Joe Biden says 'American values are under assault' at rally for Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly in Hammond

Chicago Post-Tribune

Former Vice President Joe Biden said it’s time Americans stand up, remember who they are, and stop walking with their heads down.

“This election is bigger than politics. This is the most important election you’ve voted in,” Biden said. “Our basic American values are under assault.”

The former vice president Friday said the Republicans controlling Congress have lost their way, and they no longer are putting their ideals and beliefs ahead of partisan politics, and it is time for that to change.

Biden joined local Democrats Friday to support U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and Indiana’s down-ballot candidates in his re-election bid in Hammond. Donnelly, 63, of South Bend, Ind., is running against Republican Mike Braun and Libertarian Lucy Breton.

“Joe has more character in his little finger than a vast majority of men and women I’ve worked with in my whole career,” Biden said. “Joe is as good a man as I know.”

In Congress today, Biden said too many people promise to vote one way but never do. Biden said they always have an excuse.

“Joe never makes excuses. Joe keeps his word,” Biden said.

Donnelly knows what’s so important that it’s worth losing for, Biden said, and that it’s not a weakness to reach across the aisle. Biden said Donnelly understands the country cannot function without consensus.

“There’s a desperate need in both parties for men and women of character,” Biden said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said when Donnelly went to the Senate, he promised to not forget Northwest Indiana. During that time, Donnelly has been back to Hammond more than 50 times, McDermott said, and he’s done the same for Gary and East Chicago.

“Joe Donnelly worked his butt off for the last six years,” McDermott.

Biden said the country has seen a president who failed to condemn hate groups in the wake of Charlottesville; a president who has taken the word of a dictator over intelligence agencies; and ceded America’s values to dictators.

“We know who Donald Trump is. But here’s the deal guys, the public has to know who we are as Democrats,” Biden said.

Donnelly promised to fight for Hoosiers, McDermott said, and he fought for health care, he fought for well-paying jobs, and he fought for strong jobs. McDermott said Donnelly has put Hoosiers first.

“It’s time to get Joe Donnelly re-elected,” McDermott said.

Donnelly’s Republican challenger, Braun, 64, of Jasper, Ind., is the founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing and served two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives. Braun defeated U.S. Representatives Todd Rokita and Luke Messer in the May primary.

Braun has decried Donnelly’s vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, his support of the Affordable Care Act and his support of the Iran nuclear deal. Braun has said Donnelly is not looking out for Hoosiers’ best interests but towing the line of the Democratic leadership.

“Each of us in this room shares the same values. We want every citizen to have a good-paying job and to have the dignity of their work rewarded with a good paycheck,” said Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary.

Visclosky said people want a just society where everyone is treated equally under the law.

“To have that type of society, you have to govern,” Visclosky said. “And to govern, you have to win the election.”

Biden wasn't the only vice president paying a visit to the state. Three hours south, former Indiana governor and current Vice President Mike Pence rallied GOP activists at a fundraising dinner with Braun and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in Indianapolis.