IOWA CAUCUS 2020

In Marion, Joe Biden says next president must be ready 'on day one' to unite the country

Over 200 met in Marion to hear Biden as candidates flock to Iowa one week ahead of caucuses

MARION — Dotti Loscabio thought she might give Joe Biden some good luck if she shook his hand after he spoke Monday.

“I shook (President Bill) Clinton’s hand and he became president. Maybe it will give Biden good luck,” Loscabio, 75, of Marion, said as she sat in the Prairie Hill Pavilion Banquet Hall.

While Loscabio is planning to caucus for Pete Buttigieg next week, she was open to changing her mind to Biden. She said she wanted to hear more about his plans for mental health and climate change.

“We’re leaving a mess for my grandchildren,” said Loscabio, who has nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. And as a retired nurse, Loscabio doesn’t want any mental health patients to “fall through the cracks.”

To a crowd of about 200 people in Marion, the former vice president spoke Monday about affordable health care, education, climate change and gun control.

“We can prepare every student from pre-K to college to succeed in the 21st century, and be able to live a middle class life. We can lead the world in taking on the existential threat of climate change ... We can stand up to the NRA.”

Biden has said he wants to rebuild the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. He would subsidize a Medicare option, costing about $750 million, and allow people to keep private insurances, expand health care coverage for low-income families and expand access to health care.

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Biden said when it comes to mental health, it needs to be addressed in the educational system, with more school psychologists available to students.

He said the next president is going to inherit a world divided and in disarray.

“There is going to be no time for on-the-job training. The next president is going to have to be ready on day one to be commander-in-chief, on day one to begin to pull this country together,” Biden said.

With less than a week to go until the Iowa caucuses Monday, Democratic candidates are intensifying their campaign events in Eastern Iowa as they try to close the deal with voters.

Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor, held a town hall last week in Cedar Rapids and returned Monday to Eastern Iowa again, holding town halls in Vinton and North Liberty. He plans to continue in Eastern Iowa including more town halls Thursday in Decorah and Independence; and rallies Saturday in Cedar Rapids and Sunday in Coralville.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, currently on a bus tour in Iowa, plans four stops Thursday in Eastern Iowa, including one at noon Wednesday at the University of Iowa.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign said she will hold rallies Saturday in five Eastern Iowa cities, including Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Anamosa.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who appeared Sunday in NewBo, plans three more events Saturday in Eastern Iowa including rallies in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders plans a rally Saturday evening at the U.S. Cellular Center featuring Vampire Weekend.

Businessman Tom Steyer plans rallies Sunday in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

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And Biden, on a statewide blitz until caucus day, will return to Eastern Iowa including Saturday in North Liberty and Cedar Rapids.

Quincy O’Brien, 17, a student at Linn-Mar High School, is looking forward to being able to vote in the November election. She said she wants a candidate who prioritizes gun control.

Hearing Biden speak was the first time O’Brien had heard a presidential candidate in person.

“This is our future,” O’Brien said. “I want to make sure our generation has a good president.”

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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