Vice President Joe Biden was the headliner at a lunch-time rally in Cedar Rapids that was part of Governor Chet Culver’s campaign roll-out.
Both Democrats stressed the region’s recovery from flooding that occurred nearly two years ago. Biden said the flood “ravaged” Iowa river towns like Cedar Rapids and Biden argued Culver should be credited for leading restoration and rebuilding after the disaster.
“This big guy with broad shoulders – he didn’t flinch,” Biden said of Culver. “He weighed in and sometimes he’d wade into the water to make things happen.”
Culver blasted Republican legislators for opposing his “I-JOBS” plan which saw the state borrow millions to finance infrastructure projects. “They said no to $300 million through I-JOBS in direct state assistance to homeowners and businesses and communities impacted by the floods. I say, ‘Yes we will help you recover from the worst disaster in our state’s history,'” Culver said, as the crowd applauded. “Yes we will continue to fight for those folks in Cedar Rapids that have been impacted.”
Biden suggested Culver has the same kind of resilient character as do most Iowans. “But few could have been prepared to deal with what happened that day in June when the river crested and roared into your businesses, your schools, your homes,” Biden said. “…This man stepped up like all of you…You’ve helped one another rebuild this city in ways that I bet you never imagined were really possible in that day in June when the devastation hit.”
Culver’s wife is a native of Cedar Rapids and as she was introducing her husband at today’s rally, she reminded the crowd the governor’s maternal and paternal grandparents had both lived and worked in Cedar Rapids. She also mentioned Governor Culver’s father, former U.S. Senator John Culver.
“You know the governor’s father was one who could pound a podium now and then, give a rousing speech and I think it’s a trait that his son has inherited,” Mari Culver said. “Some would say around the country that the Democrats are sitting on their hands this cycle in 2010, but they haven’t been to Iowa, have they? Iowa Democrats are fired up and ready to go.”
That phrase, “fired up and ready to go,” was a rallying cry for Barack Obama’s supporters during the 2008 campaign. Biden joked about his own presidential politicking in Iowa, joking that Iowa was like a “second home” to him. Biden ran for president in 1988 and 2008.