OTTUMWA — Former Vice President Joe Biden made a brief visit to Ottumwa Thursday evening at the American Legion as the caucus campaign nears its conclusion.
The campaign is now unfolding as President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial plays out in the U.S. Senate. His impeachment was based in part on allegations Trump tried to coerce the Ukranian government into investigating Biden’s son.
Biden wore that fact as a badge of honor.
“Have you ever seen a candidate so interested in the other party’s primary?” he asked. “We must be doing something right. We’re scaring the heck out of them.”
Biden had a similar response to North Korea’s state news agency calling him a mad dog. “I was really proud of that.”
Rep. Mary Gaskill introduced Biden. She recently endorsed him, and urged the crowd to support Biden when they caucus next week.
“I really think he’s the one who can do it for us, and we need a new president,” she said.
While dedicating about half of his remarks to criticism of Trump, Biden also turned to the need to heal the country after the election. The stance has been a consistent part of his campaign. It has also been criticized by some of his rivals for the Democratic Party’s nomination, who said it shows Biden doesn’t understand modern politics.
Biden said it shows the opposite. “Presidents,” he said, “can’t hold grudges.”
“I’ve been doing this for a while and here’s the deal: I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future,” he said.
Democrats have winning issues, Biden continued. The cost of health care and prescription drugs is undeniable. And support for Obamacare, which Biden helped shepherd through Congress when he was vice president, is solid. In fact, he credited the backlash against efforts to gut the act as one of the major factors in Democrats picking up so many seats in the 2016 midterm elections.
“We’re going to run on the facts. Just the facts,” Biden said. “And we’re going to win this thing.”
The caucuses are Monday.