When Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden stopped in Athens Wednesday for a political rally, he received a warmer reception than the first time he came to Ohio University.
Biden told about 2,000 people he was detained by police in the 60s for accidentally entering an all-female dorm when he visited OU as a halfback on the University of Delaware football team.
It was only a temporary detention, and I was let go, Biden said.
In his speech at the Athens County Fairgrounds , Biden highlighted the role of Ohios middle class in the Nov. 4 election with fellow Democrats Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray and Gov. Ted Strickland, who said Appalachian Ohioans deserve good representation in the White House.
We believe that if Obama and Biden are embraced by Southern and Southeastern Ohio, this election will be over, Strickland said. There will be no doubt who the winner will be. Biden also said that Ohioans are the center of the election and that they will most likely determine who wins the election.
Ohio represents the industrial powers in this country as well as the emerging cities as well as the rural areas that are some of the most beautiful parts of the nation, he said.
Biden said whether hes in Ohio or across the nation, he meets families that share the same concerns including obtaining health care, keeping their jobs during the economic crisis and affording even one more semester of college for their children.
Whats the most notable to me is for the first two presidential debates and my debate with Sarah Palin, neither (Sen. John McCain or Palin) had the words middle class part their lips, he said.
Athens County Republican Chairman Pete Couladis said that the Democrats are playing class warfare games.
Theyre pandering, he said. They keep saying, well I say middle class more than you did, so I care more about it.
Biden said it isnt that McCain doesnt care about these problems, just that McCain doesnt understand them like Obama does.
Immediately after inauguration, an Obama administration would start working to restore Americas image around the world and rebuild the middle class, Biden said.
Melody Sands, an Athens resident, said that she is voting for Obama and Biden because they are concerned about bringing jobs to areas like Athens and making education more affordable.
Kids from southeastern Ohio are the ones going to war because few of them can afford an education, she said. They think that they can go into the army and that theyll get taken care of.
While soldiers can receive a free education, Biden said that he and Obama would expand national service to include serving in schools and hospitals and offering other community services so more people can afford an education.
You serve your country, we guarantee you go to college, Biden said.
Jackie Brown, a volunteer at the Athens County Republican Headquarters, said that she didnt understand where the money for such a promise would come from.
Would it be like the poor people get a free ride and the kids who come from wealthier families pay more? she said.
Courtney Astolfi, a freshman studying journalism who attended the rally, said that school has become too expensive.
Here at OU, tuition has gone up, and theres no way that a lot of people are going to be able to pay for it unless things are changed, she said.
Chris Caputo, a freshman studying Spanish and international studies, said that she didnt think McCains economic plan would help anyones situation.
There wont be nerly as many jobs if McCain and Palin get elected, she said.
Biden said that he and Obama would spend $60 billion over the next 10 years to create two million jobs for workers to build infrastructure and sewer systems, to fix dilapidated schools and to foster other building opportunities. He added that 76,000 of these jobs would come to Ohio.