CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Cailyn Derickson//The Rock Hill Herald) - Jill Biden stood at the front of The Craft Stand, a beer store in Lancaster. Signs supporting her husband — former Vice President Joe Biden who is campaigning to be the Democratic presidential nominee — decorated the wall behind her and craft beer was stocked on shelves around the store. The room was quiet as she spoke.
“I want to take you to 2021, a year from now,” Jill Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, said. “It’s a beautiful morning.”
She paused and pointed to the downpour outside the window.
“Well not like today,” she said. The crowd of about 60 people laughed.
“I do appreciate that y’all came out in the rain,” she said. “See, now I’m saying, ‘Y’all’ like I live here.”
The crowd clapped. She continued.
“You turn on the television...And the anchors aren’t talking about how we’re on the brink of some ill-advised war,” she said. “Instead, they’re talking about how we’re going to build on the Affordable Care Act, with a public option and bring down the cost of prescription drugs.”
Some in the crowd stood and whistled.
Jill Biden stumped for her husband in Lancaster Friday and she toured the Rock Hill Boys and Girls Club later in the day. Her message echoed the former vice president’s — Joe Biden is the candidate who can beat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
I’M FOR JOE
Jill Biden said her husband has support among independent voters and the ability to beat Trump in key swing states, which other presidential campaigns don’t have.
“Even Republicans come up to me, I don’t care whether we’re in the airport or walking down the street, and they kind of whisper, ‘I’m for Joe. I’m going to vote for him.’ And I feel like we’re welcoming every single person who wants to vote in this election.”
Jill Biden detailed her husband’s past political victories. She said he wrote and championed the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, made sure the Affordable Care Act passed and took on the NRA multiple times.
“Anyone can tell you what they want to do,” she said. “But Joe Biden can tell you what he’s done.”
THANK GOD IT’S ONLY ONE DATE
Jill Biden said it’s important for supporters to know her, so she described how she and her husband met in the 1970s.
“I wore my hair down to the middle of my waist and so did most of the men I dated,” she said. The crowd giggled.
“So, one day, I was asked out on a date from out of the blue. As you can guess, when a handsome, clean cut senator showed up at my door, I took one look at his perfect suit and leather loafers, and I thought, ‘Thank God it’s only one date.’
The one date eventually turned into a marriage proposal. She became the stepmother of Joe Biden’s two young sons. He had lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident.
And while her husband was working as a senator, Jill Biden pursued her now more than 30 year teaching career.
“Over the years, I’ve been so proud of the life that Joe and I have built together,” she said. “And over and over again, I’ve watched Joe go up against so many odds, and accomplish the seemingly impossible.”
She said Joe Biden encouraged her to continue teaching while he was vice president.
“Even when we got to the White House, I said to Joe, ‘I can’t just live your life. You know I have to keep teaching.’ And he said, ‘Of course you should.’ He supported my career. I mean isn’t that what a partnership and marriage are really all about?” she said.
The crowd erupted with claps.
BEST DAYS ARE AHEAD OF US
Jill Biden said four more years of Trump’s presidency will change the character of the country and relations with foreign powers.
She said her husband has the vision and experience to lead the country.
“The president will be a commander in chief you can trust, a leader who brings people together instead of tearing families apart, a president that you can feel proud of, who believes that our best days are ahead of us,” she said. “And that’s my husband Joe Biden.”
HERE’S WHAT ELSE SHE SAID
After Jill Biden’s event, The Herald sat down with the former Second Lady. Here is a summary of the questions she answered. Some answers have been edited for brevity.
What is your perception of South Carolina’s education system?
I’ve been talking to a lot of teachers here in South Carolina. And I’ve heard their issues and how they want resources for students. We have to change education, and so Joe’s education plan is teacher-centered and that’s because Joe’s been hearing from the teacher for 42 years about the importance of things we need in schools, like mental health and better pay and more resources.
And so, I think if you look at our our educational plan, you’ll see that the teachers are going to love it because we’ve heard them, we’ve listened — most importantly — we’ve heard them.
And we want somebody in the Department of Ed, the Secretary of Education, who’s been in the classroom, not somebody who’s just speaking down to the teachers and saying, ‘This is what you have to do.’ The teachers are saying, ‘This is what we want to do.’
I love Joe’s education plan, and how he puts money into education. It’s a priority for him. And it will be a priority for our administration. So, the thing I picture is on the day of inauguration when Joe is standing there and saying, ‘Education is going to be better,’ and as you look over Joe’s shoulders, that first lady will be a teacher who understands.
I think that’s so important just to lift up the profession and lift up our teachers.
What are your thoughts on impeachment? How has it affected you, Joe and Hunter?
We know who Donald Trump is. I mean, he’s shown us who he is. And the fact that he would have foreign governments interfere in our election is just disgusting.