Oct 12, 2020
Joe Biden Campaign Speech Cincinnati Museum Center Transcript October 12
Joe Biden made a campaign visit to Cincinnati, Ohio on October 12. Read the transcript of his speech remarks here.
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Vice President Joe Biden: (00:00)
It’s good to be back. Thank you. Thank you. It’s good to be back, Mr. Mayor, in this former terminal museum. I tell you what, this is a magnificent facade, isn’t it? I understand that a few marriage proposals were made by standing in that corner and whispering to someone in the other corner.
Vice President Joe Biden: (00:26)
Mr. Mayor, thank you for the passport into the city. Thank you for your friendship. I was looking around for it. I couldn’t see you in the light. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. And thank you for… The Mayor is very good friends with a fellow who, one of the brightest, most decent men I know, who occupies my seat in the United States Senate, Senator Chris Coons. They were Truman scholars together. And you guys seem like you’re cut from the same cloth. Thank you very, very much for your support. I appreciate it, Mr. Mayor
Vice President Joe Biden: (00:59)
And Kate, you’re something else. Now, Kate, you know, there’s an old joke. A long time ago, particular senator said to me, this is back when I was much younger, I was in my second term, running for my second term. He said, “Joe, I’ll come to Delaware for you and campaign for you or against you, whichever will help the most.” My offer still holds. I hope my endorsement didn’t hurt you. But all kidding aside, Kate, we need you in the US Congress. And I really mean it. And the reason I say that is you’re a healthcare advocate, a cancer survivor, a mom, and we need leaders like you representing the people in the First District. People who understand what’s going on every day, the discussions that take place around the kitchen table in the morning. Our families are still struggling trying to figure out what to do. And Joyce, thank you for that introduction. Before I begin, let me say that I’m saddened to hear that one of my baseball heroes, Joe Morgan, second baseman, Red’s legend, Hall of Famer and a good man passed away. And my condolences to the Morgan family and his teammates and to his fans here in Cincinnati and all across the country. He played one year on the Philadelphia Phillies.
Vice President Joe Biden: (02:29)
Now, I’m going to get myself in real trouble, but I have a bad habit of telling you the truth. I happened to grow up in a household in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where, if you wanted to have dinner, you had to be Yankees fan because that was the farm called, the Triple A ball club was a Yankee ball club. And my grandpop was an All-American football player, but he was a great Yankees fan. But it wasn’t hard back in those days. There was Whitey Ford and a few others, but in Delaware, if you are not a Phillies fan, and let me put this way, if I were not a Phillies fan, I’d be sleeping alone. My wife’s a Philly girl. You think I’m kidding. I’m not.
Vice President Joe Biden: (03:14)
But Joe actually played for a year in the Phillies if my memory serves me correctly, but he had fans all over the country. It’s amazing to be both the heart when he was a second baseman, and the voice as one of the great baseball announcers in history, of the same club. I mean, that’s a pretty incredible accomplishment. And so, my best to his family and to his fans, and he has fans all across the country.
Vice President Joe Biden: (03:45)
Folks, as my football coach says, “Go time, Joe.” It’s go time. This is the most important election of our lifetimes, not because I’m running, because what’s at stake. The next president is going to determine not just the next four years, but what the next decade or more is going to look like because there’s such a stark fundamental difference. And you here in Cincinnati can make all the difference and all the difference in Ohio.
Vice President Joe Biden: (04:23)
I learned a long time ago coming out to Ohio that you win Ohio from Cincinnati north. Head north. Well, you are the starting gate, and I love being back here. And again, what a beautiful museum and terminal this is. I spent a lot of time, as I was telling the Mayor, in train stations.
Vice President Joe Biden: (04:46)
When I first got elected to the United States Senate, I was 29. I was in Washington and interviewing my first staff using Senator Kennedy’s whip office. And I got a phone call from a first responder saying my wife and daughter had just been killed, and my two boys were really badly injured, and not sure they were going to make it. My fire department, and God, I love my fire service, took about three hours and the jaws of life to get my kids out of the car because they were broadsided by a tractor trailer. And I didn’t want any part of going to the United States Senate. My sister managed my campaign, and my younger sister and my much younger brother raised all the money we raised, $187,000. We went to our governor to determine who would they pick in my spot because I didn’t plan on going. A lot of really fine men who were in the Senate at the time, and Republicans and Democrats came to me and said, “Just come and stay for six months and help us organize.”
Vice President Joe Biden: (06:05)
And so I started commuting every day back and forth, and that’s how I got involved as sort of Mr. Amtrak. Because when they publish that, they keep fastidious records on how many miles you travel on government aircraft when your vice president. And I had traveled a little over, I think it was a 1,400,000 miles. It was on the front page of the paper, but I used to like to take the train home on Fridays still as Vice President because it costs a lot of money to take that small plane back. But in addition to that, the Secret Service felt much more secure if I wasn’t on a train, but they humored me and let me go home on Fridays sometimes. My mom was living at my home as she was passing.
Vice President Joe Biden: (06:58)
And I remember getting on the train and a guy named Angelo Negrea, I got to know their families, all the conductors and all the people all those years. And he came up to me and he grabbed me and he said, “Joey.” He grabbed my cheek. I was thought the Secret Service was going to shoot him. I said, “No.” I said, “He’s okay.” It’s a true story. And he said, “I just read, Joey, 1,400,000 miles on Air Force Two, big deal. The boys, we were checking. We had our retirement dinner. Went up to New Jersey for the dinner. You know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?” I said, “No, Ang, I don’t.” He said, “Joey,” he said, “we figure 117 days a year, 36 years, and then X number of days as Vice President, you’ve traveled 2,100,000 miles on Amtrak.” I think I hold the record, other than a conductor.
Vice President Joe Biden: (07:53)
And so they gave me a key to the engine because I can… I’m the only one I know of. I’m not supposed to say that, but I got it hidden. My point is that, as a sidelight, one of the ways we’re going to revive this economy is we’re going to end up moving high speed rail and commuter rail across this country in a way that we haven’t done before.
Vice President Joe Biden: (08:14)
But the reason I went home was the same reason why all you do, or try to, and that is to be there in the evening when my kids went to bed. In the morning, my son, Beau, my son, Hunter, and my daughter, Ashley, get them back to school in the morning on the way to the station, and then when they got older, it wasn’t the case, but gets to kiss them goodnight. And as they kid, “I know, Dad, we got to say three Hail Marys and God bless our troops.” So for 36 years we did this, 250 miles roundtrip.
Vice President Joe Biden: (08:50)
And folks, you know, it’s really one way that I’ve said this before and I apologize for the press that travels with me for repeating it, but as I’d ride home-
Vice President Joe Biden: (09:03)
… that travels with me, from repeating it, but as I ride home at night, and usually I could get the seven o’clock, the last fast train. Now they call it the [cell oh 00:00:11] . It was then called the Metro, was at seven o’clock and I’d ride. You get outside the Beltway exit and you ride by all these neighbors. I look into windows and wonder, literally sitting there, looking out the window. What are those parents talking about at that dining room table tonight? What are they doing before, they put their kids to bed, right after they put the kids to bed and come back and sit down. My guess is they’re talking about the same things that we talked about all across the country, and we’re talking about today. They’re asking questions, and one of theirs, as profound as they’re ordinary. “Are we going to be okay? Are going to make it?”
Vice President Joe Biden: (09:50)
“What are we going to do? Who’s going to tell her we don’t have the money to go back to that community college. Who’s going to, you got to drive another 1000 miles on those bald tires. We just don’t have the money right now to get four new tires.” This election is about answering those kinds of questions. Who’s on their side? My dad used to have an expression for real. My dad, he didn’t have work when coal died and Scranton. My dad was a salesperson. He wasn’t a coal miner. My great-grandfather was a mining engineer, but my dad used to say, “Joey, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay’, and mean it.”
Vice President Joe Biden: (10:43)
That’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. It’s what I grew up with, surrounded by hard work and families and Scranton, Pennsylvania. When my dad had to move to Delaware, took us home to my grandpa for a year, but we finally got down. We got together again. That’s the discussions we had in Claymont and Scranton, like here in Cincinnati, but times are hard. Unemployment is up, due to the pandemic and economic outlook remains very uncertain and very mishandled. Across Ohio, and in this country folks are worried about making their next rent payment or mortgage payment, whether or not they’re going to be out in the street, whether or not they can purchase that prescription drug they need, or how much food they can put on the table.
Vice President Joe Biden: (11:38)
Making hard choices. Worry about whether the school their child is enrolled in, is going to be able to be open or what do they do if I still have a job, but I have a young child? If I go to work and their school’s not open, who takes care of them? How do we do that? They see the people at the top doing better and better, even in the midst of this God-awful recession, while they’re left to wonder. I mean, this sincerely, they’re have to wonder, “Who’s looking out for me?” That’s Donald Trump’s presence. 215,000 people dead from COVID-19. Experts are telling us, we may lose up to another 200,000 lives, by end of January, all because the president is only worried about one thing, the stock market, because he refused to follow science.
Vice President Joe Biden: (12:54)
It’s estimated that if we just wore masks, the mask I just took off to speak. Experts tell us, we could save between now and the end of the year, 100,000 lives. The president knew back in January. I think it was the 28th of January, when the intelligence community kept telling him how serious this pandemic would be. He knew it was extremely dangerous, an extremely communicable disease, airborne, but he didn’t tell anybody. But out of his desire to try to get Bob Woodward, to write something good about him, he did a long interview with Woodward, a famous journalist, and he went on record, on tape. He’s taped as saying, Trump is, that he knew how dangerous this disease was, but he did and said nothing except praise she, for the great service he was performing, how transparent he was.
Vice President Joe Biden: (14:07)
Ask yourself, why did he not tell the country? Or what, how much better off would it be, had he told the country. He said nothing. He told Bob Woodward, they didn’t want to panic the American public. Americans don’t panic. Trump panicked. Trump is the one who panicked, his reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, as well, has been unconscionable. The longer Donald Trump is president, the more reckless he gets. Dr. Fauci, the most respected person in this area, in the country, referred to the president’s announcement event, for the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden as a super-spreader event, publicly criticizing him.
Vice President Joe Biden: (15:06)
How is the president of responding? He’s running a national ad here in Cincinnati and all across the country, quoting Dr. Fauci out of context. Dr. Fauci said, back in March, referring to public health officials, “I can’t imagine anybody could be doing more,” referring to public health officials. But Trump and his campaign were very much used to deception and not telling the truth. Deliberately lie by putting Fauci in his ad, implying that Fauci was talking about Trump, saying he doesn’t know how anybody could do any better. Fauci, after he saw the ad, he went public. You’ve probably seen it on the nightly news. He came after that and he said, “I did not get permission for that quote to be used, and it wasn’t about the president.” Even after he said that, and the point, I listened to your talk, even after he said that, look what happened.
Vice President Joe Biden: (16:22)
They continued to lie. They said, “We’re keeping it in the ad.” Same ad that says, I’m going to increase taxes on middle-class folks, with the same amount of credibility. Look, they use the ad knowing it’s a lie. Can you remember any other major, mainstream presidential candidate ever doing something like these things? As a consequence of months of overwhelming lying, misleading, irresponsible action on the part of Donald Trump, how many empty chairs are going to be around the dinner table tonight, because of their negligence? How many? How many brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, moms, dads are gone?
Vice President Joe Biden: (17:16)
Folks, we’re so much better than this. Despite the crisis we face, we have an enormous opportunity. Like America’s done, unlike any other country, after every crisis, we’ve always come out of the crisis stronger than we were before we went in. That’s the uniqueness of who we are. We now have an opportunity to build back and build back better, to get everyone a fair return on their work, an equal chance to get ahead, begin to reward work, not just wealth. For example, for communities of color here in Cincinnati and all across the country, the question is, “How do we break the cycle, wherein good times, they lag. In bad times, they get hit first and harder?”
Vice President Joe Biden: (18:03)
… where in good times they lag. In bad times, they get hit first and hardest. In a recovery, they’re the last and toughest to bounce back. The answer is justice, justice, criminal justice, police reforms. I know this nation is strong enough to both honestly face systemic racism and strong on it to provide safe streets for our families and small businesses that too often bear the brunt of looting and burning, which is never justified. We have no need though for armed militia roaming the streets. We should have no tolerance for extremist White supremacist groups menacing our communities.
Vice President Joe Biden: (18:49)
Even reading what’s happening up in Michigan. The Governor is a good friend. They were in her driveway with assault weapons, standing there, because you can open carry in their state, attempting to intimidate. Remember, in, I was going to call it a debate, but the shouting match he engaged in, when he was asked by a Fox reporter, not a left wing somebody or other, would he condemn White supremacy, he never answered the question. I said, “What about those guys that you in fact talk about all the time,” those boys he talks about? He said, “Well, I would just tell them to stand back and stand by.” Neighborhoods I worked in, in the Black community in Delaware, that’s called a dog whistle. You say we should trust the American law enforcement authorities to their job as I do then let them do their job without extremest groups acting as vigilantes.
Vice President Joe Biden: (20:11)
If you say we have no need to face racial injustice in this country you haven’t opened your eyes to what’s been going on in this country and has for a long time. I decided to run for President and I hadn’t planned on it for real, but I decided to run when I saw those folks marching out of the fields in Charlottesville. Close your eyes and you remember what you saw on television? These White supremacist, Nazi sympathizers, carrying Nazi flags using the exact same jargon used, anti-Semitic jargon used as it was used in Germany in the ’30s, accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan and the Grand Kleagle saying, “This is why we elected him,” and a young woman ends up being killed. And I asked the President, “What do you think?” He said something no President has ever said, mark it down, ever said, “There are very fine people on both sides.”
Vice President Joe Biden: (21:28)
There have been very powerful voices for justice in recent weeks and months. I’ve spent some time more, than one time, with George Floyd’s family and his little daughter, Gianna. And I knelt down to say hi to her and she said in a soft voice, “Daddy,” my word, this is a quote, “Daddy changed the world.” I also got to know Jacob Blake’s mom and dad and the whole family. Know what she said, she said, “Violence didn’t reflect her son,” that this nation needed healing, to stop the rioting, peacefully march, but there’s no justification for violence. One of the things that I’ve found, I’ve been in the civil rights arena for a long time and found pretty moving, was Doc Rivers, the basketball coach choking back tears. Remember what he said a couple of weeks ago? “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’ve been hung,” continuing the quote. “It’s amazing why we keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back.”
Vice President Joe Biden: (22:52)
Think about that. Think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that for far too long has never been fully recognized. Trump talks about the lack of systemic racism and this is the first administration we’ve never met, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men,” we’ve never met that standard. But every generation has moved closer and closer and closer to inclusion. It’s the first one, elected President, to deliberately try to turn it back in a big way. With all due respect, I think we need in America’s leadership that seeks to deescalate tensions, open the lines of communication, and bring us back together to heal and to hope. As President, that’s precisely what I will do. That’s a President’s job, but it just goes beyond the issue of police-community relations.
Vice President Joe Biden: (24:14)
It goes about being able to compete and build wealth. It’s about jobs, good paying jobs, financial stability, families of color building wealth, and being able to pass it down, like my Irish-Catholic folks were able to do in Scranton, coming up from nothing. You build home equity, you got something to pass on. For example, another example is more and more women are dropping out of the workforce in this recession whether they’re in a city or in the suburbs. I have a plan to deal with this pandemic responsibly. Testing, tracing, masking, not politicizing the race for a vaccine, a plan for its safe and equitable distribution, providing funding for PPE, the protective equipment and other resources for schools and businesses to be able to reopen safely. If you notice, the president said, when he was asked about his responsibility, he said, “I take no responsibility.” That was a quote. ” I take no responsibility.”
Vice President Joe Biden: (25:33)
No national standard has been set by this administration. Mr. Mayor, you’re doing on your own, or with your Governor or others in the community. We have to do so much and we can do so much. Ease the caregiving crisis for so many families experiencing now. That squeeze between raising your kids while caring for an aged loved one. It’s real. Protect your healthcare in the middle of this pandemic. Why do so many Republicans today have time told a hearing on the Supreme Court with 22 days left to go instead of providing significant economic recovery and needs for the people who are hurting so badly, Democrats and Republicans? Think about that. I handled the Recovery Act for our administration. $800 billion in 18 months with less than two-tenths of 1% waste or fraud. We had an Inspector General who looked over everything I did and I met with once every two weeks. Got $145 billion out to state and localities so you didn’t have to lay off …
Vice President Joe Biden: (27:03)
… billion dollars out to state and locality. So you didn’t have to lay off cops, firefighters, school teachers, nurses, first responders. What are we doing? Zip. The house acted, in the beginning of the summer, the so-called Heroes Act, to pay for all of this. States are in trouble. I’ll tell you why they’re not doing anything about it; two reasons. One, it’s all about wiping out the Affordable Care Act, which has been an obsession for this president since he became president. It was an Obama idea. Because no other nominee has said in the past that the law should be struck down. Not as a judge, [inaudible 00:00:27:59], that’s her view. That’s going to take health care coverage away from 20 million Americans. Because of his mishandling the economy and COVID, we’ve already lost 10 million people, have already lost their employer based health insurance, 10 million. That’s going to take away pre-existing conditions coverage for a hundred plus million Americans. And complications of COVID- 19 like lung scarring as well as heart damage, could well put how many millions more? There’s over 7 million people contracted COVID in the United States. What happens then? Pre-existing conditions can not be covered. It’s going to toss out the rule that allows children to be covered on their parents’ health care until age 26. It’s going to take us backwards. When insurance companies could charge a woman more for the same exact treatment that they charge a man. And pregnancy, once again, becomes a pre-existing condition. Folks, we can do so much better than this. Together we can build on the Affordable Care Act, writing a new health insurance option, a nonprofit public option, which is giving private insurers, a real competitor. Increase the subsidies, so premiums are lower and you can afford plans with lower deductibles, and lower out-of-pocket costs. We can only do any of this, if the country comes together.
Vice President Joe Biden: (29:47)
Last week, I went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to the battlefield where Abraham Lincoln told us that a house divided cannot stand. Today, trust is ebbing, hope seems elusive. Instead of trying to heal his policies are ripping us apart.
Vice President Joe Biden: (30:16)
And those Republicans are willing to cooperate, get punished by this president. I refuse to let that happen. We need to revive the spirit of bipartisanship in this country. I know that sounds bizarre in light of where we are. The spirit of being able to work with one another. When I say that, and I said that from the time I announced, I was told that, “Maybe that the way things used to work, Joe, you got a lot done before Joe, but you can’t do that anymore.” Well, I’m here to tell you and say we can, and we must, if we’re going to get anything done. Democracy requires consensus. I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.
Vice President Joe Biden: (31:11)
There will be no blue states and red states with me. It’s one America. I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans. I’ll work as hard for those who vote against me, as those who voted for me. That’s the job of a president, the duty to care, to care for everybody. We can disagree on policy, but you can still care. And you too have a sacred duty, in my humble opinion. As my friend, John Lewis said before he died, and while he was alive, “You have a sacred obligation to vote.” It matters. Ohio matters. You elected me and Barack in 2008 and 12.
Vice President Joe Biden: (31:59)
I’m asking for your support. I want to earn it, I’ll take nothing for granted. Asking for your support for Kamala and me in 2020. I promise we’ll always have your back. So please vote. Go to, I Will Vote.com/OH, now, to request your absentee ballot to vote by mail, to confirm your early voting location, to vote early in person, to find your polling place to vote in person on election day. Just make sure you have a plan.
Vice President Joe Biden: (32:39)
As a future congress woman said, “Bring along family, bring long friends, make their plans to vote as well.” No matter what, don’t let anybody discourage you and tell you your voice won’t be counted. It does. And don’t be intimidated by talk of having some of these Proud Boys stand there with their rifles in lines where you can open carry to try to intimidate people without saying anything. You, the American people decide our future; vote. And I’m convinced you’re going to turn out in large numbers.
Vice President Joe Biden: (33:22)
When I announced, I said I was running to restore America’s soul. Well its time to restore it. So it’s time to rebuild the backbone of this country, the middle class. This time, bring everybody along. No matter your race, your age, your gender, your religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability; everybody gets to come along. It’s time to unite America. And we’ll do that by choosing hope over fear, science over fiction, truth over lies, and unity over division. There’s nothing beyond the capacity of this nation when we stand together. So it’s time to stand up, take back our democracy, unite. And let’s, for the first time in a while, reflect the values that the vast majority of Americans hold. May God bless you. And may God bless our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.