PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They lined up at Chatham University at least five hours early on a very crisp fall day.
“My feet are pretty cold. They’re a little purple,” said Paige Oswald of Greensburg.
And some designed their own t-shirts.
“We want to show Vice President Biden our shirts,” said Brandy Muth of Templeton.
Sarah Jugovic was the first to get in.
“We got in line at 6:45 a.m.”
Her reward? A selfie with Vice President Joe Biden.
Many said it was about time a president or vice president came to Chatham.
“Chatham is the place. We have a school sustainability. We’re environmentally conscious. We are on the cutting edge of so many different disciplines,” said marketing professor Debbie Delong.
And the Vice President seemed genuinely surprised.
“By the way, I’ve been all over Pittsburgh my whole life. I’ve never been to this magnificent campus. It’s beautiful, really beautiful,” he said.
But this was not a scenic trip, but one to elect two women including U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty who shares Biden’s middle class Irish roots.
“When you’re raised in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, one of 10 kids, number nine of 10, when you’re the daughter of a cop and a hostess, you’re a wife, a mother, three daughters, she understands,” said Biden.
But his strongest words were for Hillary Clinton.
“We need Hillary. Look, Hillary is maybe the most prepared person to run to be president of the United States of America,” he said.
And her election, said Biden, breaking the glass ceiling would be a step forward for America.
“And we continually move forward. That is the history of the journey of America. And, God willing, Hillary Clinton will write the next chapter of that history, and you’ll see a renaissance in America like you haven’t seen in five decades,” Biden said. “So go vote. Go vote.”
The Vice President’s speech before 600 was strictly political; although, he wasted little time on Donald Trump.
“I’m finished with Donald Trump,” he said.
Instead, Biden — recognized for his strong support for women’s rights since he authored the Violence Against Women Act — focused on his candidates for president and U.S. Senate from here.
“Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty are in fact going to make a big difference in the lives of the people of my native state of Pennsylvania,” said Biden.
Biden targeted McGinty’s opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
“He doesn’t understand the abuse of the Senate’s power for the first time in history not allowing a Supreme Court nominee to even have a hearing,” noted Biden, “and his refusing to disavow Donald Trump, that’s consent. That silence is consent.”
But Biden’s primary goal was to encourage Clinton supporters not to take this election for granted.
“It’s really important that women and minorities and young people get out and vote,” said Jenna McGreevey, president of the Chatham College Democrats who introduced Biden.
With just 14 days left to go until the election, this is likely to be Biden’s last official visit to Pittsburgh, but those who talked to him backstage say he is not going to get out of public policy issues.
“The Vice President, even after his tenure, is going to continue on to fight for women’s issues,” Dr. Dana Brown, director of Chatham’s Center for Women in Politics told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Brown met with the vice president back stage.
“He’s really committed to public service even after leaving the vice president’s office, so I don’t think this is the last time we’re going to hear from Joe Biden.”
That rings true for a man in public office since 1969.