Joe Biden, carrying the banner with Barack Obama off the campaign trail to be with his ailing grandmother, ventured today to challenging territory.
The Democratic vice presidential nominee was in West Virginia, which Obama lost badly in the Democratic primaries and which is dominated by the white, blue-collar voters who have been the most leery of him.
In Charleston, Biden appealed to working class voters on issues, such as the economy and clean coal. He also reached out on patriotism, referencing recent remarks made by his Republican counterpart, Sarah Palin, for which she has already apologized.
"Recently, in North Carolina, Governor Palin said she was happy to be in a 'pro-America' part of our country. I was just in North Carolina…and it is a deeply patriotic place," Biden said, according to prepared remarks. "But every state has sent its sons and daughters to serve and die for this country. West Virginia is home to over 200,000 veterans. Nearly 1,500 West Virginians are currently deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. And 33 of these fallen angels have given their lives. We all love this country. We are all patriots."
He then criticized automated phone calls attacking Obama from John McCain's campaign, introducing Chaylee Cole, a student at Fairmont State University who was fired from her job at a call center after refusing to make those calls.
Biden also ripped off a couple of new one-liners about McCain's attempts to distance himself from President Bush.
"In the last debate, John McCain felt the need to declare that he’s not President Bush. And just yesterday, John McCain actually went so far as to try to compare Barack Obama to George W. Bush. As my granddaughter says: Hello? John McCain is now attacking the Bush budget and fiscal policies. Folks, this is as crazy as the Sundance Kid attacking Butch Cassidy! They were in this together."
"Look, I know Halloween is coming," he added. "But John McCain as the candidate of change? That’s one costume the American people aren’t going to buy. So I know we’re not running against President Bush. But we are running against the very Bush economic policies John McCain is promising to continue."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.