Joe Biden and Ernie Moniz, former secretary of energy and CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative, meet at Mitchell Hall for a conversation about the future of energy jobs and innovation in the U.S.
Suchat Pederson, The News Journal
WILMINGTON, Del. — A heckler interrupted Joe Biden’s hometown book tour stop Sunday as the former vice president was talking about sexual assault to demand: “What about the girls you molested on C-SPAN at the Senate swearing in?”
Biden had been talking at The Grand in Wilmington about his son Beau Biden’s horror over Lewes, Del., pediatrician Earl Bradley, who was convicted of raping and molesting children as young as infants, when the man in the second row stood up and shouted at the former vice president.
The man reportedly sat behind former U.S. Rep. Mike Castle and Valerie Biden, Joe Biden’s sister.
The audience erupted in anger, booing and shouting at the man to leave. After a few moments, Biden quieted the crowd enough to respond: “This is not Trump world,” which drew a deluge of applause and cheers, even as catcalls and boos aimed at the heckler continued.
Moments later the man, who filmed the interaction, was escorted out by security with the audience jeering at him as he was taken through the stage door. Grand officials said after the show that they had no idea who the man was or how he got the premium seat ticket.
Otherwise Biden’s American Promise Tour, which revolved around his book “Promise me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose,” was a lovefest between the longtime Delaware senator and his peeps.
Biden bridged his ideas about the greatness of America and the loss of his son to cancer with the notion that hope is the lynchpin for American society and for those battling a terrible illness.
“If you can find hope, you can find meaning,” he said, “and you can turn loss into something productive.”
Energetic, engaged and focused, Biden threw plenty of jokes into his talk, including a few gigging former president Barack Obama.
When he challenged the crowd to think of one great idea or product from the last 20 year that didn’t come from America, somebody shouted, “Joe Biden.”
“I was made in America,” he boomed out into the audience, “unlike Barack.” That drew another unrestrained round of laughs and applause. Biden cracked that the best Obama-Biden meme he saw after the election was him saying he put a copy of the fake birth certificate into President Donald Trump’s oval office desk. That got more laughs and applause.
When moderator and former Sen. Ted Kaufman asked Biden how he and Obama managed to leave office as friends after eight years, Biden said he wanted to make something absolutely clear.
“He made the first friendship bracelet, not me,” Biden said, bringing down the house again. He said he and Obama stayed friends because they respected each other.
Biden was mostly serious and inspiring.
He said the country is not broken, but the political system is because it will not allow Democrats and Republicans to work together anymore.
He believes the national culture is starting to shift about sexual issues to make it clear that a woman must give consent to sex.
He believes his cancer moonshot will cut red tape and help doctors and pharmaceutical companies collaborate more easily to help patients and help them faster.
And he believes one of the greatest things going for America is that it has replacement workers, unlike many other countries whose birth rates have not or will not keep up with the demand for workers.
Ending on an upbeat note, he said he can describe America in one word: possibilities.
“Unlike any other nation in the world, we believe that there’s not a single thing we can’t do,” he said. “I still believe it.”
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