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CAMPAIGN '08: OBAMA BACKED BY CASH AND CLINTONS

Clintons join Biden on familiar turf

October 13, 2008|John L. Micek | Allentown Morning Call

SCRANTON, PA — . -- U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Biden made a triumphant homecoming to this hardscrabble coal-mining city Sunday, where they laid blame for the nation's worsening economic woes at the feet of the Republicans and their nominee John McCain, even as they exhorted their supporters to work hard until election day.

Making a direct appeal to the blue-collar voters who did not support Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in the state's hard-fought April primary, Clinton, Biden and former President Bill Clinton warned of continued economic hardship for the middle class if McCain captures the White House.

"All across Pennsylvania, folks are trying to figure out what all this tough economic news means for them and their families," said Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee who spent his first 10 years in this city's Green Ridge neighborhood. "For too many American families, the economy didn't start collapsing a year ago . . . it started collapsing eight years ago."

Working families, Biden told a crowd of about 6,000 at an indoor soccer complex here, were asking themselves "questions that are as simple as they are profound" -- whether they'll remain employed and be able to fill their gas tanks, and whether their homes will retain their value.

In each case, Biden argued, "McCain and [running mate] Sarah Palin and this administration have been unwilling or unable to answer."

If Sunday's event was intended to build support for Obama and Biden in a key constituency, it sometimes threatened to turn into a celebration of the Clintons.

Sen. Clinton, an Illinois native who spent summers at a family home at Pennsylvania's Lake Winola, and President Clinton were greeted with resounding cheers.

The Clintons will campaign in key battleground states in the three weeks before election day. After a brief speech, President Clinton left for a campaign event in Virginia.

Sen. Clinton said she had been "crisscrossing the country" to campaign for Obama and Biden.

"This election is too important to sit on the sidelines," she said. "I haven't spent 35 years fighting in the trenches . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise to our nation."

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