Biden’s local stop seeks to energize campaign workers

Romney, Obama campaigns battle for Ohio votes in final two weeks of election season.

Vice President Joe Biden’s unannounced Clark County stop Tuesday night was designed to energize campaign volunteers who are working on get-out-the-vote efforts in the final two weeks before the election.

Biden visited Springfield — the first Clark County stop by any of the four candidates running for president or vice president this year — to deliver pizzas and talk with supporters after a campaign rally in Dayton with President Barack Obama.

Campaign officials say Biden’s visit here is part of an Ohio sweep to re-elect Obama and to encourage supporters to vote early.

Biden “has been discussing the stark choice in this election with Ohio voters — a choice between moving forward with a vision to create an economy that’s built to last or going back to the same failed top-down economic policies that crashed our economy and punished the middle class,” according to a campaign statement.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s campaign also is working for votes in Ohio, specifically the southwest part of the state.

“We’re running a very aggressive campaign in the Miami Valley,” said Christopher Maloney, Ohio spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign. “Southwest Ohio will expect to see Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan over the next two weeks.”

Biden’s nearly 20-vehicle motorcade stopped traffic briefly along the route to Springfield, taking Interstate 70 to the Hampton Inn on West Leffel Lane, where he stayed for about an hour before leaving for locally-owned Catanzaro’s Pizza & Subs.

After greeting owner Joe Catanzaro and his 9-year-old grandson Nicholas, Biden picked up 15 large pizzas to take to the Obama For America office on Bechtle Avenue.

Biden returned to the counter to order a coconut cream pie after Catanzaro told the vice president it was his favorite.

Biden surprised between 80 and 100 excited Obama/Biden supporters, many of whom screamed and cried as he carried pizzas into the room.

The vice president plunged into the crowd, going through each row of supporters with hugs and kisses and posing for pictures.

Supporters such as Saundra Hill, from Piqua, burst into tears as Biden hugged her and clasped her hands. Hill said she canvased for the campaign before the 2008 election and has continued to do so.

Obama “is going to be the president again,” she said.

She said she deeply believes in the Obama/Biden ticket and that the visit only furthers her belief that Obama will be re-elected.

“This is such a fantasy, for them to talk and take pictures with us, and just to care about us common people,” Hill said. “We’re not important. We’re not millionaires. But it shows they just want to share with all of us and give us respect.”

Passerbyers such as Jason Barlow and his 3-year-old daughter Olivia stopped into the OFA office to meet the vice president after seeing the crowds.

“He’s a very charismatic individual,” said Barlow, who is also the president of United Autoworkers Local 402. UAW 402 represents workers at Navistar International Corp., which employs 850 people in Springfield.

His visit shows “that he’s in touch and he wants to reach out to all individuals in America, not just large donors in large cities but in Springfield,” Barlow said. “There weren’t people passing checks to him. These are individuals supporting him and Barack (Obama).”

Barlow said Biden praised the UAW, saying that without UAW in Delaware, he wouldn’t be where he is now.

Biden also stopped for personal talks with those at Catanzaro’s before his appearance at the local campaign office.

“Regardless of politics, it’s amazing the charm and personality these people bring,” owner Joe Catanzaro said. “We are really blessed.”

It was the first time a presidential or vice presidential candidate had stopped at the Dayton Avenue location, though Catanzaro met Bill Clinton on a campaign stop at their location at the City Market, now the Heritage Center.

At the campaign office, Biden shared stories about his upbringing, sharing life lessons from his parents.

His father told him “a lucky person gets up in the morning with both feet on the ground and knows what they have to do and think it still matters,” Biden said. “This matters.”

Supporters said they were told they were needed in Springfield to make calls to voters right after the president’s talk in Triangle Park earlier Tuesday, and then were surprised with Biden’s visit.

“This is so exciting,” said Phyllis Hale, from Tipp City. “I fell for this hook line and sinker.”

Next Up in Community News

Ex-Disney World dancer claims she was fired over pregnancy in lawsuit
Ex-Disney World dancer claims she was fired over pregnancy in lawsuit

A former aerial dancer at Walt Disney World has sued the resort alleging gender discrimination, saying she was fired after she became pregnant with twins and went on an 11-month leave. Krista Crowder filed the lawsuit in state court in Orlando, Florida, last week. It doesn't specify how much money she seeks. In the lawsuit, Crowder said she...
Air Quality Alert for some today; storms and humidity to end week
Air Quality Alert for some today; storms and humidity to end week

Butler and Warren counties are under a Air Quality Alert from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. today.  Nice again today with highs in mid-80s Clouds roll in and humidity rises tonight Thunderstorms over weekend, possibly severe Friday Today: Mostly sunny skies are expected with some increase in clouds late in the day and evening...
Husband, wife accused of raping children, committing sex crimes over 10-year span
Husband, wife accused of raping children, committing sex crimes over 10-year span

A west Tennessee husband and wife are accused of committing sex crimes against children over a 10-year span. John and Dava Henley are charged with two counts of rape and four counts of aggravated sexual battery.  John Henley is also charged with aggravated rape of a child and rape of a child, according to the indictments. Investigators...
Fort Hunter Liggett tent collapse: 22 injured at California military base, officials say
Fort Hunter Liggett tent collapse: 22 injured at California military base, officials say

More than 20 people were injured late Wednesday when a tent collapsed at Fort Hunter Liggett in California, officials said. Update 2:26 a.m. EDT July 19: According to the military base’s official Twitter account, 22 soldiers were hurt when “a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter landing’s rotor wash blew over a tent structure&rdquo...
1 hospitalized after mobile home fire in Clark County
1 hospitalized after mobile home fire in Clark County

UPDATE @ 3:15 a.m: One person was transported to an area hospital after a fire occurred at a mobile home in South Vienna early Thursday morning. Fire crews responded to the 10000 block of Buena Vista Road just after 2 a.m. on a fully involved trailer fire, according to initial reports. Damage estimates were not immediately available, however,...
More Stories