Vice President Joe Biden greeted a crowd of nearly 1,400 packed into Sarasota's Municipal Auditorium Wednesday morning outlining a message about jobs and the economy.
But before he got started he put in a plug for Sen. Bill Nelson and for Keith Fitzgerald, who is running against incumbent Vern Buchanan for a seat in Congress. He also talked about the hurricanes and how all of the states and officials are working together to overcome the devestation from the hurricane.
"We're all better off when we're working together," he said. "After this election, I hope we'll do what we always did" Work Together."
This is Biden's first trip to Sarasota, since he visited Booker High School in 2008. Biden made a surprise stop to the Obama-Biden campaign office at Gillespie Avenue on Tuesday. This is Biden's 25th trip to Florida as Vice President and his 10th trip to Florida this year.
Biden wowed the Sarasota crowd with his speech which included specifics about medicare, women's health and equlity in the work place, the improving economy and the job market.
Lavonne Obery, a "proud Democrat" and Sarasota resident since 1972 who is going on the medicare rolls this year, said the Biden's speech was great.
"He said all of the things I wanted to hear," she said. "He focussed on specific issues, medicare, women's health, and equal pay. There were no generalities."
Biden was on the offensive against Romney, particularly about Romney's debate performance against Obama in Boca Raton.
"Eureka!" Biden said. "He found there was a binder full of qualified women!"
On foreign relations, with Russia, Biden noted Romney's reverse in stance with Vladimir Putin.
"All of a sudden he's Putin's best buddy. Bam!" Biden said. "Talkin' about Halloween."
With his various jobs, the vice president quipped, "I'm being good Biden today."
Rita Ferrandino, chairwoman of the Sarasota County Democratic Party, said the vice president's visit to Sarasota County proves the importance of Sarasota in the national election:
"Vice President Biden's visit to Sarasota Wednesday is proof that the race for Florida - and for Sarasota County - is competitive," Ferrandino said in a statement.
"Sarasota has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. However, as the Republican Party continues to move dramatically to the right with its stance on rape, women's rights, health care, education and other issues, voters are shifting their allegiance," she continued. "In fact, we expect to see more Republicans than ever voting for President Obama this year."
Pattie Lanier, a lifelong Democrat introduced Biden Wednesday morning. She has worked in campaigns since she was 13 when her mother let her distribute fliers for John Kennedy.
She is now a Medicare beneficiary who would not be able to afford the normal health checkups wihtout her benefits. She figures she would have to pay nearly $200 out-of-pocket for each check-up. She told the crowd that as a senior Obamacare has made a difference to her quality of life.
But she says it is the character of the President and the way Americans are admired in the world that motivate her to help give President Obama another four years in office. She feels there are a small handful of people around the world who can bring people together.
She went on to talk about Obama and Biden's stance on women's rights and fair pay.
"They know women are breadwinners for their families and deserve the same rights as their counterparts," she said.
Ferrandino also hopes that early voting receives a boost from Biden's visit.
"Early reports show that Democrats are closing the gap in Early Voting and voting by absentee ballot this year. Joe Biden's visit should help boost that trend, and we are encouraging voters to Early Vote today to make sure their voice is heard."
Democrats are encouraged by the more than 220,000 Democrats who have requested absentee ballots in Florida. There has also been an increase of 450,000 registered African American and Latino voters since 2008. They calculate that a gain of 220,000 absentee ballots plus 450,000 new African-American and Latino registrants are vital to Obama's chances in the Sunshine State since he won Florida in 2008 by just 240,000 or 3 percentage points.
In his warm-up remarks Edward James, a state organizer for the campaign, told the crowd that if Obama wins Florida, he wins the national election and "four more years."