Biden’s Florida Rally Disrupted by Protesters

By Hope Ditto

Nov 2, 2008 2:57pm

ABC News’ Matt Jaffe reports: Just 48 hours before Election Day, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden’s rally Sunday at Florida State University was disrupted by a raucous group of Republican opponents just outside the event’s gates.

About 30 supporters of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin blared sirens and chanted so loudly that they even got Biden’s attention.

"Maybe those McCain folks can hear this, they’d be interested back there," Biden said over the din of the protesters just a hundred yards away. "They can hear this, I’ll say it loudly as I can. I thought it was a siren, it’s just a whine, I guess. It’s gonna be OK folks."   

As he has always done on the stump, Biden then ripped McCain’s economic policies.

"Look, if John actually had had an epiphany, if he had an epiphany, he would have seen the light," Biden continued. "But if he saw the light, he’d have to acknowledge that in fact the economic policies of the last eight years are the cause, the cause of the economic crisis we find ourselves in now."

The protesters chanted "Say it ain’t so, Joe!" "Country first!" and "Obama’s not ready, Joe you said it," referring to Biden’s guarantee at a Seattle fundraiser that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., would be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in office.

The group carried signs reading, "It’s our dough, Joe!" "Obama not ready," "Barack Obama wants your money," "Why so socialist?" "Spread butter not wealth," "Abortion is murder," "Don’t tax me for working hard," "Taxed to death" and "I wrote Joe’s speech."

References to another famous Joe, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, were also a prominent feature among the protesters, flashing signs that read, "Regular Joes for McCain," "We are all Joes," and "Both Joes take your money, but only Joe the Plumber fixes things."

One GOP supporter wore a white T-shirt that read, "Hello, my name is Joe the Plumber".

But Biden was unfazed, using the presence of the protesters to preach a message of unity and bipartisanship to his audience of 2000 gathered outside the school’s Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

"They’re good folks," Biden said of his noisy opponents. "They’re committed, they’re committed to John’s notions, but we know what they don’t know. We know that we can do this. This is not some hat trick. This is not something beyond our capacity. We have always as Americans risen above our difficult moments. Always."

It was just one of four references Biden made to the Republican crowd disturbing his Sunshine State rally.

"We can’t move past the politics of division unless after this election is over, if God willing we win, we reach out to the very people out in the outer parking lot," Biden noted moments later. "I mean it literally. Not a joke."

"I know you find some of that obnoxious, but the folks… — look folks, we gotta reach out, we gotta end this," demanded the Delaware senator. "Somebody’s got to be big enough to stand up and end this."

Despite his call to bridge the partisan divide, Biden wouldn’t be deterred from his usual digs at the Republican ticket.

"John McCain and Sarah Palin can have Dick Cheney’s endorsement," he said, citing the current vice president’s praise Saturday for the GOP ticket. "We’ll settle for people like Warren Buffett and Colin Powell."

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