Vice President Joe Biden, once considered a potential Democratic candidate for president, defended party nominee Hillary Clinton and took aim at Republican contender Donald Trump.
Biden criticized Trump for a contentious campaign that he said has distracted the country from talking about the most important issues facing the nation.
Stopping at Sinclair Community College in front of hundreds Monday night while others were turned away, the vice president said Trump was unqualified for the highest office in the nation.
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“Donald Trump, both the way he has demonstrated his character and his absolute paucity of knowledge about anything having to do with running this country, should on its face be disqualifying,” Biden said.
The most recent polls show Clinton leading Trump nationally, but the presidential contest in the swing state of Ohio remains neck and neck in the final sprint to Election Day, Nov. 8.
A Suffolk University poll released Thursday showed Clinton and Trump both polling with 45 percent of the vote in the Buckeye State. The poll surveyed 500 likely voters Oct. 17-19 prior to the final debate last week in Las Vegas.
The polling results amid Trump’s repeated claims the election is “rigged.”
The vice president also pushed for the election of former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in the Senate over Republican GOP incumbent Rob Portman. Strickland appeared with Biden for part of the campaign stop.
Trump returns Thursday
Trump will campaign in Clark County on Thursday at the Champion Center Expo. The event will start at 1 p.m. and tickets are available at DonaldTrump.com
In a statement prior to the vice president’s Dayton appearance, the Trump campaign blasted Biden and referred to a statement the vice president made about wishing he and Trump were in high school so “I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.” A video clip shows Biden made the remark after talking about Trump’s lewd remarks about women surfaced in a 2005 video.
During the campaign stop in Dayton, Biden called Trump’s remarks in the video a “textbook example of sexual assault.”
“Joe Biden’s public wish for a physical altercation with Mr. Trump is beneath him, and follows what appears to be a very coordinated underground effort by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to incite violence at Trump rallies in order to generate negative news coverage against Mr. Trump,” spokesman Seth Under said in a statement.
Biden calls Trump dangerous
Around the world, Biden said he has been asked if Trump could become president, drawing concern among allies and other nations and raised the question about the United States commitment to NATO.
“Whether it’s Great Britain or Abu Dhabi, whether it’s Japan or it is Colombia, everybody in the world listens to every word of that debate,” Biden said. “… Trump has already caused serious damage.”
Biden blamed Trump for distractions that have taken media attention away from critical issues such as health care, jobs, and taxes.
In the past eight presidential election, Biden added, “it’s the first election where there’s been virtually no discussion about the really critical issues.”
Citing an improved economy since the Great Recession, Biden said Clinton was behind middle class America and supported issues like affordable child care.
Wright State University assistant professor of political science Lee Hannah said Trump’s questioning the fairness of the election might depress voter turnout as well as headlines proclaiming one candidate is most likely to win.
“By all accounts, it looks like it will remain tight in Ohio,” Hannah said Monday. “It looks like, in many other swing states, they are breaking for Clinton. It’s not out of the question this could turn into a landslide at this point.”
Sinclair student David Showalter, 27, of Dayton, who heard Biden speak Monday, said he’s leaning toward voting for Clinton but is “on the fence a little bit.”
“I like to hear all sides,” he said. “Trump is pretty vulgar, but I heard the first thing I actually agreed with from him which is denying of the AT&T and Time Warner cable merger and so I guess he might have a little bit of business sense there.”
He rejected Trump’s claims talk of a rigged election. “For a man who has been given everything, and for all we know he hasn’t paid his taxes so he hasn’t paid anything and he expects to get everything and be the leader of our country, I’ve got a problem with that.”
Clinton supporter Sherri Swiger, 62, of Miamisburg, was among the spectators inside Sinclair’s Automotive Technology Building to see Biden.
“I’ve always just liked him,” she said. “I feel like his service has been honorable. It’s been long. I think he’s kind of a tried and tested human being on a personal level and yet I think he’s brought that perspective to his public service.”