“Gotta win” Nevada, Biden says

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Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela at the IBEW Local 396 hall Saturday. (Photo: Jeniffer Solis)

Joe Biden may be running against two dozen fellow Democrats in the presidential primary, but other than to joke Saturday in Las Vegas about whether another candidate would join the field by day’s end, Biden focused on the ultimate prize — defeating Donald Trump, who Biden says “has done everything but rip the soul out of this country.” 

“He doubled down as you saw recently at his rally in North Carolina.  ‘Send her home.  Send her home,’” Biden said, slightly misquoting the North Carolina crowd’s chant of “send her back,” in reference to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.  “When has a president of the United States ever said anything like that? I said before, this guy’s a lot more George Wallace than George Washington and guess what?  Our kids are listening.”

“When you have the chancellor of Germany who was behind the Iron Curtain for half of her, two-thirds of her life, saying publicly, criticizing Donald Trump for what he said,” Biden said of Angela Merkel, who said Friday she feels solidarity with the congresswomen targeted by Trump. 

“The reason Nevada is so important is it’s such a reflection of who we are as a country — Latina, black, white, Asian.” 

“Gotta win this caucus in order to be in a position to be able to win the nomination and the general election,” Biden told a room of about 100 volunteers gathered to make campaign phone calls on his behalf at the IBEW union hall on Boulder Highway.

The union has not endorsed in the Democratic primary.

Biden told the volunteers that Trump is “undermining our value system.” 

“We’re a country that’s known for being decent, honest, honorable, leaving nobody behind, realizing there’s some things bigger than you.  We’ve never really lived up to our potential. Which, you know ‘we hold these truths self-evident,’ ‘in order to create,’ or ‘we, the people.’” Biden said, referencing the Declaration of Independence and clauses from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.  “But we’ve never given up on it.” 

Biden, who leads the race in a new NBC national poll by 9 points over Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are tied for second, echoed some of those candidates’ economic themes during his talk with volunteers. 

“There’s a lot at stake here and I think we have to start rewarding work over wealth,” Biden said. “I’m not saying people don’t have the right to be wealthy in America.  They do. But the disproportionate way we reward wealth. My God. This last tax cut raised the debt over 1.9 trillion dollars.” 

“Gotta rebuild the middle class. Wall Street did not build America. The middle class built America and unions built the middle class,” Biden said to cheers from his volunteers. 

During his last visit to Las Vegas in May, Biden delivered a similar message against corporate greed, then left the event to attend a fundraiser hosted by MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren, who terminated 1,000 employees in recent months in an apparent attempt to assuage activist shareholders. 

“I believe that whether he’s in front of mega-corporate bosses or in front of union people, he (Biden) affirms his commitment to working families,” State Senator Yvanna Cancela, who has endorsed Biden and introduced him at the phone bank event, told the Current. 

“This is an election unlike any you’ve participated in.  Four years of Donald Trump is going to be hard to overcome but we can overcome it,”  Biden told his supporters. “Eight years of Donald Trump will change the nature of who we are.”   

Finally, Biden took a seat among the volunteers to make a few calls himself. 

“I’ll try not to lose any supporters along the way here!” he said.

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.

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