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Joe Biden, at 9/11 ceremony, returns to strong suit: personal rapport

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Joe Biden (AFP)

Joe Biden attended a 9/11 ceremony in New York Friday where he interacted closely with relatives of victims, a departure from the US presidential candidate’s more distanced campaign style of recent months prompted by concerns over the coronavirus.

The Democratic nominee’s encounters, including snapping selfies with a child and talking closely with military personnel, revealed a candidate slowly edging back into his element, as a politician who thrives on personal interaction and expressing empathy with fellow Americans.

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During a break in the Ground Zero ceremony Biden approached Maria Fisher, 90 years old and seated, who showed him a photograph of her son Andrew who died in the World Trade Center north tower.

“Never goes away,” Biden told her as the pair, both wearing masks, discussed the pain of losing their sons.

“God bless you Joe!” someone said as the former vice president accepted a white rose from his wife Jill and presented it to Fisher.

Biden, 77, has been scarred by tragedy in his own life. His first wife and their daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972, and he lost his son Beau to cancer in 2015.

The setbacks have made him an empathetic presence on the campaign trail, where he has often been seen whispering in a voter’s ear or consoling a struggling parent.

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But for the past several months he has largely foregone such encounters, opting instead to deliver speeches in a controlled setting where the number of guests is strictly limited.

Such campaign appearances stand in stark contrast to those of President Donald Trump, who has barely toned down his raucous rallies during the pandemic era.

On Thursday in Michigan, thousands of supporters, most without masks, crowded into a partially open-air hangar to see the president speak.

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During Friday’s New York ceremony Biden stood just a few feet from Vice President Mike Pence, with whom he chatted and shared an elbow bump, and also stood close to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer.

Biden bent down for a selfie with a boy, and stood just inches from a masked military man in a purple beret as the two talked.

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Last week in Wisconsin and on Thursday in Michigan Biden met with small groups of voters, but most were seated and observed social distancing guidelines.


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2020 Election

No one can believe this GOP senator’s embarrassing ad is real

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Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia is in a tough race to keep her seat, and at least so far, it seems she’s not sending her best.

Her latest ad baffled many observers, prompting some to genuinely question whether the clip was real. It’s production quality and corniness are so over the top and unprofessional, it’s hard to believe it’s from a sitting senator. And the messaging itself is so hamfisted and unsubtle that it’s hard to imagine it’s an appealing ad for voters, even in Republican-leaning Georgia.

The ad starts with a couple sitting on a sofa talking about how conservative Loeffler is. OK. But then it goes off the rails when it literally says that Loeffler is “more conservative than Attila the Hun.” Yes, really. And it only gets worse.

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2020 Election

Republicans’ naked power grab will unwind the legal framework of the majority — and replace it with minority rule

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The big story today is big indeed: how and when the seat on the Supreme Court, now open because of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, will be filled. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced within an hour of the announcement of Ginsburg’s passing that he would move to replace her immediately. Trump says he will announce his pick for the seat as early as Tuesday.

Democrats are crying foul. Their immediate complaint is that after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016, McConnell refused even to meet with President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, on the grounds that it was inappropriate to confirm a Supreme Court justice in an election year. He insisted voters should get to decide on who got to nominate the new justice. This “rule” was invented for the moment: in our history, at least 14 Supreme Court justices have been nominated and confirmed during an election year. (Three more were nominated in December, after an election.)

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2020 Election

Democrats reveal huge fundraising hauls in Senate races after RBG’s death

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Small donor contributions to Democratic Senate campaigns have skyrocketed after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"From Alaska to Maine to the Carolinas, Democratic strategists working on Senate campaigns described a spontaneous outpouring of donations the likes of which they had never seen, allowing Democrats the financial freedom to broaden the map of pickup opportunities, or press their financial advantage in top battlegrounds already saturated with advertising," The New York Times reported Monday.

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