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Clinton, Biden Seek Home Field Advantage In Scranton

Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo


What do Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have in common? They both have roots in Scranton, and they both love talking about it. Biden poked fun at this tendency during his speech Monday at the Riverfront Sports venue in downtown Scranton. 

"If you listen to Barack [Obama], you'd think I was a kid that just climbed out of a coal mine with a lunch box from Scranton," he said. "I'm the kid from Scranton." 

Clinton jumped on the bandwagon as well, saying, "Scranton isn't just Joe's hometown. It's my dad's hometown too. While the Bidens were on North Washington Street, my family, the Rodhams, were a few blocks away on Diamond Avenue." 

But hometown pride may not be enough in this election. Though Clinton is leading in statewide polls, Pennsylvania is widely viewed as a swing state this year, and Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has been making a number of stops across the state. Lackawanna County, long a bastion of blue-collar Democrats, has the potential to turn red for the first time since 1988.

Clinton focused her speech on economic concerns, laying out her five-point economic recovery plan. She says she plans to create the largest jobs investment since World War II, make college debt-free, crack down on companies that outsource jobs, make Wall Street corporations pay full taxes, and make childcare and paid family leave attainable for the average family.   

Biden followed Clinton, offering the soaring rhetoric and motivational platitudes that her more straightforward speech lacked.  

"America can be defined in one single word: possibilities," he said. "That's the thing about America. That's the thing about Scranton. That's the America I know. And ladies and gentlemen, that's the America Hillary Clinton knows." 

The crowd of mostly diehard Clinton fans was loving both speeches, cheering and clapping so much that Biden had to tell them to hold the applause while he spoke.

But is it enough to convince those on the fence? 

Sam Arciprete, from Clarks Summit, said after the speech that he thinks Clinton doesn't need to worry about convincing people. 

"Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he convinces anyone who is unsure about who to vote for, to vote for Hillary," said Arciprete.  He was holding a sign that looked like a Trump banner, save for the glaring expletive placed over the candidate's name.