Vice President Joe Biden Comes to Bucks


Shannon Harrar, Centurion Staff

Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, paid a visit to Bucks County Community College’s Bristol campus on Oct. 7. The visit was intended as an attempt to shore up support for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, with a primary focus on voter registration.
Classes were cancelled Friday at the Bristol campus, due to the expectation of a big crowd. And indeed, the crowds were huge – after all, this is the Vice President.
The event was open to the public, with the only requirement for attendance an RSVP on Hillary Clinton’s website.
Unfortunately, not all people who RSVP’d were able to attend the event. Over 600 RSVPs were submitted through the website, but there was only enough space in the main room for 250 people.
Doug Marland, a student at the Bucks Newtown campus, was among those turned away.
“They told me the building was filled and security was all inside,” Marland said of his experience. “They weren’t letting any more people come in. The old lady with me said that it was ridiculous.”
The event opened to the public at 9:30 am, but a line had already formed by 9:00. Alixandra Mood, a Bristol campus student, was one of the early attendants. Mood, a Quakertown native, saw the Biden visit as a great effort to boost voter confidence.
A Clinton fan herself, Mood noticed how in the days leading up to Biden’s visit, more people were openly expressing support for the former Secretary of State.
In order to harness this support, while attendants waited to be admitted into the campus, volunteers went up and down the lines handing out forms to fill out, saying that “we couldn’t get in without them.”
The forms asked for names, phone numbers and addresses, then encouraged holders to check off boxes for when they were available to canvas and phone bank for Hillary Clinton.
The volunteers then urged those who were waiting in line to make nine phone calls off a list printed on the back of the forms. These lists included the names and phone numbers of registered voters to see if they were supporting Clinton in the upcoming race.
Bridget Anzana, another attendee, said that only two people answered her calls, with one man even telling her, “don’t waste your time,” and the other simply hanging up.
Her friend, Michael Angeloni, had better luck, saying most people he spoke with were supporters of Clinton.
Certain attendants of the event were on a VIP list. People on the list were filtered out of the main line and directed to a table where they were asked to put on wristbands, guaranteeing them first entrance and good seats.
After going through a metal detector and a thorough bag-check with the Secret Service, attendants were allowed inside. Crowds poured in until full capacity was reached.
The atmosphere of the Bristol campus was buzzing, and as the room filled up, the energy only grew. The main area was decked out in American flags as well as red and blue “USA” signs.
The event started off with the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, a field organizer for the Pennsylvania Democrats introduced the first speaker, John Cardisco, former member of the PA House of Representatives.
Cardisco, a Bucks graduate himself, enthusiastically told the crowd that “Biden can relate to people of Bucks County,” as he spoke of his excitement to lead off the vice president’s visit at the school.
Democratic candidates for various state and congressional campaigns also attended the event, with many of them giving speeches prior to Biden’s address.
Two of the most notable candidates present were Steve Santarsiero, running for the US House of Representatives, and Josh Shapiro, running for Pennsylvania Attorney General.
“They’re not there for perks, they’re not there for pensions, they’re there for people,” Cardisco said of Santarsiero and Shapiro.
The next speaker was state Rep. of Bristol, Tina Davis. In her speech, Davis attempted to show how Clinton would be a voice for women across the world, describing her memories of watching Hillary in Beijing. At that moment, Davis knew she was “with her.”
Bucks County Commissioner Dianne Marseglia spoke next, reading off her “list of great leaders,” which included Biden, Santarsiero, and Clinton.
Moving down the line, the next Democrat to speak was Josh Shapiro. He thundered to the stage, immediately firing up the crowd with his booming voice.
“Bucks is ground zero for this election!” he exclaimed while emphasizing the dire need to register and vote.
Steve Santarsiero followed with a more soft-spoken speech, bringing his son, Billy, up to the stage with him.
There was a half hour break in between their speeches and the arrival of the vice president, while staff members handed out blue “stronger together” signs for Biden’s supporters to hold.
The wait got a little tedious, so at one point the crowd had a little competition to see which side was louder, dividing the room in two sections and shouting back and forth “stronger together.”
Then the moment was upon us.
A Bucks County Community College student walked to the podium to tell a brief story about himself, then introduced Biden to the stage.
After much applause, the vice president began his speech. He started out with acknowledgement of our local Democratic candidates and declared his support for them. Moving on, he began discussing current events regarding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, gaining laughs from the crowd with his quips regarding the billionaire.
Bucks student Aviva Nachman was in the crowd for Biden’s speech.
“Because he used talking points instead of reading a speech, the whole experience was much more personal. He bantered with the crowd and contrasted Trump and Clinton in ways which were clear and concise, making it easy to repeat his points when talking with other people about the current political situation,” she said regarding Biden’s speech.
Biden spent a great deal of time talking about how great America already is, and how we as a people cannot lose sight of that. He addressed this generation of college students and emphasized the value in investing in education.
Bucks communications professor Stacey Bennett was also in attendance at the event.
“Giving Bucks the opportunity to see such a high profile politician was exciting and historic, and a great thing for students, staff and faculty to experience. I felt important when I learned that he’d come to Bucks to present a message.”
“Politicians talk about community college all the time, but the finally proved their concern by coming here,” she stated proudly.
In his speech, Biden also emphasized the importance of protecting the environment, denouncing many of the different policies Trump has proposed.
“Here’s what we need: we need you to vote. We need you to register,” he said in summation to his time on stage. “Don’t wake up on November 9th and find out that we lost Pennsylvania by 2000 votes and say ‘if I’d only’…”
He went on to reinforce his support in Clinton, saying, “the reason I’m optimistic is A. I know her heart, B. everybody knows how smart she is, and C. we’ve never had a president whose won by merely appealing to the fears of the American people. That doesn’t happen.”
“Americans do not scare easily. We never bend, we never bow, we only and always rebound. We endure,” he said, raising his voice over the crowd before thanking them and receiving applause and cheers.
The crowd went wild for him as he descended the stage and started making his rounds, shaking hands and taking selfies with them.
Shortly after Biden left, security began shuffling people out, thus ending the thrilling event at the school.
One undeniable fact about the whole day is how positive and abundant the energy was on the Bristol campus that morning, and how Vice President Biden’s historic visit will not soon be forgotten.