CLINTON — "We choose science over fiction, we choose unity over division, we choose truth over lies."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's closing remark drew applause from a standing-room-only audience at Clinton Community College in Clinton on Wednesday morning as the former vice president became the latest presidential hopeful to visit the city ahead of the Iowa Caucus and November 2020 presidential election.
Biden spoke to potential voters for about 45 minutes, covering a range of topics that included universal healthcare, possible 2016 presidential election tampering by foreign entities and climate change.
The former VP under Barack Obama called for the United States as a nation to secure its identity amid what has been called the most divided political climate in American history.
"We're not sure for certain who we are," Biden said. "Our job is to not talk who it isn't that we are. It's to talk about who we are, and what we stand for."
Biden took repeated jabs at President Donald Trump on a number of political and personal issues, including the president's relationship with Russian President Vladamir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, among others.
And as other candidates have done, Biden on Wednesday warned potential constituents about the country's future reputation should the Republican incumbent be elected again.
"Four years of Donald Trump will go down as an aberration...but eight years could fundamentally change who we are as a nation," Biden said. "How we're viewed in the world, our security, and how we're accepted."
Audience members in attendance seemed to enjoy yet another opportunity to see in person a 2020 presidential candidate, with Biden being perhaps the biggest name to hit Clinton so far during this election cycle.
Voter Sue Peters appreciated Biden's off-the-cuff, genuine comments during his time at the microphone at CCC.
"I like his authenticity," Peters said. "This is Joe; he rambles, but he covers a lot of things. I just like it when people are who they are."
Peters also is an admirer of Biden's previous political experience, which puts him above other younger candidates who she's seen speak, such as Beto O' Rourke and Eric Scalwell. While she is a supporter of them, their youth and relative political inexperience tells her that 2020 maybe isn't their year just yet. Peters commented that "many of the candidates are young, so they may have to come back (in the future)."
Area voter Drew Kelley also took in Biden's speech Wednesday, particularly agreeing with Biden's sentiments regarding America's identity throughout the world under the Trump administration. Biden's message to the Clinton audience came across fairly vaguely at times however, Kelley noted.
"I liked it; I thought it was very inspired," Kelley said of Biden's speech. "Other candidates have given some more policy-based information, and I'm a big policy person. Personally, I would have liked to see some specifics or how he plans on dealing with these hardships, but it was a very inspired speech."