By Rob Carter
BU News Service
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Speaking with over 800 democratic party donors in the state that hosts the first of the nation’s primaries, former Vice President Joe Biden shut down rumors that he would run for president in 2020 at the McIntyre-Shaheen Awards dinner last night.
Biden seemed aware the event would spawn speculation of a run. He addressed that speculation early in his speech, saying: “Guys, I’m not running.”
The announcement drew upset cries from the crowd. Chants of “Run, Joe run!” started up briefly before Biden continued with his speech.
Biden said he was there because he made a promise to his constituency that he would keep working after he left the White House.
“You measure the sincerity of a politician by what they did after they were no longer in public office,” said Biden.
No longer in public office, Biden said he would hold himself to this principle as would former President Obama. “Whatever you need, just let me know,” Biden said.
The former vice president spent his speech outlining the next steps for the Democratic party. Echoing a sentiment made by earlier speakers, he said Democrats “have to focus on what we’re going to do, not just what we’re going to stop.”
Biden said the first step was dropping what he called a “false debate” between taking on progressive causes and appealing to working class middle Americans who had supported President Trump.
Biden said he once gave a speech to factory workers where he discussed the wage-gap. He said he told them: “I believe a woman should get equal pay for equal work.”
“And they stood up and cheered because their wives all work,” he said.
Biden’s priorities for the party included closing the wage-gap, reducing college debt, protecting LGBTQ rights and his personal fights to end cancer and stop domestic violence.
He called for public financing of elections, which would reduce corporate influence on politics.
Do that, he said, and “we’ll change the whole damn world.”
Biden’s talk came after speeches by the members of New Hampshire’s all-Democrat and all-female congressional delegation.
All four women emphasized the importance of continued citizen engagement with the government. Sen. Hassan said the protests and letters since the election had already made an impact.
“Those voices have already knocked Trumpcare off the books,” said Hassan, crediting public outcry for Trump’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
However, Hassan said the work was far from over.
“The resistance must persist,” she said, alluding to the language used earlier this year by Sen. Mitch McConnell when he interrupted Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren and forced her to take a seat while she tried to read a letter by Coretta Scott King.