CHARLESTON Blue and white Change We Need signs engulfed part of downtown Charleston Friday morning as Democratic vice presidential running mate Sen. Joe Biden stopped in town.With police officers positioned on the roofs of surrounding buildings, Gov. Joe Manchin, Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Robert C. Byrd introduced the vice presidential hopeful.Rockefeller referred to Biden as no average Joe as the Delaware senator stepped out from presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obamas state campaign headquarters in Charleston to a roaring crowd of supporters in the middle of Capitol Street.Biden offered encouraging words to a mixture of veterans, students, union members, senior citizens and the working class about what he and Obama will do if elected.We have two major goals in this election. We need to restore the middle class in America, and we need to restore the respect for America again around the world, he said.Biden offered praise to Byrd for helping him in the United States Senate when he was elected in 1972, saying that West Virginians should be honored to have one of the greatest and most historical leaders of the time.Learning about the Senate from Robert Byrd is like taking a trumpet lesson from the angel Gabriel, Biden said.He and Obama plan to compete until the very end in this state, and he said he will bring the 1,500 West Virginians deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan home.The senator wasted no time in addressing the opposition and mocking their continual use of the term maverick.Im a maverick, Biden said sarcastically. Theyre all mavericks.Biden told the crowd that Sen. John McCain cant call himself a maverick when all hes been for the past eight years is a sidekick.Biden went on to speak of Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palins recent stop in North Carolina where she addressed the state as a pro-America region of the country.We all love our country. Were all patriotic, Biden said. Its time to remind McCain and Palin we are one nation.We have to unite this country. We can no longer be this red and blue.Jobs were also discussed by Biden, who said Its not about loosing your job. Its about loosing your dignity.Biden said investing in the infrastructure of America and the future would help create more jobs including 12,000 in West Virginia.Biden aims to redefine the term service to your country beyond military duty.He said if young people help those in rural areas, senior citizens or are employed in the medical field, then an Obama/Biden administration would guarantee that you go to college.Biden ended his 30-minute speech by telling West Virginians that its time to get up.Ladies and gentlemen, I have never seen a time when more Americans have been knocked down and getting no help from their government. Its time for us to get up, together, and bring the change we need.Get up West Virginia, Biden said. It is time to get up. I want you to get out. You can vote early.Following his speech and cheers from the crowd, Biden accompanied by Manchin, Rockefeller and Byrd made rounds to meet with those in attendance.Former West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot and candidate for secretary of state Natalie Tennant the only female Mountaineer at WVU was pleased by Bidens speech.I thought he was wonderful. It shows the role West Virginia can play in the national election, she said.A registered Republican, Adam Wolfe of Fairmont, was uncertain to whom hed vote for before Bidens speech.Ive never been to anything like this, and maybe it will help make a decision. I like Joe Bidens ideas, Wolfe said.Another attendant, Mike Tavakoli of St. Albans, W. Va., was impressed with Bidens oratory.He was a much better speaker than they portray him on news channels seems on news networks they show segments of him stuttering or inarticulate, Tavakoli said. (Biden) spoke with conviction. Some other candidates seem lifeless or rehearsed.
This story was written by Chris Jackson, The Daily Athenaeum