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In Florida, Biden picks up pace

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
OCALA, Fla. -- With one week until Election Day, Biden is picking up the pace. Not only is he fitting more public events onto his schedule each day, but his stump speech has been cut in half, now ranging just over 15 minutes long.

That was the case again this morning at the Dancing Horses Farm, where Biden again breezed through his remarks on a day that was chilly by Florida standards.

"It's great to be here with you all, and in a county that's produced a Triple Crown winner, Affirmed," Biden said. "I think Florida is going to produce another winner here again, because how you go goes the nation in all probability."

Appearing in Marion County, Biden acknowledged that "an awful lot of folks in this area put their faith in George Bush." In 2004, the president carried the county by double digits. "But just as many of those people who put their faith in the Bush policies know that those policies have not worked for Ocala. And we cannot afford four more years of the same policies they took a shot on four years ago, ladies and gentlemen," he said.

Biden's quick speech included only a brief summary of the Obama-Biden tax plan, one McCain questioned today because of comments made in a local interview yesterday.

"Barack Obama and I recognize that when the American middle class does well, the rich do just fine and the poor do better," Biden said. "We want to rebuild the middle class. And here's what we'll do: cut taxes for working people. Cut taxes for small businesses. Encourage and lay out a clear plan to end our dependence on foreign oil."

He did not specify who would be considered part of the middle class, a designation that McCain was questioning. Still, he argued that the Republicans' plans were not the answer.

"I know we're not running against George W. Bush, But we are in fact running against the very Bush economic policies that John McCain wants to continue, and is promising to continue," he said. "Policies that call for more taxes for companies that send jobs overseas, while providing no relief for a hundred million middle class families. Policies that call for taxing your heath care benefits as if they're income. Policies that call for another four billion dollars in tax cuts for the Exxon Mobils in the world, as if they need it."

Biden also again defended Obama against Republican attacks, though he did not compare them as he did yesterday to those levied against some of the great presidents.

"[In] the turbulent economy that we've been in, Barack Obama has demonstrated a steady hand. In a dangerous world, Barack Obama has demonstrated sound judgment. To a nation desperate for a better day, he offers new ideas, new leadership and real hope," Biden said of his running mate.

Biden continues his Florida bus tour later today with an evening rally in Melbourne.