Joe Biden Thanks Barack Obama for Being 'A President Our Children Could Look Up To'
By John Boone
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After a week of moving addresses, we hear from the man who could become the 46th president of the United States. Joe Biden took the stage during Thursday's Democratic National Convention to speak for the first time as the party's presidential candidate.
The former vice president's remarks followed an introduction from his children, Ashley and Hunter, and he began his speech by quoting civil rights activist Ella Baker.
"'Give people light and they will find the way.' Give people light. Those are words for our time," he said. "The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear, too much division."
"Here and now I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst," Biden continued. "I will be an ally of the light, not of the darkness. It's time for us, for We the People, to come together. For make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America."
With the evening's theme set as "America's Promise," Biden spoke on how he plans to work for everyone following the election in November.
"While I'll be a Democratic candidate, I'll be an American president. I'll work hard for those who didn't support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me," he promised. "That's the job of a president, to represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment."
"America isn't just a collection of clashing interests, of red states or blue states," Biden said. "We're so much bigger than that."
He continued, "This is life-changing election. This will determine what America's going to look like for a long, long time. Character is on the ballot, compassion is on the ballot, decency, science, democracy. They're all on the ballot. Who we are as a nation, what we stand for, and most importantly, who we want to be. That's all on the ballot. And the choice could not be more clear."
Though he never mentioned him by name, Biden spoke of how Donald Trump mishandled the coronavirus pandemic and the current state of the economy. He then thanked Barack Obama as "a president our children could and did look up to."
"No one's going to say that about the current occupant of the White House," he added.
Biden announced that his first order of business if he is elected president is to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, and he took a moment to speak directly to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.
"I know that deep black hole that opens up in the middle of your chest and you feel like you're being sucked into it," he spoke. "I know how mean, cruel, and unfair life can be sometimes. But I've learned two things. First, your loved one may have left this Earth, but they'll never leave your heart. They'll always be with you. You'll always hear them. And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose."
Biden praised his running mate, Kamala Harris, as "a powerful voice for this nation." He said his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will be a great first lady. "She loves this country so much." He said his family lifts him up and gives him strength. "While he's no longer with us, Beau inspires me every day."
He also shared a story about meeting George Floyd's daughter, 6-year-old Gianna, and recalled her telling him, "Daddy changed the world."
"Her words burrowed deep in my heart. Maybe George Floyd's murder was a breaking point," he said. "Maybe John Lewis' passing the inspiration, but however it's come to be, however it's happened, America is ready -- in John's words -- to lay down, 'the heavy burden of hate at last' and end the hard work of rooting out our systemic racism."
"American history tells us that it's been in our darkest moments that we've made our greatest progress, that we found the light," Biden wrapped up. "In this dark moment, I feel we're poised to make great progress again. That we can find the light once more."
It is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for President of the United States of America.
Following his speech, Biden was joined onstage by his wife -- who congratulated him with a big hug -- as well as Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff. They moved outside the Delaware convention center to greet supporters who attended a drive-in viewing party and to watch fireworks.
Following his speech, many stars took to Twitter to congratulate him and celebrate his heartfelt address.
Such an effective and powerful speech from @JoeBiden. I’ve forgotten what decency and cogent and compentent leadership looks like- Can’t wait for November 3rd!! #bidenharris2020
You were amazing tonight. Can’t wait to cast my vote for you. Thank you for inviting love and light and hope into the hardship of our country right now. Leading with love and empathy. Yes yes yes. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/qVU9VlyVrc
God bless you @JoeBiden You made us proud. You will make us proud. And your message, your decency, your experience and your strength is vitally needed. You have my vote and my advocacy. Happily and gratefully.