Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Biden talks Medicare, women's issues at Sun City Center rally

SUN CITY CENTER — Vice President Joe Biden energized a hall of senior citizens in this mostly conservative community on Friday, issuing stark warnings for the future of entitlement programs and women's rights in a Mitt Romney administration.

Biden's 40-minute, gaffe-free address to a crowd of about 1,150 people at a Sun City Center community hall tackled Republican talking points on the new health care law and Medicare. His remarks delivered a few laugh lines, including one that picked up on Barack Obama's characterization of Romney's tax plan during Tuesday's debate as a "sketchy deal."

"I'm reluctant to correct the president on that," Biden said. "But I would respectfully suggest they're not sketchy. They're Etch A Sketchy."

The visit marked Biden's ninth trip to Florida this year. Sun City Center — home to 19,000 people, 77 percent of whom are 65 or older — isn't exactly friendly Democratic territory.

John McCain won about 60 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election. The division showed as several dozen Romney supporters lined the road and waved signs from their yards and golf carts as ticket-holders entered the event site. One person wore a Grim Reaper costume and held a scythe and a poster that said, "America is dying because of Obama."

"We are very educated people, and we know the truth," said Carol Howley, a 69-year-old resident holding a Romney sign. "It scares us that all these people are voting for Obama. We're not for socialism."

Biden shared an on-stage hug with his daughter, Ashley, who came up as he reminded the room about the Republican ticket's antiabortion stance and Romney's "binders full of women" remark at Tuesday's debate. Romney was talking about how he had filled his administration with female officials. Still, the sound bite went viral.

"How did he have to go ask for binders?" Biden said, drawing laughs. "It gives a sort of window into how he thinks about these things."

Biden, who held a rally Friday afternoon in Fort Pierce and will be in St. Augustine today, mocked the Republican ticket for wanting to preserve the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the country's wealthiest people and for opposing tax increases.

"Instead of signing a pledge to Grover Norquist, they should sign a pledge to middle-class people in this country," he said.

As the audience shuffled inside, Obama for America volunteers passed out vote-by-mail request forms and pledge cards.

Doris Thomas, 84, an independent voter who has lived here for 23 years, said she will vote for Obama because she thinks Romney has flip-flopped on too many important issues — something Obama referred to during a Friday campaign stop in Virginia as "Romnesia."

"He keeps changing his mind," she said. "I really don't know what he's for. I can't handle that."

Times staff researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida applauds Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally at Sun City Center on Friday.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida applauds Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally at Sun City Center on Friday.

Biden talks Medicare, women's issues at Sun City Center rally 10/19/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the funk they are in right now.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) after being doubled off first on the liner by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) in to end the seventh inning of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, July 24, 2017.