Vice President Joe Biden Speaks At Chatham

Photo: Chatham first year, political science major, Scott Friedman, takes a selfie with Vice President Biden.
Credit: Janelle Moore
Kaylee Spitak

It was a cold Tuesday morning as members of Chatham and its surrounding communities lined up outside of the Athletics and Fitness Center in anticipation of the latest development in Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the 2016 Presidential Election. One of the last events to occur within the city of Pittsburgh as both Republican and Democrat political campaigns fight to gain the popular vote in the swing state of Pennsylvania,  Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, was scheduled to arrive on campus to continue campaigning for the Democratic Party.

The news of the Vice President’s arrival came with short notice on Sunday evening, less than two days before the event. Kaitlin Tomko, a senior Creative Writing major, said she had originally heard of the event through WTAE, and had then passed the information on to friends and family.

“I’m very pro-Hillary,” Tomko said. “So of course I’d be here. Biden is also an extremely enigmatic speaker, and I’m honored to hear what will probably be one of the last speeches he ever gives as Vice President of the United States.”

Kelli McDonough, Tomko’s friend, agreed. Also a senior, McDonough studies Homeland Security at CCAC. “This is my first time being at an event for Hillary,” McDonough said. “When I heard about this from Kaitlin, I had to come. I’m excited to hear what Joe has to say.”

Indeed, attendees were not disappointed.  The event included public figures such as Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers. “Donald Trump has not done anything that wasn’t good for Donald Trump,” Gerard said.

Other speakers included Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner, Mayor of Pittsburgh Bill Peduto, and Erin McClelland, a Chatham alumna running for the House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.

“As the Republican party reaches out with high walls and closed minds, our party has open arms and open minds, and we welcome you,” McClelland said. “We are making history. This is the first time in this country’s history that three women are running for office. This is our moment. We all must seize it.”

Jenna McGreevy, President of Chatham's College Democrats, introduces Joe Biden to the stage Photo Credit: Janelle Moore

Jenna McGreevy, President of Chatham’s College Democrats, introduces Joe Biden to the stage
Photo Credit: Janelle Moore

The momentum only continued as Joe Biden walked onto the stage. A Scranton local, Biden commented on finishing a tour of Chatham’s campus and reminisced about once being recruited for the University of Pittsburgh’s football team in his college days.

“I am more optimistic about our future than I have ever been in my entire life,” said Biden. However, he had much to say about Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

Photo Credit: Janelle Moore

Photo Credit: Janelle Moore

“The greatest abuse of all is power,” Biden said. “Whether economic or governmental power, it is a cardinal sin. The world is wondering what we as a country are doing, and Trump has already damaged our reputation just by running in this election—and it proves that he is just thoroughly unqualified to be president.”

Biden continued to stress the importance of action in our country, as well as the importance of women’s rights. “It’s amazing,” he began, “that in 2016 we are still debating whether or not a woman who does the same job just as well as a man should get the same pay.”

Photo Credit: Janelle Moore

Photo Credit: Janelle Moore

He went on to further emphasize the working class being the backbone of the United States. “Ordinary Americans, the working class, never have they let our country down,” said Biden, referencing the collapse of the American steel industry in the 1970s and the resilient working class of the city of Pittsburgh.

The Vice President was not holding back that morning at Chatham University. He ended his speech with zealous words of inspiration. “Americans never bow, we never bend, and we never break. That will never change.”

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