Story by Don Dike-Anukam | Images by Ty O’Neil
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday followed the wave of other Democratic presidential candidates with a campaign stop in Reno. It was Biden’s first visit to northern Nevada since the beginning of the Democratic contests this month in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
As expectations and focus on Saturday’s Nevada Democratic caucus grow, so does the pressure on Vice President Biden to do well in Nevada ahead of the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary. He acknowledged as much when one voter asked about his electability.
“He complimented me very highly and then said, ‘What the hell’s the matter with your campaign?’ That’s a good question… it’s a legitimate question,” Biden said, laughing. He went on to explain that results in Iowa weren’t too much of a surprise for his campaign team.
“Number one…when they did all the cross-tab stuff, one of the four most difficult states for me to win was going to be in Iowa, because…and they’re good people. It’s all white. It’s all Midwestern. It’s a lot of it farming…
“But we did okay if you take a look at what happened there. I mean, it was kind of an unusual thing that I hope doesn’t happen here,” he said, drawing chuckles from the crowd. “No, no, I mean in terms of the actual running of the caucus, how it worked out.
“But number two…my support in the Democratic party, and all the data still shows it, we’ll see, is that I am the candidate who has the broadest support from all sectors of the economy.”
Biden does have support from other elected officials in his party, including Nevada Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall and Washoe County School Board Trustee Dr. Angie Taylor, both of whom endorsed Biden by way of introduction at the event.
“It is my pleasure to introduce you to the man I know can beat Donald Trump, the man I know you will caucus for and the man, I know, that will make America a better place tomorrow,” said Marshall as she welcomed him to the stage.
Inside the cafeteria of Archie Clayton Pre-AP Academy in northwest Reno, nearly 400 voters spent about an hour peppering Biden with other questions on major campaign issues.
One voter wanted to know how many executive orders Biden plans to overturn on his first day in the Oval Office, if elected.
“I taught constitutional law for 22 years, and I’m very supportive of the Constitution’s notion of separation of powers. So I have a lot of people running stand-up and say “The first day I’m going to do this,” and they’re going to do things that they can’t do because constitutionally [they] can’t do ‘em. But I can constitutionally eliminate every executive order [Trump] has put forward. No, I mean it! There’s not one I can think of…healthcare, the environment…”
Biden closed the event with handshakes and selfies with the crowd, even recognizing a few familiar faces.
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.