Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden addressed students and community members at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH on Friday, highlighting the differences between the Democratic and Republican welfare platforms.
An inadvertent sexual innuendo by Dr. Jill Biden—who sparked raucous laughter with her passionate statement, “I’ve seen Joe up close”—went viral within hours.
Biden could scarcely suppress his laughter at the slip, and commented on the crowd’s reaction in his remarks, saying, “You can tell you’re on a college campus, man!”
Biden tailored his speech to the student audience with a focus on the Obama administration’s support of education through Pell Grants, as compared to cuts in education budgets he said would result from the budget planned by Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
The Ryan budget would “eviscerate” funding for public education, Biden said.
Biden wove in an attack on Republican presidential candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., through recently publicized remarks from a fundraising event in May, at which Romney said there are 47 percent of Americans “who are dependent on government, who believe they are victims.”
Biden framed the Romney quote, which the crowd booed, as a “bet against the American people,” and responded to the crowd’s reaction with, “I don’t need your boos. I need your help.”
Biden said the quote illustrated that Romney sees America differently than Biden does.
“This is not a country of victims,” Biden said.
“How could he be so profoundly wrong about America? How is that possible?” Biden asked. “Not in my neighborhood. Not where I grew up. Not the people I know.”
Biden went on to say that the Democratic Party does believe in aiding citizens who need help, focusing his examples on education.
“None of us would be standing here today if someone did not reach out and give us a hand in the form of a scholarship or loan,” he said.
Biden also noted the Republican Party’s opposition to gay marriage and women’s reproductive rights, in remarks that drew strong cheers from the primarily student crowd.
According to Biden, the modern Republican Party is more conservative on social issues than it was in the past.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” he said.
Biden, who has Irish roots in Co Louth and Co Mayo, did not speak on the Obama administration’s foreign policy beyond a promise to end the war in Afghanistan.
Biden has previously stated to Irish America magazine, “I see myself as an Irish Catholic. If we have a moral obligation to other parts of the world why don’t we have a moral obligation to Ireland? It’s part of our blood.”
Colin Harris, a senior at Dartmouth and political affairs director for the Dartmouth College Democrats, said he thought the speech distinguished well between the agendas of the Democratic and Republican parties.
“The Vice President drew clear contrasts between the Democratic platform, which sees America as a culture of opportunity, and the Republican platform, which sees America as a culture of dependency and victimhood,” Harris told IrishCentral. “It was great to see the student body so enthused about the promise of a just America, whose government protects its citizens' rights and provides support for the most vulnerable in society.”
Dartmouth senior Olivia Martin, who told IrishCentral she still plans to vote for the Romney ticket in November, said she felt a “duty as a citizen” to attend Biden’s speech and hear his arguments.
The campaign event had no affiliation with Dartmouth College.
Watch Dr. Jill Biden deliver an inadvertent sexual innuendo in her introductory remarks at Dartmouth College.