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Biden stumps for Lentz in Radnor

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has made more than 100 campaign appearances for congressional candidates this election year, jazzed a crowd of about 400 at a Radnor rally to support Democratic congressional candidate Bryan Lentz in this final week of his campaign.

Vice President Joe Biden (left) waits to be introduced by Bryan
Lentz (right) during a campaign rally at the Radnor Sulpizio Gym
on Wednesday. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)
Vice President Joe Biden (left) waits to be introduced by Bryan Lentz (right) during a campaign rally at the Radnor Sulpizio Gym on Wednesday. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)Read more

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has made more than 100 campaign appearances for congressional candidates this election year, jazzed a crowd of about 400 at a Radnor rally to support Democratic congressional candidate Bryan Lentz in this final week of his campaign.

Biden struck a populist tone, blasting the Bush administration policies for the country's current financial woes. He said the country is not out of the woods economically, but it's come a long way from where it was when he and President Obama took office in January 2009.

"Only the Almighty could've brought back eight million jobs," he said, adding that the economic stimulus plan has added close to a million jobs in their first 20 months in office. He said Republican have "zero credibility" on fiscal matters and urged the crowd to elect Lentz to help Democrats to continue on their path.

This is the second time Biden has stumped for Lentz, who is embroiled in a closely-watched contest to win the open Seventh Congressional District seat vacated by senatorial candidate Joe Sestak.

Polls show Lentz, 46, a two-term state representative, in a dead heat with Republican Patrick Meehan, 55, a former U.S. Attorney from Drexel Hill.

The event, which was moved earlier this week after Radnor High School rescinded its invite to Biden, drew about 400 people, mostly Lentz loyalists looking for a boost before their final "get out the vote" push before next Tuesday's election.

The Lentz campaign moved the event to the Radnor Sulpizio Gym earlier this week after Radnor High School backed out, citing logistical concerns.

Local Democrats and the Lentz campaign blamed politics on the part of the majority-Republican school board, saying the Republican members pressed the school administration to drop the event.

Radnor Superintendent Linda Grobman said earlier this week that although she heard from upset members of the district concerning the rally, she did not base her decision on those complaints.

At the rally, David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democrats, joked with the crowd about their trouble securing the venue, then tossed some red meat to the crowd.

"They tried to stop us from having this rally," he said, adding that the GOP could not stop the rally and they will not stop their push to get Lentz elected.

State Sen. Daylin Leach batted at Meehan for his comment earlier this week questioning who would pay for the event and alleging that taxpayers would be billed. The Lentz campaign paid for the event at the gym, which is owned by the Radnor School District but leased to the township.

Leach criticized Meehan over recently released information on expenses he recouped as U.S. Attorney in the eastern Pennsylvania region. Meehan filed for reimbursement for stays in hotels

The Radnor school district has previously held political events, including a meeting with Republican State Rep. Bill Adolph and an April 2008 rally for then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Students would not have been required to attend the event had it been held at the school. And some Radnor High School students, including eight members of the student government and the senior executive council, were excused from class to attend Wednesday's event.

None of the students wanted to rehash the fracas over the change of venue, and instead shared their excitement to see Biden in the flesh.

"We're lucky enough to hear one of our country's leaders," said Brian Garber, president of the Radnor High School senior class, a new voter who just turned 18 last month. Garber hasn't yet decided how he'll cast his vote in the congressional race, but said that education, both for younger students and students his age, is the most important issue for him this year.

Kurt Pollack, 17, also a Radnor senior, was unfazed by the last minute change of venue.

"It makes it more of a community event than a school event."

But others who waited in the misty rain outside before the doors opened were livid.

Bill Schremp, 79, a former Radnor resident who now lives in Ardmore, said he considered attending the event, but signed up only after the dustup over location.

"I used to live in Radnor, so I'm familiar with the shenanigans of the school board," he said.