By David Skolnick
Vice President Joe Biden, who campaigned in the Mahoning Valley on behalf of President Barack Obama and himself six times in 2008 and 2012, will be back Thursday stumping for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I love Joe Biden. The Mahoning Valley loves Joe Biden. Joe Biden is one of us,” said Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras. “If there’s one man who could represent the ethos of the Mahoning Valley, it’s Joe Biden. Unlike Donald Trump, who can’t get [top] surrogates here, we’re glad to have Joe Biden here for Hillary Clinton.”
Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, was at Youngstown State University on Aug. 15 at an invitation-only event delivering a foreign-policy speech. Also there were Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“I am very excited to have Vice President Joe Biden visit the Mahoning Valley,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th. “He brings a lot of credibility in speaking to the values of the hard-working people in my congressional district.”
Biden campaigned three times in the Valley during the 2008 campaign and three times in 2012. During his last stop in the area at Youngstown’s Covelli Centre on Oct. 29, 2012, Biden was a late replacement for Obama, who stayed at the White House to monitor a major hurricane that hit the East Coast.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee’s husband, also spoke at that rally.
In a brief announcement Friday, the Clinton campaign said Biden would be campaigning for Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Thursday in the Mahoning Valley and in Cleveland.
“Biden will lay out the high stakes of November’s election and urge Ohioans to support Clinton and her vision for an America that is stronger together with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” according to a Friday statement from Clinton’s campaign.
Bob Paduchik, Trump’s Ohio state director, said: “Hillary Clinton is running scared because Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ message of job growth is resonating in the Mahoning Valley, and that’s why she’s enlisting Joe Biden to try to bail her out politically. Democrats and independents in the Mahoning Valley know that this administration’s failed policies have hurt working families and they can’t afford a third Obama term.”
Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe said: “Biden has a tough job, trying to share Hillary’s vision for America with the Valley. Problem is no one can believe what she says.”
Munroe added that “Biden’s visit can mean only one thing: Hillary is afraid she is going to lose in this usually safe Democrat stronghold.”
Only two Republican presidential candidates have won Mahoning County in at least the past 80 years – the second terms of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 and Richard Nixon in 1972.
Those wanting to attend the Biden event in the Valley can RSVP online at: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/events/view/A4O2IT5TF6D7OZGZ/
The location of Biden’s visit wasn’t announced Friday by the campaign. The statement mentioned that additional details for the event would be released soon.
Sources with knowledge of Biden’s visit said the vice president is expected to speak at a union hall on McClurg Road in Boardman, but the location hasn’t been finalized.
At the second of three campaign visits Biden made to the Valley in 2012, the vice president made an unannounced visit to the Canfield Fair after a speech at the United Auto Workers Local 1714 hall in Lordstown. At the fair, he spent a little more than an hour unable to move much because of the crowd around him.
When asked if he’d like Biden to visit the fair again, Betras said, “I have no idea what his itinerary is. There are a lot of things I’d like, but what I like and what I get are two different things.”
A source said the campaign is considering a return to the fair for Biden.
In the past month, the Democratic and Republican tickets have come to Youngstown.
Clinton and Kaine and their spouses campaigned at Youngstown’s East High School on July 30. Trump, Pence and Giuliani were at YSU on Aug. 15.
Meanwhile, on Friday, state labor leaders criticized Trump at a union hall on McClurg Road.
Tim Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, said, “Trump is saying a lot of things that he thinks voters want to hear during an election but completely contradict how he has lived his life and run his businesses. Plain and simple, Donald Trump has profited by taking advantage of working people and those that he does business with. In short, Donald Trump is unstable, he’s dangerous and he’s wrong on the issues that matter most to working people.”
In response, Paduchik said: “Many union leaders may have no choice but to support Hillary Clinton because their PACs bought and paid for her decades ago, but if you talk privately with rank-and-file union members, you hear a different story. Many union members and working-class Ohioans are supporting Mr. Trump.”