Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 | 10:01 p.m.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden put Henderson back on the national campaign map with a rally Friday evening at Morrell Park.
His was the first of three high-profile appearances in the Las Vegas Valley in the next few days. Former President Bill Clinton and Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin are scheduled to visit Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.
Appearing at a "Rally for Change" event, Biden blended grandfatherly charm and old-fashioned political fire to pump up almost 4,000 in attendance on the eve of Nevada’s early voting period.
“Start voting tomorrow,” he said. “Vote early. I won’t say vote often, but do vote early.”
Biden opened by calling on the crowd to continue working hard, not only up to Election Day, but afterward as well.
“It’s literally — and this sounds corny — but it’s literally going to take all of us to make a change,” he said.
He wasted little time going after Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, accusing his campaign of "throwing the kitchen sink" at Democrat Barack Obama.
And when it comes to economic policies, Biden played to the crowd with a gambling metaphor.
“John McCain voted for the policies — and continues to double down on them — that got us into this economic disaster,” he said.
Biden painted an Obama White House as one that would work for the middle class by providing tax cuts for small businesses and families that make less than $250,000 a year.
“When the middle class grows, the poor are better off and the wealthy do just fine,” he said. “Nobody gets punished.”
He also pledged to improve America’s image abroad by bringing a swift, responsible end to the war in Iraq.
Biden concluded with an appeal to voters to create the changes upon which he said his campaign is based.
“I believe Barack Obama will be a great president because he believes in his gut — believes in his gut — in the grit and determination of the American people," Biden said.
Edie Fink, a Henderson resident and community organizer for the Obama/Biden campaign, said she left the rally feeling re-energized.
“I think it was one of the most remarkable speeches I’ve ever heard,” she said. “It made me cry.”
Fellow organizer Linda Turner, also of Henderson, said Biden is an asset to the Obama campaign.
“(Biden) knows how to bring people together,” she said. “You can see it and hear it in the way he talks.”
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].