By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — The front-runner for the Democratic nomination to challenge the president called for unity among Americans during remarks here Tuesday and received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in campaign contributions.
Former Vice President Joe Biden — reported as being preferred by 35 percent of Democratic voters — spoke at the City Club during “a very successful” fundraising event, cohost Bill Freeman said. He and cohost Chip Forrester estimate attendance at 200.
Biden “told about his … relationships in Tennessee and … made mention of Al Gore,” said Freeman, a real estate magnet and publisher. “He talked about what he hoped to accomplish.”
Forrester, state Democratic Party chair 2009-13 and proprietor of Forrester & Associates, said Biden’s service with Obama “puts him in a unique position to reposition America as the leader of the world.”
Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church Rev. Enoch Fuzz was exuberant as usual. Biden “is the next president of the United States,” Fuzz said. “Every African American I talked to — and they shocked me — said, ‘Oh yeah. I’m already voting for him.’ I asked, what about African American candidates? The response … ‘They’ll be OK, but Joe Biden is the man.’ “We’ve got to become one America,” said Fuzz, reporting Biden’s message.
Former Nashville NAACP Branch President Michael Grant said, “We know the quality of the man … What he said was very powerful; mentioning [America’s] founding documents … which are pregnant with potential for the realization of everybody’s dreams … Dr. King used the language of the founding documents to remind leaders of the country what its ideals are … on self-government.”
R.H. Boyd Publishing CEO LaDonna Boyd remained uncommitted on a candidate. She said Biden was “eloquent,” when saying Trump is detrimental to our nation and what it stands for. Biden said: American leaders shouldn’t provoke other nations; and he offers himself as even tempered with a record of White House service to America, she reported.
National media report Biden is favored by 35 percent of Democrats. A Rasmussen Reports columnist quotes a poll saying Biden is the first choice, but there’s indecision 14 months before the convention. Biden’s support may be exaggerated.
Regardless, Fuzz says, “If President Obama picked Joe Biden, if Bill Freeman picked Joe Biden, I pick Joe Biden.” Biden recognized Fuzz saying “‘I want to talk with you afterwards.’” Fuzz reminded Biden that he, Biden, told Fuzz that he has Republican, Democrat, black and white friends, but that the vice president tells Republicans, “‘You tell me about your values … show me your budget,’ and man, I’ve been quoting that everywhere … Joe Biden advocates ‘one America’ where we’re all on one another’s side…”
Forrester agreed, adding Biden said “We have a divider-in-chief in our current president … that this country is being ripped apart.” Biden sees the job of president “as uniting us,” Forrester said. “He talked about America as a wonderful country and we need to play to our strengths, not our divisions. It was very hopeful and up-lifting.”
Mayor David Briley’s press secretary said “Mayor Briley attended the event and met Vice President Biden. The mayor’s attendance does not equate to an official endorsement.”
Attending as a donor and a lifetime Democrat, Tennessee Tribune publisher Rosetta Miller Perry spoke to Biden as she was photographed with him. “I told him that I expected that his campaign would fully involve the Black Press and smaller newspapers statewide in Tennessee. Biden said that was his promise.” She also said Kamala Harris is her sorority sister and is well qualified to run for president, but Miller Perry knows Biden’s record, so now that Biden has entered the presidential race, Miller Perry has switched from supporting Harris to Biden.
Fundraiser attendance cost: $1,000 to enter, mingle and listen; and $2,800 for more, including a photo with Biden.
The Democrats’ convention is in Milwaukee July 13-16, 2020.
“There are a lot of good candidates … and it’s going to be a fascinating Democratic primary,” state Sen. Jeff Yarbro of Nashville said. “I’m not making any endorsements. We haven’t had the first debate yet, but I’ve always respected Joe Biden. I think his service in the Obama Administration was admirable.”
State Rep. London Lamar of Memphis, unable to attend, states the campaign’s bottom line: “He has the potential to beat Trump … Joe Biden is a great candidate with a lot of support in the … party. He has experience to move the country forward.”