By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A standing room-only crowd of Pitt students and faculty warmly received Vice President Biden, as the Vice President told the students that he and the President stood with them on the issue of student loans.

“That’s why the president used his executive power on Wednesday, October 26, to say beginning next year no student will have to pay more than 10 percent of his disposable income to pay off their college loans. Period,” Biden said.

Biden said that an obstructionist Congress intent on cutting education funds must not stand in America’s way, particularly when it comes to America’s students.

“In spite of these headwinds, this obstructionism, we’ve determined to do more with or without congress because we cannot wait. America cannot wait. We cannot let ourselves fall further behind the rest of the world,” Biden said.

Students — an important political base of this administration — liked Biden’s speech, particularly because he talked about his own struggles as a student and parent.

“I thought it was interesting to hear him talk about paying for his own kids’ college and how that really put him out because I think that’s a big issue we are dealing with right now,” said Maria Bruno of Medina, Ohio.

“The message he was sending about what our parents are dealing with, that’s something I see every time I go home, and I think he understands that really well,” said Megan Ault of Youngstown, Ohio.

Biden stated the case for this administration’s support for middle class families with whom he identifies.

“When I did my financial disclosure form as Vice President, the Washington Post said it was probable that no Vice President ever assumed the office with fewer assets. I hope they meant financial assets,” Biden said.

Staying overtime, the Vice President then took questions, including a surprising one.

“Are you a man of faith, and how does your faith affect your understanding of personal power,” one student asked.

Biden said he hadn’t talked religion in public for decades but acknowledged he was a Catholic for whom, “the single worst sin is the abuse of power, whether it’s a man’s hand or fist to a woman or child, or whether its economic power used to denigrate or embarrass or take advantage of someone else.”

And he had strong words for those who question Republican Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.

“I think it is outrageous that polling data show people will not support him, whatever the percentage is, because he is LDS, because he is a Mormon,” Biden said.

As the first Catholic elected to national office since John F. Kennedy, faith means a great deal to Biden, but he couldn’t be clearer in his belief that religion plays no role in choosing the next president of the United States.

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