Joe Biden recently said he thought he could have beaten Hillary Clinton had he run in the Democratic primary.
He should have tried, in the view of many among the estimated 300 people who came Wednesday to the Museum of Science & Industry to watch Biden stump for Clinton.
“He’s just awesome,” said Shawn Forrestal, 48, of St. Petersburg. “He inspires me. He supports women and the assault weapon ban and does it in a way that gets me excited.”
Once Biden took the stage in MOSI’s small back patio, he showed the audience why.
During two elections as Barack Obama’s running mate, Biden has earned a reputation as an attack dog for the fiery way he goes after an opponent’s shortcomings.
On Wednesday, his fangs were on full display as he worked through the list of problems the Democrats have with Republican nominee Donald Trump.
There was Trump’s insistence that he’s smart not to pay taxes, the Billy Bush recording of his “locker room talk” about women, comments and tweets found inflammatory by women and minorities, and how the Republican nominee stiffed contractors then explained he didn’t like their work.
“Well, Trump, maybe I don’t like the quality of what you say,” Biden said.
Making no mention of the Clinton email controversy, fueled last week by FBI notice that more had been discovered, Biden acknowledged that some in the crowd are mad at the candidate.
Then he rattled off why he considers Clinto the most qualified for the job— her experience as secretary of state, her work as a New York senator to help first responders following 9/11, her desire to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work, and a platform that includes free community college tuition.
Those attending the rally made it clear they’re voting for nominee Clinton, with a short-lived chant of “Hillary,” while continuing to heap praise on the vice president.
“He has so much passion,” said Marie Tapia, 69, of Tampa, who admitted she preferred Biden as the Democratic nominee. “He is a man of character and a man with a commanding presence. He says what he means and means what he says.”
Asa Waterstraut, 33, of Land O’Lakes, said he supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, also for the enthusiasm the candidate showed.
That’s no knock on Clinton, he insisted.
“She’s just not the type who will bang her fist on a table to make her point,” he said. “But she knows policy.”
That Clinton isn’t drawing enthusiasm from voters as Obama, Biden and Sanders have is a cause for concern, said Rachelle Crawford, 27, of Riverview.
But Crawford is confident that disgust at Donald Trump will drive Democrats to the polls in Florida.
“Trump is simply not fit to be president,” she said. “Clinton is.”