President Biden headlined a reception in Florida for gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist hosted by Scott and Annie Schlesinger.
After initially mingling inside, close to 70 guests came out to the patio and lawn area with a blue-tiled pool sitting between the house and the Atlantic. Audience members held refreshments in hand while the canapés were being served by the poolside bar.
Scott Schlesinger spoke first, acknowledging the race is an uphill climb for Democrats, followed by Charlie Crist, who offered very brief remarks.
“Florida deserves so much better, and I know that in my heart, Floridians know that too,” Crist said.
President Biden followed, speaking on the patio alongside Charlie Crist and Schlesinger, facing the ocean, behind a red velvet rope barrier.
He called the Florida governor’s race “one of the most important races in the country.”
Biden recalled the effects of the Charlottesville Nazi rally and said he ran for president to restore “the soul of America,” bipartisanship and a sense of unity throughout the country.
“I served with a lot of very conservative people. And yet, we got along. We argued like hell on the floor of the Senate, and then we’d go down and have lunch together in the Senate dining room. We didn’t agree, but we didn’t malign one another,”said Biden.
Biden revealed the reason he was reluctant to run.” I knew how ugly it was going to be. Because these guys are ugly,” he said.
Charlie is “running against Donald Trump incarnate. This guy doesn’t fit any of the categories I talked about. The way he deals, the way he denies,” Biden said.
“I always say democracy is on the ballot. I really mean it,” he added.
Biden said there hasn’t been such widespread rejection of democracy in America since the Civil War.
He pointed to the GOP response to the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband as an example of how broken the Republican Party has become.
“Look at the response of Republicans, making jokes about it,” he said.
“The guy purchases a hammer to knee cap” the No. 2 in the line of succession, and yet no one in Republican Party leadership condemned it, he said.
“These guys are extremely extreme,” he said.
He recalled sitting down between France’s Emmanuel Macron and the UK’s Boris Johnson and saying “America is back,” and them responding by asking for how long.
“The rest of the world is looking at us, Charlie. They’re looking at us,” Biden said.
“It is really important that a state the size of Florida… comes down on the right side of history,” he said.
Biden noted that reproductive rights are on the ballot too.
“And yet you have there candidates out there saying a decision should be made between a woman, her doctor, and their local elected official,” he said.
“You’re a powerful state,” he said of Florida. “You matter.”
Biden wrapped after speaking for roughly 24 minutes.
“Lots on the ballot. This is a genuine inflection point in our country,” he said.
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