Former vice president Joe Biden visits Simpson College


Photo by Coby Berg.

by Gunnar Davis, Editor-in-chief

A blizzard the night before, and freezing temperatures on Jan. 18 couldn’t keep 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and former vice president, Joe Biden away from visiting Simpson College.

Around 250 audience members, including students and Indianola community members, packed into Great Hall to hear Biden speak.

Iowa congresswoman Abby Finkenaur introduced Biden. Finkenaur spoke about growing up in Iowa and running for Congress. She also talked about hearing Biden speak in 2007 for the first time and some of the personal tragedies Biden had been through.

Biden spoke about a wide variety of topics during  the visit. Early in his speech, he spoke about Trump and the current state of politics.

“Our politics today has become so personal, so dirty, so divisive, that it’s virtually impossible, it seems, to get anything done,” Biden said. “Unless we start to work together, the system can’t work.”

Just 16 days before the Iowa Democratic caucuses, Biden gave a nod to the state and its people.

“We have to re-establish basic American values — Iowa values,” Biden said. “I’m not just being solicitous for you all. Think about it. How were you all raised? You were raised that it’s important to be honest. You teach your kids that you’ve got to be fair.”

After talking for close to 20 minutes, Biden opened the speech up for questions. The first question inquired about his stance on social security. He answered, while also mentioning a video put out from competitor Bernie Sanders’ team that he claimed was false.

“Let’s get the record straight. I’m not going to blame anybody, but let me just say the facts,” Biden said. “There’s a little doctored video going around… put out by Bernie’s people… saying that I agree with Paul Ryan, the former vice presidential candidate, about wanting to privatize social security.”

“PolitiFact looked at it,” Biden continued, “and they doctored the photo, they doctored the piece. It’s acknowledged that it’s a fake.”

Biden claimed that he has been a gigantic supporter of social security from the beginning and that his team will be putting out the actual exchange between him and Ryan.

“It is simply a lie — that video that’s going around,” Biden said. “Ask anybody in the press, it’s a flat lie. They’ve acknowledged that this is a doctored tape. I think it’s beneath him and I’m looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it. They haven’t done it yet.”

Many students and community members were happy with his visit, while others had different opinions.

“He was quick to attack other candidates in the Democratic party, for all his talk about unity,” junior Evan Sand said. “I think he made a couple of inept statements. He did ask Democrats and Republicans to come together. He did cut social security with Republicans when he was in Congress. He said that Medicare for All would cost $30 trillion dollars over 10 years, that’s true, but he left out the part where it costs $59.7 trillion now. I thought that he was not answering as hard of questions as Trump is going to impose in the general election.”

Other students think he could garner support from many — even from the opposing party.

“I think out of all the democratic candidates, I think he has the biggest chance at getting any sort of Republican audience to vote for him,” senior Erin Magoffie said.

The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses are set for Monday, Feb. 3.