Jill Biden fires up Democratic volunteers in Cape Girardeau

Saturday, October 18, 2008
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Dr. Jill Biden speaks to Democratic Party supporters Saturday at the Laborers International Union local headquarters in Cape Girardeau.

The sorry state of the American economy coupled with costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be enough to turn local voters away from the Republican party and into the Obama-Biden camp, Dr. Jill Biden told about 150 supporters in Cape Girardeau Saturday morning.

Biden, wife of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, was in Cape Girardeau to whip up enthusiasm among about 60 volunteers at the Laborers' Local No. 1104 at 733 Enterprise St. Following Biden's brief speech the volunteers went out on door-to-door canvassing missions for the Obama-Biden campaign in Cape Girardeau. About 150 people total attended the standing room only event, which was open to the public.

The stop was part of a whirlwind tour across rural Missouri Saturday for Biden, who was scheduled to fly to a campaign stop in Springfield following the Cape Girardeau event, followed by another afternoon stop in Jasper, Mo., near Joplin. Like Cape Girardeau, the southwest area of Missouri — where Springfield and Joplin are located — have leaned heavily toward the Republican party in the last several presidential elections.

"I think every state is important, every vote is important ..." Biden said in an interview with the Southeast Missourian following her speech. "We are going to all the states, trying to appeal to all the voters and trying to get our message of change across."

In her position as an English professor at a Delaware college, Biden said she's seen the effects of the economic downturn on her students, some of whom can no longer afford to go to school because they had to get another job to help support their families. Others have problems affording the materials they need for classes, she said.

"More than ever before I'm seeing students who can't do the work because they can't afford the books, and I'm seeing students who can't come back to school for extra help because they can't afford gas," Biden said to a crowd that gave her several standing ovations.

The campaigns of both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain were busy on Saturday reaching out to voters in conservative states. McCain was campaigning Saturday in North Carolina and Virginia, where polls show Obama has moved into the lead during the past month. Obama was scheduled to make appearances in both Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis as his campaign battles for votes in a well known bellwether state.

Check back at semissourian.com later or read Sunday's Southeast Missourian for more on this story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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