Published September 20, 2008
It was a performance that lent itself to speculation about Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams' future. During his introduction of U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, at a rally Thursday in downtown Youngstown, the mayor not only said all the right things about Biden and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, but he delivered a critique of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin that was at once cutting and hilarious.
In discussing just how politically obscure Palin was before being tapped by Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Williams pointed out that prior to becoming governor of Alaska she was mayor of Wasilla, a town so small that "all the people could fit in the Chevrolet Centre." The quip brought a roar from the crowd, but also had the effect of portraying the GOP veep nominee as out of touch with real America.
Williams suggested that Palin has no concept of how the people of the Mahoning Valley are struggling as they try to ride out the current economic storm. And he argued that Biden, a veteran U.S. senator from Delaware, has a greater understanding of the needs of old industrial regions than Palin will ever have.
The mayor also made it point to talk about urban crime and Biden's long-standing commitment to put more police officers on the streets. An Obama-Biden administration will pay special attention to the needs of cities like Youngstown, the mayor said.
There is no doubt that if Obama is elected president, Williams will be on the new administration's radar.
He aced the audition.