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Joe Biden visits De Anza College


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Former Vice President Joe Biden’s speaking engagement at De Anza College at the Flint Center on Oct. 19 drew a sizable, mostly over age 50 crowd who cheered as he commented on all things political and personal.  

Biden began his speech defining America as the greatest nation in the world, while forewarning the short- and long-term consequences of the current volatile and ineffective administration’s divisive actions within the U.S. and internationally.

Alex Golzen, a former De Anza student, reflected on Biden’s words in an interview after the speech.

“Didn’t get nitty gritty,” he said. “He speaks abstractly and in empty platitudes and talks about phony American ideology.”

Biden expressed concern about declining American influence and values.  

He implied that the current administration exploits the economic insecurity and disempowerment of those pushed out of the middle class to push their own agendas.

“They [middle class] feel shut out of opportunities. These conditions appeal to populism and nationalism, allowing charlatans to aggrandize themselves, consolidate their power and destabilize the world,” Biden said.  “This new brand of nationalism and populism blame all their troubles on the ‘other – the immigrant, the black and etc.’ It degrades our standing in the world and diminishes security and prosperity.”

Biden also spoke about nuclear warfare, the Korean and Russian threat, and losing many allies because of the ineptness of Trump’s administration.

“I liked how he described it [the issues] in calm, but descriptive terms,” audience member Gary Baker said after the speech.

Baker also said he appreciated Biden for taking the high ground by not throwing insults or blame, but still being honest about the issues.

In addition, Biden spoke about his personal triumphs and tragedies.

He shifted from standing at the podium to sitting on a plush armchair next to event organizer, Richard L. Henning, who questioned Biden on topics such as the dismantling of Obamacare and Biden’s new memoir.

He also spoke on his contributions as vice president, his close and collaborative relationship with Obama, his positive ties to internationally prominent political leaders and his four decades of political service.

One of the few millennials in attendance, Tom Golzen said after the speech, “I was hoping he would be more in depth on certain subjects. He covered a lot of things, but didn’t get into depth quite as much.”

  Despite Golzen’s observations, the crowd applauded Biden throughout.

A woman over 50 years old, who identified herself as Hunny B., expressed her growing admiration for Biden, admitting that she didn’t know very much about him before, but after the speech, she said she was impressed by his intelligence.

Biden ended his speech with the introduction of his memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose scheduled for release next month.

The book centers on the former vice president’s experience in finding balance between political duties and family issues as his son, Beau Biden, lost his battle with brain cancer in 2015.

He expressed reluctance to go on a promotional book tour for his memoir because his son died just two years ago, but Biden still plans to tour.

Biden’s speech at De Anza’s Flint Center could be a preview to his upcoming book tour.

The book tour and memoir occurring so soon after his exit as vice president has experts, such as Washington Post columnist Emily Heil, predicting that Biden will run for the 2020 presidential election.

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