Vice President Joe Biden stepped onto the stage, sunglasses at the ready, and flashed a smile at the crowd.
With Election Day looming, Biden crossed Florida, visiting Ocala on Wednesday afternoon to rally a crowd of about 2,500 supporters.
He stopped in a town where neighborhood lawns are spotted with both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama signs, where the cars that sail down county roads are almost as likely to have a Democratic sticker as a Republican sticker. In Marion County, there are about 82,000 registered Democrats and about 95,000 registered Republicans, according to the Marion County Supervisor of Elections office.
“We win Florida, we win this election,” Biden told the cheering crowd.
He focused on women’s issues and job growth under the Obama administration and spent most of his about 40-minute speech bashing Romney.
Democratic supporters held “Forward!” signs and cheered as Biden wove in his oft-publicized personal anecdotes and emphasized his doubts about Romney’s proposed budget and policies.
“His plans aren’t sketchy,” he said. “They’re Etch A Sketch-y.”
Biden bashed Romney for his comments about women’s equality in the workplace, criticizing his recent “binders full of women” comment that exploded across the Internet after the second presidential debate.
“I hope he kept that binder,” he said.
He said Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan believe their plans will help people, but their vision of the American dream is distorted.
“We’ve seen that movie and how it ends,” Biden said. “And on Halloween, it’s a horror movie is what it is.”
Biden mentioned the victims of Hurricane Sandy during his speech, praising Northeastern mayors for working together to get affected residents the help they need, despite political affiliation.
“We’re always, always better off as a nation when we pull together,” he said.
Leslie Wengler, a 26-year-old Ocala resident, said Biden’s points on medical care resonated with her because she has a form of muscular dystrophy. She said Obama’s health care law has made it possible to get help.
“Without that, I would just be out of luck,” she said.
She said she supports Obama and Biden and they’ve done a great job during their time in office.
“It takes a while for change to cause an effect,” she said. “Change doesn’t happen overnight.”
Contact Meredith Rutland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of about 2,500 people regarding the upcoming election at the Discovery Center at Tuscawilla Park, 701 NE Sanchez Ave., in Ocala Wednesday afternoon.