Return to Transcripts main page
Vice President Joe Biden Delivers Remarks in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired August 15, 2016 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know I'm often asked why we moved from Greenridge to Claymont, Delaware and then Wilmington.
Claymont's a suburb of Wilmington, Delaware. And it's because of Bob Casey.
[13:30:02] No, look - the Caseys lived five blocks from us, just around the corner from St. Clair's.(ph) And I am midway between Bobby and Bobby. And I knew only one of us was going to make it out of Greenwich, and I knew it was not going to be me.
So I had to move. There was too much Casey talent in the neighborhood. Bobby , you are a great friend and great United State Senator. Thank you.
As they say in southern Delaware, they talk at you like this Matt Cartwright (ph), that boy married up. He married right up. I tell you, he was always seeking influence - but you got it, man. You are doing a wonderful job as well. Thank you.
I have been home since this time, but I stood here eight years ago kicking off our campaign. Hillary and Bill Clinton at my side. They always had my back. I want to make it clear that as Scranton has always had my back , we and fact, all of us, will have your back, Hillary.
Scranton has been so-- some of the folks in our administration were there on election night when the results were coming in. I give you my word as a Biden I asked one and only one question , what did we do in the northeast? We won by a larger margin than we had before. The rest did not matter. I took full credit for it. Nothing to do with it.
You know, if you listen to Barack, you'd think I was a kid who just climbed out of a coal mine with a lunchbox from Scranton. I'm the kid from Scranton. Well, I am from Scranton and I was a kid at one time. But so often, quite frankly, my people in Delaware resented -- I've represented them for 36 years a U.S. senator, and 44 years in high public office, and I swear to God -- there's a parade that started on the Fourth of July just as I was getting started in '72 and it was called the Hockessin parade. It's right on the Pennsylvania border.
And from the time my boys were then three and four years old, four and five years old -- actually three and four years old -- they were in the parade with me. And so when my Beau -- and he was the most popular politician in Delaware -- I would tag along with him. No, for real, in the parade.
So one of the things I am trying to do, Hillary, after the people of Delaware have been so generous to me all these years, and to Beau as Attorney General, I am trying to go back and do as many things in the last year at home in Delaware to show my affection and my appreciation.
And so I was in the Fourth of July parade in Hockessin recently, surprising the press and everyone because I was there. And there were thousands of people there. Many of the same people had waited five hours in line to pay respects at my son's viewing, and I was there to thank them for the overwhelming support they gave me for all those years.
And as I continued along the parade route, two guys came running up to me, big guys, both guys I played ball with, bigger than me. Secret Service was about to have a heart attack. And they said, Joe, what in the hell is all this stuff about Scranton? You're from Claymont, God darn it. You're from Claymont. You're from Delaware still, aren't you, Joe?
So you all have to write a note and tell them I love Scranton, it's my home, but you know what, home is where your character is stamped. Where it's stamped into your soul. Where your values are set. Where your view of the world and your place in that world began.
For me, that was 2446 North Washington Avenue around my grandfather Finnegan's table as where I learned that money doesn't determine your net worth. That no one, I mean it sincerely -- this is not hyperbole.
[13:35:02] This is deadly earnest -- I learned that no one is more worthy than you and everyone is your equal.
I learned from my mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden that, and she said this so many times she'd look you in the eye and say, Joey look at me. Remember, you're defined by your courage and you're redeemed by your loyalty.
She'd go on to say, because everybody's had tough times, she says as long as you're alive, you have an obligation to strive. You're not dead until you've seen the face of God.
What I learned here from my father is that I can be anything I wanted to be. That anything can be accomplished. This is not a joke, this is real. That the measure of your character is not whether you'll get knocked and fall because you will. The measure is how quickly you get up.
I learned about resilience from my father, who like many of you and many of your parents made what I call the longest walk. The longest walk any man and woman can make is up a short flight of stairs to their child's bedroom to say honey, I'm sorry, we can't live here anymore. We lost the house. Or Daddy or Mommy doesn't have a job.
I remember my Dad making that walk, moving us to my grandfathers' home. I remember - but what I remember most was him saying, but I promise you, everything, everything is -- you can't go back to St. Paul's. You can't play in grooves (ph) and leave anymore. But I promise you, everything is going to be okay and he meant it, he knew it. Because it used to be a basic bargain back then. It used to be a bargain if you worked like hell for the outfit you worked with. When they did well, you got to participate. How's the bargain?
What Hillary is all about is making sure that everyone of you, everyone of you can look your child and their grandchild in the eye and say honey, I mean this sincerely, and everything is going to be okay. Think how many people you know who don't feel like they can say that right now. My father when he said it, on the balls of his heels, he meant it because he thought (inaudible) clear shot if you worked hard.
Everything I learned from my father and grandfathers table was reinforced by my neighbors and my friends, all around this town. Pride, independence, resiliency. When I moved away from Scranton, I was going into the fourth grade but I never left. I spent summers, holidays, college weekends, weddings, funerals, first communions, bar mitzvahs. By the way - for me, it was Nay Aug Park, it wasn't the lake.
I always remember that I've been taught what you all believe up here. Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who they are. That America -
That America and Hillary gets this better than anybody I know. That America can be defined in one single word, possibilities. That's the thing about America...
That's the thing about Scranton, that's the thing about who we are. Anything is possible. That's the America I know. Ladies and gentlemen, that's the America Hillary Clinton knows.
You know, the people I trust most? In public life, I've been at this a long time -- trust the people where the feeling starts in their gut, moves to their heart, and then is articulated by a great mind. Hillary understands the hopes and aspirations of the people in Claymont, in Scranton, and every Scranton and Claymont in the United States of America. I've known her for over 30 years.
I knew her before she was First Lady, when we served together in the Senate.
[13:40:00] During her years as Secretary of State once a week, we'd have breakfast at my home. I became the Obama-whisperer.
She'd look at me and say, what did he mean by that?
He loves her.
Everybody knows this has never been an issue with Hillary. Unlike it's a gigantic issue for her opponent.
But all kidding aside, everybody, by the way my family's right there, the family. Good morning, I didn't even see you! Secret Service, you see that beautiful young girl there? Make sure she gets back when I leave the stage OK? Because we're not leaving until I get a hug. Anyway sorry guys. It's kind of a family thing.
But look, think about it. Everybody has known from day one how smart, how bright Hillary is. Everybody knows how tough she is. But what I don't think everybody knows enough about it may be the different between the Irish Catholic and the Methodist piece here, we wear everything on our sleeve. I don't think they fully understand how passionate she is about what she does.
I've known I want you to listen just for a minute. I don't even want you to clap. I want you; because I want to make sure you understand what I know about her. You know she understands that, that college loan to get a bright young girl or boy to school is about a lot more than whether or not they're going to get a chance. It's about the pride and the dignity of the parent who looks at that child. I mean it sincerely, please don't, just listen to this.
I remember I went down to my dad's place of work to pick up a car. And he was wandering back and forth in the parking lot. The secretary said, he's out there. I walked out and he said, Joey I'm so sorry, I'm so damned sorry. This was before cell phones, I thought maybe something happened. He said I went to the bank today honey; they won't lend me the money to get you to school. I'm so ashamed.
Hillary understands that the most damaging thing to a parent is to look at a talented child or a sick child or a child in need and not be able to do anything. She's understood that for years. She's understood for years that millions of people here in Scranton and Claymont and all across America, went to bed staring at a ceiling thinking, my God what happens if she develops breast cancer? Or he gets lung cancer? What happens? We lose everything. What do we do then? A lot of you remember those days. My family remembers those days. She gets it. She understands what it will mean and I really mean this. It's more than about her. She understands it means for these beautiful young girls, and I'm being serious now, these three beautiful little girls I'm looking at now, what it will mean to them when it's President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It will change their lives. It will change their lives. It will prove that my daughter and my granddaughters can do anything my sons and grandsons can do. That's what it will mean.
It's consequential. So let me say this as clearly as I can. If you live in a neighborhood like I grew up in, or my wife Jill grew up in Willow Grove or down in Claymont, if you worry about your job, getting decent pay. If you worry about your children's education, if you're taking care of an elderly parent after losing the other one, then there's only one person in this election who will possibly help you, and that is Hillary Clinton.
Folks she's always been there. It's not a joke. You know you use phrases like that. But she has always been there. That's her life story. And let's state the obvious.
[13:45:05] That is not Donald Trump's life story.
Senator Ted Kaufman, who you know very well, Hillary, served with you, used to be my administrative assistant for years and years, graduate of the Wharton School, an engineer my degree (ph) at Duke. He (inaudible) at the Wharton School. The Wharton school by the way, isn't -- doesn't have a Trump sign up. Anyway...
That said, the difference between a success and a genuine success -- excuse me -- a minimum success and a real success is someone who had nothing and makes $1 million is a real success. Someone who inherits a million and makes $20 million -- no they're not a bum, but they're a mere (ph) successes.
Some are bums, but not all.
Look, let me tell you the part that bothers me. And you know, as Hillary will point out and knows that no one ever doubts I mean what I say.
The problem is I sometimes (ph) say all that I mean.
But let me tell you what really bothers me most, and maybe this only works where I grew up. I don't know. But you know, what bothers me most about Donald Trump is his cynicism is unbounded. I -- I -- no, I really mean this. Think of (ph) this for a minute (inaudible) all raised in this area, you're different ethnicities, different religions, different backgrounds. But there's one thing I've noticed all the years I've sent and I've always, always come home. And that is that the way you were raised, if you ever showed a lack of empathy for someone in trouble, if you ever summed up a thought that the phrase he's most proud of, you're fired -- think -- think about the phrase, you're fired.
Think -- no, all kidding aside. I really mean this. Maybe it's just me. But think about what your mother or father or grandmother or grandfather would have said to you. Think about everything you learned as a child. I really mean this. No matter where you were raised. How can there be pleasure in division and you're fired? And he's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break.
And to repeat myself, is such a bunch of malarkey. It makes no sense. None, none, none, none.
This guy doesn't care about the middle class. And I don't even blame him in a sense because he doesn't understand it. He doesn't have a clue. No, no. He really -- he really doesn't. He doesn't have a clue.
And by the way, there's something else he has no clue about that has nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican. I have worked -- I have worked with eight presidents of the United States. I have served with hundreds of senators. Only 13 senators in history, I'm embarrassed to say, have served as long as I have.
Dozens of secretaries of State and secretaries of Defense of both parties. And I can say without hesitation, my word as a Biden, no major party nominee in the history of the United States of America, has -- now, don't cheer or -- quiet (ph). Just listen.
Has known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security than Donald Trump. And what absolutely amazes me -- what absolutely amazes me, that he doesn't seem to want to learn it. No, I really mean it. He doesn't seem to want to learn it. He doesn't seem to think it matters. This man is totally, thoroughly unqualified to be president of the United States of America.
He not only lacks the temperament -- people say he lacks the temperament. I -- I'd feel better if that's all he lacked.
On every issue that matters most to our security, Donald Trump has no clue what it takes to lead this great country. Now look, you know, if I had said this eight, 10 months ago, they'd say, well, you know, I'm being partisan. Well, I am partisan. I make no apologies for that.
[13:50:05] But I'm not mean about it, and as Hillary will tell you, I don't know any Democrat that is more positive relationships with Republicans than I do in the United States Senate.
But having said that, look at the people who've come out. Scores and scores of the most prominent, Republican thinkers in the national security field. They've come out and both political parties have reported that he has no idea what he's talking about.
Even confronted with the facts he doesn't want to learn them. The few times he tries to deal with the facts, he reveals a profound misunderstanding, what's at stake? Just listen for a second, listen to him.
He belittles our closest allies in this hemisphere and in Europe. Nations that stand with us are part of our security network that are with us when we address every international challenge.
Those who fought and bled alongside us for decades, he wants to toss those relationships aside, like the ones that -- like his failed business ventures, or something. In the meantime, he talks cavalierly, about encourage -- and other nations as Hillary pointed out -- to develop nuclear weapons as if nuclear war is some trivial affair.
Does he not understand we wrote Japan's constitution to say they could not be a nuclear power? Where was he when -- in school (ph)?
Someone who lacks this judgment cannot be trusted. There's a guy that follows me right back here, has the nuclear codes. So God forbid anything happened, the president and I had to make a decision the codes are with me all -- he is not qualified to know the codes.
He can't be trusted.
I was proud, my son Beau served for a year in Iraq, came back a highly decorated soldier. I must tell you -- I must tell you that a Donald Trump for president -- I would've thrown my body in front of him. No, I really mean it, to keep it from going if the judgment was based on Trump's decision.
Every president since Harry Truman has looked toward a Europe -- whole, free and at peace. One of the most consequential people right now who's trying to undo that is a man that Donald Trump says he admires.
Now, I'm not big on the character assassination stuff. I really mean that. I mean look at -- look at everything any campaign I've ever run. I'm just trying to like that old program of where we run just the facts ma'am, nothing but the facts? (LAUGHTER)
Oh, that was Joe Friday, actually.
But he says he admires Vladimir Putin.
No, no, no, no, no it's more than -- it's more than the boos, here's the deal. What is Putin's objective as -- Hillary knows as well as anyone dealing with Putin as I have and the president, has and John Kerry? Putin is determined to crack NATO and crack the European alliance. That is his overarching, overwhelming interest.
I'm heading from here, getting on a plane and flying to Kosovo then to Serbia then I'm going to the Baltic States.
You know one of the reasons I'm going? Is to make sure to reassure those who remember the NATO and the Baltic States we mean what we say. We mean what we say, the sacred alliance of 60 years because they're worried.
Listen to his comments about Ukraine, are you sure that Russia will not move on Ukraine? But him -- without understanding they've already moved on Ukraine and occupy Crimea. This guy's shame has no limits; he's even got so far as to ask Putin and Russia to conduct cyber attacks against the United States of America.
No, no even if he is joking -- which he's not --even if he's joking, what an outrageous thing to say.
Look, folks. These are not isolated examples. He's even showered praise on Saddam Hussein, one of the most violent dictators of the 20th century, a man who repeatedly backed terror attacks against Israel because he was supposedly -- the reason he admires him -- he was a killer of terrorists, that's why he likes Saddam.
He would've loved Stalin, he would've loved Stalin.
[13:55:00] Look, this -- this says a lot about his approach that explains why he so often embraced tactics of terrorists, enemies themselves.
Religious intolerance, casting entire communities as culpable for the acts of a few of the community, torture, when he knows it's illegal, and says, he would still order it even though the military commanders said they would not obey his orders. When can you think of ever in history where military commanders have said before a man or woman is elected that they would not follow his orders? Threatening to kill innocent family members of suspects, indiscriminate bombing, what he calls for. That's how anyone hoping to lead this great democracy in the world should behave? Look, he likes autocrats, he wills the politics of fear and intolerance, calling for a ban on Muslims in the United States, slandering proud Muslim parents of a Gold Star family who paid the ultimate sacrifice, threatening to send American citizens to Guantanamo. I tell you, this guy's OK?
AUDIENCE: No, no, no.
BIDEN: Look, Trump's ideas are not only profoundly wrong, they're very dangerous and they're very un-American. You know, they reveal a profound ignorance of our constitution. It's a recipe for playing into the hands of terrorists and their propaganda.
Last year, ISIL's top leader who we had been tracking since we got Bin Laden - Hillary, me, John, everyone else, the president - his name is Al-Baghdadi -- and he revealed the goal of ISIL, he just said it straight out. You can go on their website. He said their goal is to, quote, "compel the crusaders to actively destroy the gray zones themselves," meaning anywhere where Christians and Muslims live, he calls a gray zone. He said the objective is to actively destroy that gray zone.
Muslims in the west, he says, will have to quickly find themselves between two choices. Either apostatize or emigrate to the Islamic state and thereby escape prosecution. How does he make the case? By pointing out that no Muslim is welcome in the west.
ISIL wants to manufacture a clash of civilizations between us versus them. Trump is trying to give them exactly what they want.
Last week he stood in front of a crowd in Florida and said President Obama founded a terrorist organization, ISIL. Now, look. Look. This, I really should end with. You know, that's an outrageous statement, but let me tell you why it's a dangerous statement. Why -- as he might say, the bad guys are listening. Yesterday, the head of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, Iran's top terrorist surrogate, and a direct threat to our ally Israel, repeated Trump's claim in the entire Muslim world and - I mean, around the world, that President Obama founded ISIL.
You say, well what difference does that make? Here's exactly what the leader of Hezbollah said referring to Trump's accusation. He said this, "this is not just a spokesman for ISIL" - excuse me, for Hezbollah. "This is not a simple speech," referring to Trump. "This -" I'm quoting him. "This is an American presidential candidate, this was spoken on behalf of the American Republican party, and he," meaning Trump, "has the data and documents to back it up."
If my son were still in Iraq - and I say to all those who are there, the threat to their life has gone up a couple clicks. It's gone up a couple clicks.
You saw what's happening in Turkey, where some in Turkey are accusing us of being part of the coup attempt. Ladies and gentlemen, does he have any idea the adverse consequences these outlandish comments have on our allies, our friends, and the physical safety of our troops?
Trump is already making our country less safe, and I'm testing your stamina so let me go to the end here and say...