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Biden plays defense on Israel in Florida

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli

JUPITER, Fla. -- As his three-day bus tour of the Sunshine State worked its way south, Joe Biden placed additional emphasis this morning on seniors issues and Israel, saying that the security of the latter can be best assured by restoring America's image abroad.

"I've worked with every prime minister of Israel from Golda Meir right through to the present prime minister," Biden said. "That's why Barack and I know, we know what the Israelis know and all our friends know. That is, the greater the respect for America, the stronger America is in the world, the more secure Israel and the rest of our friends are in the world."



The line was notable not just because of where it was delivered, but also because it came as the McCain campaign criticized the Los Angeles Times for withholding a video they say "could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalid," a Palestinian activist.

Biden also placed new emphasis today on Obama's plans for seniors and retirees, wondering along with the crowd of 2,000 what would have happened to Social Security if "Bush and McCain had succeeded" in privatization.

"Here's what Barack and I believe. We believe there should be no privatization of Social Security. No raising of the retirement age. And we believe … there should be no income taxes for seniors for who have an income of less than $50,000 a year," Biden said.

The Delaware senator spoke from a podium above the left field grass at Roger Dean Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins train in the baseball pre-season. Six days before election day, Biden said that "spring training's over," and he urged the audience to take advantage of early voting.

"I used to have a grandpop, when I'd leave the house he'd say, Joey, keep the faith," Biden said. "And my grandmother and now my mother would say, no, spread it. Well, we need some help spreading the faith, folks."