ATHENS — Hundreds of supporters packed the Athens Community Center on Saturday afternoon as Vice President Joe Biden made a campaign visit to southeast Ohio.
While supporters gathered inside, protesters lined the entry to the Community Center parking lot from East State Street.
Several former and current, local and state officials spoke prior to the Vice President taking the stage.
A cheering crowd welcomed Ohio University Alumni and current Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown and former Governor Ted Strickland, both of whom spoke prior to the Vice President.
Former Athens City Police Office Gary Braglin introduced Biden before the crowd of nearly 700.
Biden noted that it was good to be back in Athens after making his initial trip to the southeast Ohio town in 1963 as a member of the University of Delaware football team. While Biden stated that his team had defeated the Bobcats in the game, the crowd applauded when Biden mentioned Ohio University’s recent victory over Penn State.
After talk of his first trip to Athens, Biden shifted to the campaign.
Biden addressed the crowd, noting the stark contrast between the two choices — President Obama and Governor Romney — in the November election.
While Biden said the Romney-Ryan campaign did not have the courage to tell their policies, Biden outlined the polices of the opposing ticket.
Biden talked about the policies for medicare, national debt, jobs, security and education.
“They talk so much about how much they care about medicare and talk about how they want to preserve it and protect it’s benefits,” Biden said. “Let me tell you what they do not tell you, their plan would immediately cut benefits for 30 million seniors. What they don’t tell you what they are proposing would cause the medicare trust fund to run out of money by 2016.”
Biden then outlined his take on the Romey-Ryan plan for the national debt and jobs.
“The President and Gov. Romney have a very different view on the importance of where jobs are created. My president and your president believes in creating jobs here in America, keeping jobs here in America and bringing job back to America. That’s the president I believe in,” Biden said.
The vice president asserted that under the Romney budget there would be funding cuts to programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, education and Pell Grants.
“Listen folks, the President and I have a different way forward we know the way to create jobs. Our plan would create 100,000 new math and science teachers, one million new manufacturing jobs over the next four years, cut oil imports by half by 2020, real and fair enforcement of our trade laws, creating a level playing field so that we are able to export to the world what the world wants. Products stamped made in America,” Biden said.
In addition to the issues of the campaign, Biden emphasized the continued support for the troops, both abroad and returning home.
“America is not in a decline. America’s coming back. We’re not going back. We’re going forward and we’re going forward because of you,” Biden told the crowd. “I have news, it’s never ever been a good bet to bet against the American people.”
Biden also made campaign stops in Zanesville and Portsmouth over the weekend.