Vice President Joe Biden, in tones that were at times thunderous and mocking, on Tuesday enthused a Drexel University audience by painting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as a vulture of the middle class who brags about not paying taxes and profiting from the recent housing crisis.
Biden, during a 30-minute speech in the university's Main Building on Chestnut Street, repeatedly drew contrasts between Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on campaign's issues and their performances at Monday night's presidential debate.
"Saw that debate last night didn't ya? I tell you what, if this choice isn't clear I don't know, my lord," he said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience of just under 500 who packed the administration building's Great Court.
He said Trump was "painfully uninformed" on the issues, then quieted the applause to continue making his point.
"His policies are not very helpful for the country. But what bothers me about this race," he continued, "is how palpable his cynicism is about the American people."
Biden said Trump's debate comment that he doesn't pay taxes because he's smart must be challenged.
"Tell that to the janitor in here who's paying taxes. Tell that to my dad, when he was alive, who busted his neck working 60 hours a week, who paid all his taxes. Tell that to your mothers and fathers who are breaking their necks to send you here, who are paying their taxes. It angers me," the vice president said, again drawing applause.
On the housing crisis, which resulted in many homeowners losing equity in their homes, Biden said Trump declared it was good for his business.
"What in the hell is he talking about? I've been there for eight presidents, Democrat and Republican," said Biden, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972.
"But every president I have served with, including the Republicans, had a moral center about what it means to be an American...Can you imagine Ronald Reagan – the most conservative president – saying it's good business to take advantage of peoples' misery?"
Biden, shouting into the microphone, added: "What does it say about this man? And he wants to be president of the United States of American? Ladies and gentlemen, he does not have the basic fundamental sensibilities and values that almost every American politician – left, right and center – I know has."
Biden encouraged the audience members to get registered before Pennsylvania's Oct. 11 deadline.
Taking a break from thumping Trump, Biden warned that the greatest threat to economic growth is the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. He also said more funding must be invested in education given that six out of ten jobs today require more than a high school diploma.
In addition to praising Clinton, Biden gave ringing endorsements to two Democrats who attended the rally – U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty and U.S. House of Representatives candidate Dwight Evans.
But he never veered far from his central message that real estate mogul Trump is anathema to the middle class and the nation's support of NATO.
"Think of the damage that he is already doing to America's standing in the world?" said Biden, who confided that foreign leaders have expressed concern to him about Trump.
"He brags about gaming the system and bankruptcy, leaving hard working people holding the bag. How many people has he stiffed? He didn't say I didn't stiff anybody. He said maybe they didn't do what I wanted," Biden said, referring to Trump's debate explanation for not paying contractors.
"He's part of the rigged system."
Biden suffered no hecklers.
"He accentuated just what the Democratic platform has always done, and that's inclusivity," Apoorva Selvaraj, 19, a Drexel sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, said after the speech.
"I was really impressed with how he pointed out Trump's flaws without being petty about it. He really called out what needs to change," said Georgea Leslie, 21, a Drexel senior business major.