V.P. Joe Biden holds rally in Sarasota

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SARASOTA - As election days nears, candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard, trying to win over Florida's voters. Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden held a rally in Sarasota at the Municipal Auditorium.

About 1,500 people came out to see Biden, and he encouraged all of them to get to the polls and vote now -- which many say they've already done.

“I think that was the strategy of the campaign, to go ahead and do that, and it's a way of which we can help get other people out to the polls once we've gone ahead and voted. And that's what I seek to do from now until election day,” said Sarasota resident Lawrence Miller.

The rally started on a more serious note, with Vice President Biden talking about Hurricane Sandy, saying how proud the Obama campaign is of how the country has pulled together. “You all know, having been through it, that in a sense, the worst of it is when it's all over, when everybody else in the nation says, oh ok, it's over, and you all are digging out, still left there hanging.”

The vice president quickly got back on track. “But the president is wrong. They're not sketchy, they're etch-a-sketchy plans, they're out there shaking that etch-a-sketch, they're trying so hard to redirect this thing, the only place they're sticking to their guns, the only place they're being honest is saying they want to extend the bush tax cuts for the top percent.”

But the simple fact that Biden is campaigning in Sarasota is something Rita Ferrandino of the Sarasota Democratic Party says shows just how important our votes are. “You know these campaigns are all about the numbers. And what that says is Sarasota is in play, it's competitive, and that's why it's so exciting that Joe Biden is here a few days before the election.”

Vice President Biden's remarks about the auto industry while in Sarasota Wednesday:

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States rescued the automobile industry, saving one million jobs, creating 200,000 new jobs, good paying jobs you can raise a family on. GM is back. Chrysler is the fastest growing automaker in the world. And what’s happened? What’s Ryan’s and Romney’s response. Desperation. Desperation.

In the last hours of this campaign – I just came from Ohio – in the last hours of this campaign, if you can believe it, they’re running the most scurrilous ad in Ohio, and I mean this, I want you to listen – one of the most flagrantly dishonest ads I can ever remember in my political career. In the ad they’re running in Ohio, they said that President Obama forced Chrysler into bankruptcy – I’m paraphrasing, but they said – so quote – I don’t what they have against Italians – so the Italians could take over Chrysler and ship Jeep manufacturing to China. That’s what the ad says. That’s what the a says. It’s an outrageous lie, a lie that’s so deceptive and so patently untrue that the Chrysler Corporation, including the chairman of the board of Chrysler, they actually spoke up. They don’t want to get involved in presidential politics, but they spoke up. They called it, quote – I’m going to quote – “a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.” That’s the quote. I wouldn’t call these guys acrobats, I’d call them contortionists.

Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is, just recently, within the last couple of months, in Toledo, OH, not only has the Jeep plant been open and turning out cars, now it’s adding 1,100 new jobs to that shift.

Ladies and gentlemen, GM’s response to the false assertions these guys are coming up with in the last waning moments of the campaign – I love this quote – they said, quote, “they must be in a parallel universe.” That’s a quote from GM. GM went on to say, they called it campaign – this is a quote – “campaign politics at its cynical worst.” Have you ever heard an American corporation do that? In all my time, I’ve never heard an American corporation in the waning hours of a campaign give that kind of description of what a presidential candidate’s doing. That’s the best description of the cynical worst that I’ve heard of the Ryan-Romney ticket, the Romney-Ryan ticket, in this campaign.

And why are they doing this? Seriously, you’d think the facts – why would they? And they’re running these ads in places like Toledo. Now, why would they do that? But no, no – I think this is pretty important to understand. I really mean this. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe because it makes me so…so. I’m being a good Biden today.

Look, why would they do this? Why would they do this in the face of overwhelming facts contradicting them? I’ll tell you why I think: they’re trying to scare the living devil out of a group of people who have been hurt so badly over the last, the previous four years before we came to office. The last year before we were sworn in they lost 400,000 auto jobs. My state of Delaware was decimated. It had seen both its Chrysler and its General Motors plants close. Those folks in Ohio, in Lorrain and Toledo, they lost, some of them lost their homes after they lost their jobs. They lost - they’re back on their feet, they’re back. But they still feel the sting of what happened four years ago.

Because they’re running those ads in the very communities that were decimated by those policies, communities that had the most at stake in the automobile industry, these are the workers waking up in their communities just to see this ad. And guess what? They were calling, thousands of them calling their UAW reps. “Is it true? Is it true? Is Jeep really going to leave?” It’s the announcement they made, “Are you going to shut down our plant?” What a cynical, cynical thing to do.

You know, my dad used to have an expression. My dad had to leave Scranton, Pennsylvania, which we loved, and moved to Wilmington, which we learned to love, because there wasn’t enough work in the ‘50s. And after he got that job and we moved down, we came down a year after dad had set things up, my sister and I remember as my brothers do the constant expression. He’d always say when anyone lost a job, “Joe, remember, a job is about a lot more than your paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about your respect in the community.” To go out and try to scare these people for electoral reasons at the end, to say something that’s so untrue—look. Jeep is doing better, they’re going to grow. Jeep isn’t cutting jobs they’re adding jobs.

Politifact, the guys, the fact checkers they don’t look at, they called the ad “wholly inaccurate.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer in an editorial said, “It’s masterpiece in misdirection.” They said, I’m quoting, “Mitt Romney is desperate to convince Ohio voters that he’s a candidate, that the candidate must be committed to the U.S. auto industry, not matter how much confusion he must sow to do it.

Folks, I’ve not seen anything like this. Folks, the president’s job is not to sow confusion, it’s to plant the seeds of confidence. You’ve probably heard me say it before and I’ll say it again, presidential elections are overwhelmingly about character. They’re overwhelmingly about the character of [inaudible]. Character, character, character. It’s the most impressive trait and necessary trait a president must possess to lead the nation and the incredible people that we are. And my guy, your guy, Barack Obama has character. He’s got backbone like a ramrod. He has the character of his convictions. He does not engage in deception. He does not mislead. He says what he means and he stands by what he says.

And that’s one thing his opponent has not done. He has not stood by anything he has said. So ask yourself in this election, who do you trust? Who do you trust to be straight with you? To level with you? Who do you trust to stand up for the middle class? Who do you trust to stand up for America? Ladies and gentlemen, America does [inaudible]. We are not in decline, they are in denial.