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BOWLING GREEN - Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, accused his opponents of "taking the low road to the highest office in America" in speeches yesterday at Bowling Green State University and earlier in Marion, Ohio.
Senator Biden, accompanied by his wife, Jill, urged support for the Democratic ticket leader, Sen. Barack Obama.
"They're calling Barack Obama by every name in the book, and it'll probably get worse the last two to three days" of the campaign, Mr. Biden said of Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican ticket.
But "if you work with us over the closing days, choosing hope over fear, after next Tuesday they will, all of us will, call Barack Obama something else: Mr. President, President Barack Obama," Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden painted a picture of a nation losing confidence in the American dream, an economic fear he blamed on the Bush Administration, which he tied to Senator McCain.
"I've never seen so many Americans knocked down with so little regard from their government, so it's time to get America back on their feet," Mr. Biden shouted into the microphone, to the cheers of the largely student crowd at BGSU.
"We will spend every waking moment in our administration rebuilding the middle class," Mr. Biden said.
He said Senator McCain and Governor Palin like to call themselves "mavericks," but said "sidekicks to George W. Bush" would be more accurate.
Linking Senator McCain with the unpopular current occupant of the White House has been a winning strategy of the Obama-Biden campaign and it appeared to resonate with strongly supportive crowds yesterday.
An estimated 2,050 people attended the event on the lawn outside BGSU's University Hall in the cold night air. About half that many turned out at Marion Harding High School, where organizers appeared to have planned for a larger number.
Both sides have stepped up their attacks as pollsters say the race for the White House has tightened. Ohio is a battleground state and is due to see multiple visits by both campaigns today and tomorrow.
Senator Obama is campaigning today in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Governor Palin is in Canton, Marietta, and Columbus. Senator Biden is due in Zanesville and Akron tomorrow.
Mrs. Biden recounted how Mr. Biden has taken the train to Washington from his Wilmington, Del., home his 35 years in office to be close to his two sons, after their mother and sister - Mr. Biden's first wife and young daughter - were killed in a car wreck in 1972.
She also talked about how he supported her effort to earn her doctoral degree in education.
Marion County voted 59 percent for President Bush over Democrat John Kerry. Wood County, home to BGSU, went 53 percent for Mr. Bush.
Both counties were won by Democrat Sherrod Brown in his successful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2006.
Among the BGSU crowd yesterday were newlyweds Mark and Hope Bernard, who said health care is a priority for them.
Mr. Bernard, 30, a doctoral student in American cultural studies, said he agreed with Mr. Obama, who said in a national debate that health-care coverage is "a right," while Mr. McCain said it's a "responsibility."
"There's plenty of money in this country. We can afford to take care of people who need help," Mr. Bernard said.
His wife, a graduate student in theater, said she is concerned that voting Tuesday might be as difficult as it was on campus in 2004. She said the wait was so long that students had to go to work or class and missed their chance to vote.
But she said that, as a transplant from California that is solidly blue, and Mark as a transplant from Tennessee that is securely red, they're happy to vote in Ohio: "My vote wouldn't count as much in California. We're happy to be in a swing state," Mrs. Bernard said.
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