HJ - Dr Jill Biden in Clarinda

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, made a campaign stop in Clarinda Friday, Aug. 2, at the Garrison House. (photo by Dan Eshelman)

Joe Biden’s personal attributes and his long career in public service enhance his qualifications to become the next president of the United States.

  That was the message delivered by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, during a campaign stop Friday, Aug. 2, at the Garrison House in Clarinda.

  For those who have met her husband, she said, “You know what a strong character he has and you know the integrity he has.”

Biden, who served as a U.S. Senator from Delaware and then as vice president in the Obama administration, is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for president in the 2020 election.

“He is a leader and he has experience,” Jill Biden said. “He will be able to walk into that White House on day one. He needs no on-the-job training. He knows world leaders and foreign policy, and he also knows domestic policy.”

She said her husband, as president, would review and evaluate the strategies and programs that were successful in the previous Democratic administration and “make some of the things better,” but he would also implement programs of his own that reflect his vision for the country.

As his party’s nominee, Biden would be running against Donald Trump, and Jill Biden was asked how her husband planned to respond to expected attacks from the current president.

“He is not going to ‘go low’ and get into the fray,” she said. “Joe is known as a statesman. He’s also known for his honesty and his ability to bring people together.”

She said she was confident her husband could handle himself against the incumbent president, and “he can do it in a way that maintains his integrity. He knows who Donald Trump is. He doesn’t have any questions about that. And yes, he will be strong against him.”

One of her husband’s most striking character traits, she said, is his ability to rebound from adversity.

“He has been through a lot of tragedy and loss in his life,” she said, “and each time he has gotten up again after being beaten down. Joe is resilient. He is a survivor. He gets up and moves forward. His faith and his inner strength get him through. It’s one of the things I admire most about him.”

Regarding political calculations, Biden said when assessing the list of potential Democratic nominees, party members who have not yet made up their minds about who to support “have to say to yourself, ‘Who can win?’” in a matchup with Trump.

Observers generally agree that the votes of independents will be crucial in deciding the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Biden cited polls showing her husband leading among identified independents, an advantage that would be significant in states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania,

“We have to win those states,” she said. “And Joe is the one who can beat Donald Trump.”  

Replying to a question about her husband’s position on immigration, she said he favored a plan that would provide a “responsible path to citizenship” for individuals and families wanting to enter the United States and become permanent residents.

Although the issue of illegal border crossings needs to be addressed, she said, she criticized the Trump administration’s action that has separated children from other family members.

“We are being judged by the rest of the world,” she said, adding that all the people seeking the Democratic nomination have voiced their opposition to this Trump policy.

Referring to her political party, she said, “We embrace others. We’re not saying, ‘Go back.’ We’re all the products of immigrants.”

As a teacher for 35 years, Biden said she has a special interest in education and wants to see improved conditions for teachers and expanded opportunities for students -- goals that her husband shares.

“Joe’s plan is teacher-centered,” she said. “We need to listen to teachers, hear what they have to say and lift them up.”

Increasing teachers’ compensation is a component of showing more support for educators, she said, along with providing other services in school settings.

“We need more counselors and psychologists to deal with mental health issues in our schools,” she said.

“There’s just so much, and teachers can’t handle it all.”

  She said her husband’s plan would expand preschool education, implement universal kindergarten classes and take children “all the way through to community college,” which they could attend for free.

  Commenting on her husband’s decision to run for president, Biden noted that when he entered the race he said, “We are now fighting for the soul of America.”

  For her part, she said, she believes the campaign is occurring during a pivotal time.

  “We have to return to our values, to who we are as a people, as Americans,” she said.

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