Biden calls on Democrats to unite not only party, but nation

MASON CITY — Former vice president Joe Biden made a campaign stop in Mason City this morning, calling on Democrats to not only unite their party, but to unite the nation. 

“The next president’s going to have to bring us together. I know that among many of my colleagues that are seeking the nomination, that’s not viewed as a realistic possibility. We not only have to unite our party, we have to unite our country.  We are a democracy. The only way democracy can be sustained is if in fact we arrive at consensus on the major issues. That’s why our constitution is written. It’s all written to avoid the abuse of power, to make it harder to abuse power with three equal branches of government. So we have to be able to pull the country together, not just the Democrats, but Republicans and independents as well,” he says.

Biden says the country needs someone that has experience to start working in the White House on day one of the next administration.  “The president is going to inherit, whomever he or she is this time around, going to inherit a divided country, even more divided no matter what happens in the impeachment trial, and their going to inherit a world in disarray, a world that is really trying to figure out what in God’s name are we doing. I don’t think there’s going to be much time for on-the-job training, and I think we need a president who’s going to be ready on day one, when they raise their right hand. Actually they’re going to need your ready the day after they get elected to begin to sew back our international relations.”

A member of the crowd asked Biden to consider Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, who is also running for the Democratic presidential nomination, as a potential vice presidential running-mate. Biden wouldn’t commit to that this early in the White House race, but pointed to the diversity of the Obama Administration.  “Just look at my Barack and I did. Look at my staff, my senior staff. I had more women, more African Americans, more people than a lot of campaigns do, because it has to look like the country. I can name for you eight women who win easily qualify to be President of the United States and a vice presidential pick,  but I am not going to specifically meant to any one person now. And there’s also going to be people of color in my administration, both Latino as well as African American. Barack and I didn’t make a bad combo and we became very very close friends.

Meanwhile Biden has sought to ease tensions with rival Bernie Sanders after the two candidates exchanged several volleys over Social Security and other matters. Biden pledged in a wide-ranging interview with MSNBC earlier today (on Wednesday) that if he reaches the White House he would not agree to any budget deal that curtails Social Security benefits. Sanders and his aides have in recent days highlighted Biden speeches from his long public career advocating for budget deals that could have curtailed some entitlement spending. Biden says Sanders has misrepresented his position.


The Associated Press contributed to this report