(CHARLESTON, W.V.) - Joe Biden campaigned in the Republican-leaning state of West Virginia today, promising he and Barack Obama would unite a country divided by negative attacks and the rhetoric of political parties.
Biden made reference to a young woman in the crowd named Chaylee Cole, who recently was in the news when she was let go of her job at a call center after refusing to read a McCain script about Barack Obama being associated with terrorists.
"Chaylee recognized that regardless of your personal politics ... attacks like that are out of bounds," said Biden.
Cole, 18, spoke with CBS News before the event, saying she was glad she was let go because "Obama or McCain, I wouldn't have done it either way. If it was an anti-McCain, if it was anti-Obama, I wouldn't have done it because the decision I made wasn't politically-based. It was a decision between right and wrong."
"I mean I know where I was working at, there was at least eight people in my group that didn't want to do it. But , you know... they have families, they have bills, they have to stay."
Asked what bothered her about the message she was told to repeat over the phone, that Obama was associated with people who tried to bomb the Pentagon, Cole said, "I don't know if it's true. I'm not the person who would call people and tell them lies about somebody else. I didn't make one call."
Biden praised her during his speech, which was peppered with comic jabs at the rival ticket.
"Folks, John McCain is now attacking the Bush budget and Bush fiscal policies which he voted for... this is as crazy as Butch Cassidy attacking the Sundance Kid!" yelled Biden.
"I know Halloween is coming, but John McCain as the candidate of change? Whoa, come on. John McCain 'change'? He needs a costume for that," said Biden smugly.
Speaking to many of the United Mine Workers who showed up in white Obama ballcaps by the dozens, Biden stressed an importance on clean coal technology.
"Ladies and gentlemen, John McCain does not believe that clean coal is part of our future. Don't take my word for it, take his word for it. Here's what he said, quote, 'In a perfect world, we'd like to transition away from clean coal entirely.' Now that does not sound like a guy who's attacking us saying we're not for clean coal," said Biden.
"So John, if you're listening, stop this malarkey about who's for clean coal! Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake about it, the oil companies have placed their bets on Sarah Palin and John McCain, not on Barack Obama and Joe Biden. That's why Appalachia can't afford to go with McCain and must go with Obama."
The McCain campaign shot back, saying, "Biden recently affirmed his long-held opposition to coal power when he said an Obama-Biden administration would aim to have 'no coal plants here in America.'"
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt referred to a YouTube video from a Biden event in Ohio where he made the remark. Since then, Biden has said that he thinks Americans should invest in clean coal technologies, but mainly to sell them to countries overseas, like China, that have "dirty coal plants."
While the majority of his speech focused on the economy, as it has for the past several weeks, Biden described his vision of the emotional effect that the economy's losses will have on families.
"The longest walk for a parent is to be told that they're about to be foreclosed on and having to walk up that flight of steps to their daughter's bedroom, or their son's bedroom, and say 'Honey, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. You're not going to be able to finish school here this year. We're going to have to leave. We're going to have to move. 'Where we going, Mom?' I don't know. I don't know. I'm not sure.' It's devastating," said Biden somberly.
Biden takes his campaign to Virginia tomorrow, where polls show a tightening race between the two tickets.