ABC News’ Matt Jaffe Reports: In his first visit to New Mexico as part of the Democratic ticket, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Friday ripped his Republican counterpart Gov. Sarah Palin for stating that she liked to visit “pro-American” parts of the country.
"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C.,” Palin said at a Greensboro, NC fundraiser Thursday. “We believe, we believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans: those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us, those who are protecting us in uniform, those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.”
Speaking in the historic plaza in downtown Mesilla, a small southern New Mexico town not far from where his son Beau is training to deploy to Iraq, Biden wasted little time in jumping all over the Alaskan governor’s remarks.
“It’s disappointing, and I hope it’s a slip of the tongue and she doesn’t mean it, but she said it, it was reported she said that she likes to visit – quote – ‘pro American’ parts of the country,” the Democratic vice-presidential nominee said. “Ladies and gentlemen, I, like your senator and governor, have been all over this great land. I’ve never been to a state, I’ve never been to a state that hasn’t sent its sons and daughters to serve and die for this country.”
“One of the reasons why Barack and I are running is that we know how damaging the politics of division that continues to be practiced by the McCain, how damaging this policy of division has been,” continued Biden before the crowd of 2000, his voice rising with every word. “It’s time to put this behind us. Folks, it is not a corny thing. It’s real. We are one nation, under God, indivisible. We are all patriotic. We all love our country in every part of this country. And I’m tired. I am tired, tired, tired, tired of the implications about patriotism.”
Not only did he blast the McCain campaign’s “politics of division,” but Biden also continued to tie the GOP nominee to President Bush by noting that “if it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, it’s a duck.”
“In one of the most recent debates, John McCain felt the need, felt the need to declare that he was not President Bush,” the Delaware lawmaker said. “There’s that old expression ‘he doth protest too loudly.’ You know, he may not be George Bush, but my mother when I was a kid – and you’ve heard me say this before – but when I was a kid and you want to go hang out in the corner, and the guys your mother didn’t want you to hang out with, and I’d say ‘well, mom, I know what those guys are gonna do, but I’m not like that.’ She says ‘honey, if it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, it’s a duck.’ Well ladies and gentlemen, in these last three debates it looked like a duck to me, folks.”
“After 23 months of campaigning, eight years of failed economic policy, there’s not one fundamental, not one fundamental economic issue, on which John McCain has challenged the policies of George Bush,” Biden added.
It was on this question of economic policy that Biden continued to downplay the story of Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher, noting that the nation’s most famous plumber – who doesn’t have a license – can’t be too bad off as long as he is making upwards of $250,000 per year.
“We’re going to start with real meaningful tax cuts," Biden said. "I promise you, if you’re unlike Joe the Plumber – be nice if he got a license – but Joe the Plumber, I know you got a lot of plumbers out here making over 250 grand. Raise your hands, please.”
One supporter nearby raised his hand.
“There’s a man – go borrow money from him, the guy in the green shirt,” Biden joked. “He makes more than 250. He looks like he’s only 18 years old, but he must — which means he earned it the hard way, he inherited it.”
In a state that Democrats lost by fewer than 6,000 votes four years ago, Biden followed the lead of the man at the top of his ticket, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., – who cautioned supporters in New York Thursday not to get “cocky” – and warned voters that the election is “very far from over”.
“We have reason to be encouraged because of what’s been going on, not just in the polling but the reception we’ve been getting around the country, but I want to make it clear to you: this election is very, very, very, very far from over,” Biden said. “This administration has bequeathed, I think, the tactics of Karl Rove to the McCain administration, you’re gonna see some pretty, pretty tough stuff, pretty tough stuff in these last two weeks, so we cannot let up.”