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Biden returns to Blue Hen roots

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli

NEWARK, Del. -- Biden returned to his home state to kick off the stretch run to Election Day, telling fellow Blue Hens on the campus of the University of Delaware that Obama "will be the president this moment demands."

Biden, who also faces re-election here, compared his message today as vice presidential nominee to the one he brought to his alm mater during his first campaign in 1972, when he said that the problem facing the nation "has not been the failure of the people to meet the challenges before them, but rather it's been a failure of both the political parties to place the challenges honestly and squarely before the American people."

"I come today with greater confidence and passion about the ability of this country to change and make things better," he said. "I believe this country is ready to make the sacrifices necessary and to embrace the change we need to restore the hope of our people, and once again, once again become the beacon of light for the entire world. That's our responsibility, that's our possibilities, that's what we must do."

The speech was full of memories from Biden's time as a student, when he said some of the nation's most transformative events in American history occurred, leading up to his graduation in 1965. He also noted the curiosity that top officials from both campaigns, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and McCain chief Steve Schmidt, attended the school. Neither graduated.

He also urged students to imagine a country with Obama as president, and compare it to what a President McCain might offer.

"I am certain, Barack Obama will … unite this country, because he'll appeal to America's better angels," he said. "I believe that John McCain, through the conduct of his campaign, unfortunately continues to think that he way you win is to divide. … Ladies and gentlemen, Barack will remind we are one nation, under God, we are indivisible.  Our best days are ahead of us, not behind us."

The electoral result in Delaware is hardly in doubt, but today's rally was meant to serve several purposes for the campaign. Biden urged students to volunteer to "help influence our neighbors to the north in Pennsylvania." It was also meant to draw additional coverage in the Philadelphia media market, though with a Phillies victory parade occurring, it may not get as much attention.

"Special thanks to all those of you who chose to be here instead of going to the Phillies victory parade," Biden said. Then pointing to his wife, a "rabid" fan, he said, "I'm particularly thankful to my wife, Jill, for choosing to be here."