. Someone who is liked, and respected on both sides of the aisle. Someone with the experience to anticpate problems, before they occur. A person of unparalled integrity. A communicator whose lips are connected to his heart instead of the head.

Indeed, all of the above, while still being looked upon as just a regular kind of 'Joe.'

Robt and Doubtful: Instead of changing the subject, why not tell us where Biden is wrong about Bush 43/44.

Why is everybody quiet about the fact Biden was TWICE-caught for PLAGERISM? He got his son into MBNA and credit-card scheme which authorities are looking at. He acts like a tough guy but had 5 deferments (like Cheney) during VietNam. And has more relations with lobbyists then any other US Senator. ----not exactly change.

Just how long has Biden been in the Senate? His speech, like all political speeches are long on accusations and filled with platitudes for the crowd. What about the dot.com bust that helped flatten the market in 2001? Wait, lets blame that on Bush,also. What about the World Trade Center, which completed flattening the market? Bush's fault, also? Mortgage crisis, absolutely Bush's fault! It can't have anything to do with our corrupt, narcissistic members of Congress, can it? They, including Biden, McCain, and Obama have all been fiddling while the economy was booming. This present crisis didn't start unfolding until the third and fourth quarter of 2007. Where was the foresight from this illustrious bunch? McCain actually did try to take a stance against the investment banking industry, albeit a weak stance. Biden did nothing that I am aware of and Obama has been compaigning since the 2004 Dem. convention. The rhetoric from any of these individuals is pablum for infants!

SHE SHOULD BE SLAMMED BECAUSE SHE IS BEING USED
BIG TIME BY KARL ROVE, MCCAIN AND THE GOP, SHE
WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AFTER THIS LOSS!
THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT HER, SHE IS A PRETTY FACE
IN HEELS AND GLASSES, MAYBE THEY LIKE BEING AROUND
HER, THEY CAN'T WIN WITH HER AND IT'S SAD HOW
THEY ARE USING HER TO PLAY ON WOMEN'S FEELINGS!
SHAME ON THE GOP AND KARL ROVE AND MCCAIN!

so, uh, who was in control of congress during '01-06 when we had unheard of economic growth? And who took over in '06? why aren't we talking about how poorly things have gone since '06, and what's different? wouldn't it be Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

good grief. pull your head out people.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 15, 2008 10:31 AM.

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