Politics & Government

Joe Biden campaigns in Sarasota, calls Republican ad 'outrageous'

SARASOTA -- Vice President Joe Biden mixed jokes and frustration Wednesday as he spoke to an estimated 1,350 people at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, touting his party's successes and denouncing the "outrageous things" the Republican Party has said this election season.

"I'm frustrated with these guys," Biden began, adding that there used to be bipartisan cooperation, even in times of crisis.

"Look, the American people have an overwhelmingly clear choice in this election, overwhelmingly clear to choose which direction they want to see the country move in," he said.

"Forward!" supporters shouted.

Biden said an ad running in Ohio claiming that President Obama forced Chrysler into bankruptcy and is now shipping Jeep's manufacturing jobs to China is an "outrageous lie."

"Jeep is doing fine ... Jeep is not cutting jobs," Biden said firmly.

The president's signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an example of Obama's commitment to women's right, Biden said.

He asked rally-goers to close their eyes and imagine the kind of justices who would be appointed to the Supreme Court under GOP candidate Mitt Romney, justices that Biden said would set back "the four years of progress" women have made.

Biden cited Romney's remark during a presidential debate that he was brought "binders full of women" while compiling his staff during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. Romney had been asked about gender pay inequality.

"That binder comment spoke volumes," Biden said.

Hundreds of people wrapped lines around the auditorium early Wednesday morning, slowly inching closer to the entrance doors.

"I'm independent, but I'm for women's rights," said Satya Winkleman as she waited in line.

Winkleman has worked as a psychotherapist for more than 35 years and cannot understand why women would vote for Romney instead of re-electing Obama, she said.

A woman who votes for Romney "must want to put us back in the caves," Winkleman said.

She fears a Romney administration will cut funding to Planned Parenthood and PBS.

"They are so important and they are going to destroy that," Winkleman said. "How dare they?"

Campaign volunteers walked up and down the lines asking people, "Have you voted?" and requesting them to volunteer.

"It's important that we get to save the country from Romney," said Gerald Truehart, 73, of Lakewood Ranch. "He's a habitual liar."

Truehart, like many others in line, said he had already voted early.

Edward James III, a field organizer with Organizing for America, spoke in the auditorium before Biden and described volunteering as the "most important tool that we have in this campaign."

He encouraged voters to go to the polls right after Biden's speech because "each of you can make a difference."

"The stakes are higher than ever before," he said.

Biden emphasized to supporters that "America is not in decline," and that the president does not engage in deception.

"My guy, your guy, Barack Obama, has character," Biden said. "...With your help, we can win Florida."

Election day is Nov. 6; early voting continues through Saturday.

Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @MiriamValverde.