News / USA

Biden Makes Obama Campaign Appeal to Working-Class Voters

Vice President Joe Biden greets Lawrence Smith, 8, and Madison King, 9, both of Van Buren Township, Michigan, during a campaign stop at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, August 22, 2012.Vice President Joe Biden greets Lawrence Smith, 8, and Madison King, 9, both of Van Buren Township, Michigan, during a campaign stop at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, August 22, 2012.
x
Vice President Joe Biden greets Lawrence Smith, 8, and Madison King, 9, both of Van Buren Township, Michigan, during a campaign stop at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, August 22, 2012.
Vice President Joe Biden greets Lawrence Smith, 8, and Madison King, 9, both of Van Buren Township, Michigan, during a campaign stop at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, August 22, 2012.
Kent Klein
WHITE HOUSE — As the U.S. presidential campaign moves into its final months, Vice President Joe Biden is assuming a prominent role in working for President Barack Obama’s reelection. The president is relying on his vice president to deepen their appeal to a very important group of voters.

Many political analysts agree that persistent high unemployment and a stagnant economic recovery will make it more difficult for President Obama to win reelection in November.

To counter the economic challenges, the Obama campaign is concentrating on its appeal to middle-class and working-class voters, many of whom traditionally are some of the Democratic Party’s strongest backers.

To do so, Obama is emphasizing his plan to cut taxes for the middle class. And he has called on Biden to attack Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s plan to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes for businesses.

“And most of all, ladies and gentlemen, what is new, what is new about their plan? It is not only not new; it is not fair. It is not right, and the people who pay the price for their new plan are the middle class and the working poor,” said Biden.

Joel Goldstein, a law professor at Saint Louis University, has written extensively about the U.S. vice presidency. He said Obama has often struggled to connect with working-class Democrats, even during his 2008 primary election campaign against then-Senator Hillary Clinton.  

Goldstein said Biden has done a better job of appealing to the middle class.

“Part of the vice president’s assignment, really, is to connect to, sort of, working-class, middle-class Democratic voters who, in 2008, tended to support then-Senator Clinton more than Senator Obama, and who the president still has had some trouble connecting with,” said Goldstein.

Democratic officials often underscore Biden’s working-class origins. He was born in the eastern industrial city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where his father sometimes struggled to find work.

When Joe Biden was 10-years-old, his father moved the family to Wilmington, Delaware, where their circumstances were described as middle-class.

Goldstein said Democrats believe that background gives Biden added credibility with working-class voters.

“Vice President Biden, because of his association with Scranton, Pennsylvania, his more modest background, and just his style, I think, has been very effective in the past in connecting with that important Democratic constituency,” said Goldstein.

Part of Biden’s appeal, analysts say, is his ability to empathize with families in difficult economic situations, as he did in Tuesday’s campaign speech in the Midwestern city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“You know, I talk about ‘the longest walk.’ You have heard me say that," said Biden. "The longest walk a parent can make is up a short flight of stairs, to their child’s bedroom, to say, ‘Honey, I am sorry you cannot go back to sing in the choir next year. You cannot play on that Little League team. Daddy, Mommy, we lost our jobs. The bank says we cannot live here any more.’ You know, you know people who have made that walk.”

But analysts point out that Biden’s populist charm comes at a price. He is known for departing from his prepared remarks, sometimes with unintended results.

At a campaign stop in Virginia last week, the vice president, in criticizing Mitt Romney's economic policies, made a reference to slavery that some African Americans and many others found offensive.

“He is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, [and] unchain Wall Street. They are going to put you all back in chains,” said Biden.

Mitt Romney was quick to respond.

“Another outrageous charge just came a few hours ago in Virginia, and the White House sinks a little bit lower,” said Romney.

Later that day, Biden clarified that he had meant to say “shackles,” a reference to Romney’s promise to “unshackle” the economy, rather than “chains.”  

Analyst Goldstein said Biden’s gaffe was a short-term distraction from the message the Obama campaign is trying to convey.

“To the extent that it did any damage, it was that it took the focus away from the effort that the Obama campaign was engaged in - of identifying [former Massachusetts] Governor Romney with the [his vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul] Ryan plan and its controversial aspects,” said Goldstein.

Still, the Obama campaign sees the vice president as a strong asset in reaching out to working-class voters, and Biden continues to campaign at factories, schools and country stores across the United States.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid