Biden & Co. make last-minute play for support at Quality Inn & Suites
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Former Vice President Joe Biden made a last minute appeal to Lee County Democrats Friday afternoon at Quality Inn and Suites with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses Monday night.
Biden, with former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa 1st) in tow, told voters we need to get back to being a light for the world.
“It’s time to be something bigger than ourselves. That’s the American code – that’s who we are,” Biden said. “It’s a uniquely American code, and one that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to subscribe to.”
Biden talked about all the efforts of the Republican Party, including the alleged efforts of President Trump, to have Ukrainian and other countries investigate Biden and his family, as evidence he’s the won they fear most.
“I’ve been the object of their affection for a while,” he said. “I wonder why he’s so worried about me. He’s spent $12 million to $15 million in ads against me.”
Biden said Joni Ernst “spilled the beans” when she said Iowa caucuses are Monday and she was interested how discussions on Biden on the senate floor during impeachment proceedings would impact voters in Iowa.
He said other candidates from other states are running negative ads in Iowa against Biden.
“It’s nice to be loved by so many people.” he said.
He said it’s time for the country to get back a solid reputation on the world stage.
“We’re so much better than this. Folks, I’m gonna do whatever it takes to make progress in what matter’s most in my view. First and foremost – climate change – the single greatest threat to this country.”
Biden then listed off civil rights, voting rights, gun policy, health care and targeting rewards for work not just wealth and other issues on which Democrats differ from the current administration.
“Everyone knows who Donald Trump is. We need to let them know who we are,” he said.
“We choose hope over fear. We choose science over fiction. We choose unity over division, and, yes, we choose truth over lies.”
A recent national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a virtual statistical tie at the top spot of Democratic primary field. Warren is third in the poll and New York businessman David Bloomberg had vaulted into fourth ahead of South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Bloomberg hasn’t made much of a push in the state as Biden, Warren, Buttigieg and Sanders have made visits throughout the state and multiple visits to southeast Iowa.
A poll from Real Clear Politics has Sanders at 23.8% of polled Democratic voters, while Biden is 2.6% behind. Buttigieg and Warren are at 15.8 and 14.6. Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard follow in single digits.
Caucuses begin at 7 p.m. Monday night at the locations below, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Anyone arriving after 7 p.m. will not be allowed to caucus. Registering can be done prior to 7 p.m. at the precincts.
A satellite caucus will take place at 1 p.m. Monday at the Keokuk Labor Temple and the LULAC Club in Fort Madison for anyone who cannot make the 7 p.m. caucuses.
Republicans will caucus beginning at 7 p.m. at Quality Inn & Suites in Fort Madison with surrogates for President Donald Trump on hand for the rally-type event. Trump is challenged by former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL).
The locations for Lee County are as follows:
KE1 – Keokuk Labor Temple, 301 Blondeau St., Keokuk
KE2 – Heritage Center, 508 Main Street, Keokuk
KE3 – George Washington Elementary School (gym), 116 N. 8th St., Keokuk
KE4 – First Christian Church, 3476 Main St., Keokuk
KE5 – Keokuk Middle School (cafeteria), 2002 Orleans St., Iowa
KE6 – First Christian Church, 3476 Main St., Keokuk
KE7 – Hawthorne Elementary School (gym), 2940 Decatur St., Keokuk
FM1 – St. John’s United Church of Christ, 501 10th St., Fort Madison
FM2 – Lincoln Elementary School (gym), 1326 Avenue E, Fort Madison
FM3 – Fort Madison High School (multipurpose room), 2001 Ave. B, Fort Madison
FM4 – Eagles Club, 4821 Avenue O, Fort Madison
FM5 – Richardson Elementary (gym), 3301 Avenue L, Fort Madison
Jefferson – Richardson Elementary (library), 3301 Avenue L, Fort Madison
Montrose – Ivor Fowler Community Center, 710 Main St., Montrose
Charleston/DesMoines/VanBuren – Central Lee High School (gym), 2642 Hwy 218, Donnellson
Franklin/Cedar/Marion/Harrison – Learning Center, Lee County Fair Grounds 1100 N. Main St., Donnellson
West Point/Pleasant Ridge/Denmark – Fort Madison High School (multipurpose room), 2001 Ave. B, Fort Madison
GreenBay/Washington – Newberry Center, 728 Avenue G, Fort Madison
Jackson – Jackson Township Fire Station, 3640 Argyle Road, Keokuk
If you have any questions about where you are registered to vote or general questions about the caucus, please call Mary Jo Riesberg, Lee County Democratic Party chair, at 319-526-3160.