The path to the White House could begin in Cincinnati, former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday during a campaign stop at Union Terminal.
Biden called Cincinnati the “starting gate” to Ohio winning. And with Biden and Vice President Mike Pence both visiting Buckeye State on Monday, it’s clear that both campaigns see Ohio as crucial to the president’s race.
“You here in Cincinnati can make the difference and the difference in Ohio,” said Biden. “I learned a long time ago that you were coming to Ohio and winning Ohio from Cincinnati North. You are the starting gate.”
Biden spoke to about 20 local Democrats and union leaders in the massive rotunda of Cincinnati’s Union Terminal for about 35 minutes. The audience included Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus, and several lawmakers.
It was the second of two campaign rallies in Ohio on Monday, the first in a union hall in Toledo.
Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump and Biden gathered at the entrance to the museum center driveway about a mile away. Biden’s speech was just an invitation to keep the crowd small and protect from the spread of COVID-19. All 20 participants wore masks and had their temperatures checked before entering.
The Hamilton County Democratic Party urged Biden’s supporters not to show up outside for safety reasons. But about 50 Biden supporters showed up anyway and lined up across the street. They faced an equal number of Trump supporters.
Both sides demonstrated peacefully.
In the Union Terminal, Biden walked to a small podium in front of two American flags and an Ohio flag hanging over the ticket office. He was introduced by Joyce Powdrill, a Cincinnati small business owner and a Democratic District executive.
Biden called out to Kate Schroder, a Democrat who challenged Republican Congressman Steve Chabot, who spoke to Biden.
“I hope my support hasn’t hurt you,” said Biden. “We need you in there.”
He then paid his respects to former Reds star Joe Morgan, who died on Sunday.
“He had fans all over the country,” said Biden.
When he found himself speaking in a historic train terminal, he shared an anecdote about the two million miles he had ridden on Amtrak trains. His goal was to show his support for the high-speed track.
“One way to move this economy is to move bullet trains and commuter railways around this country,” Biden said.
Then Biden turned his anger on the President. Biden’s speech covered Trump’s response to the economy, the pandemic and healthcare.
He said the next president will determine the fate of the nation not only for the next four years but also for the next decade.
Biden described a wealth gap where people across Ohio worried about making the next mortgage payment and paying for prescription drugs.
“You can see that the people at the top are getting better and better while they’re in the middle of this recession,” Biden said. “While you have to wonder who is watching me? This is Donald Trump’s presidency.”
He read Trump’s uproar over Trump’s pandemic response and focused on the revelation in Bob Woodward’s revelations by the Washington Post reporter in his new book that Trump downplayed the severity of the virus.
“How many empty chairs are there at the dining table tonight because of your negligence?” Said Biden. “How many brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts are gone?”
Biden portrayed a message of unity that he contrasted Trump. He said there would be no “blue and red states” under his presidency. In relation to the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, he proposed a theory as to why Republicans paid so much attention to the occupation of the seat. He accused Republicans of wanting to destroy the Affordable Care Act.
Biden raised his voice for the first time in the end and pushed people to vote.
“It’s time to get up, regain our democracy and unite,” said Biden. “For the first time in a while, let’s reflect the values held by a large majority.”
The crowd in front of Union Terminal was bigger and louder, if peaceful. A group of around 50 Trump supporters appeared two hours before Biden was supposed to speak and line up at the entrance to the Union Terminal driveway.
Jack Snyder, 94, a World War II veteran from Fairfield, held a Veterans for Trump sign and said the president had “done more for veterans in 12 or 15 years than any other president.”
However, at least one Republican was outside the Union Terminal to support Biden. Kathy King, 74, from northern Kentucky, held a sign that read “Republicans for Biden”. She was warmly welcomed by other Biden supporters. “The Republican Party is falling apart and taking the United States with it – maybe,” she said.
Biden’s visit to Ohio showed that the Democrats view Ohio as competitive, a turn of events after Trump’s decisive victory in the state in 2016.
Trump won Ohio in 2016 by 8 percentage points. However, multiple polls show that Biden and Trump are in a virtual tie for Ohio. In early October, a New York Times / Siena College poll found Biden is 45% and Trump is 44%. Other surveys over the past month have shown similar results.
Democrats in 2016 didn’t write off Ohio either. Hillary Clinton held a rally in Cincinnati eight days before the elections in Smale Riverfront Park.
Vice President Mike Pence was also in Ohio on Monday and made a campaign freeze in Columbus.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement that Biden was wasting his time going to Ohio. Murtaugh promoted Trump’s economic record and slammed Biden, including Biden’s vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement and his tax plan that would raise taxes by $ 4 trillion. However, Biden’s tax plan would raise taxes for the ultra-wealthy and large corporations, not middle-class earners, according to a fact-checking by NBC News.
“President Trump won Ohio convincingly in 2016 and will do so again in November. We are delighted that Joe Biden wasted a precious day on the campaign and visited a state he cannot win,” said Murtaugh.