A slightly road-weary Jill Biden addressed fellow educators, former teachers, campaign workers and students assembled by invitation Monday at the offices of the Pennsylvania State Education Association in Wescosville.
Space would only allow for a small group to see Biden, who started her day at Obama headquarters in Harrisburg and then traveled to Scranton and Hazleton before her last stop in Lower Macungie Township.
It was the last stop of an important day – the eve of the final day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Getting out the vote was the theme sounded by the three enthusiastic Democrats who introduced her: Serena Villalba, a volunteer campaign worker from the West Coast; Easton Mayor Sal Panto, and Joyce Moore of Upper Milford Township, an Obama campaign neighborhood team leader for Emmaus.
Panto challenged each of 100 or so people in the crowd to register just three more voters before the Tuesday, Oct. 9, deadline.
The first words from Biden, who teaches remedial English about 20 minutes from her home at Northern Virginia Community College, were about her students.
“I started my day today writing up my midterm,” she quipped to the knowing groans of the crowd.
But Biden, who grew up in Willow Grove, quickly launched into the points she wanted to make about why President Barack Obama and her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, should be re-elected.
A continued investment in quality education is most important, she said, drawing loud applause from the crowd.
“The current administration has doubled Pell Grant distribution,” Biden said, "and has reformed the way students and parents apply for loans. The community college system, of course, is the cornerstone of higher education."
As a military mom whose son, Beau, served in Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard, Biden is passionate about promises she said were made – and kept – by the current administration.
“The hope was that Barack would keep his promise to end the war, and he did. Osama bin Laden was brought to justice and now we can end the war in Afghanistan responsibly,” she said.
She also spoke about veterans benefits.
“The president and Joe are moving the country forward by expanding the benefits of the GI Bill, and by extending tax credits to businesses that hire vets,” she said.
“As a woman,” she continued, she is inspired by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed into law by Obama in 2009, and by healthcare reform that prevents insurance companies from charging women more for mammograms and birth control.
Further proof Obama and Biden are moving the country forward, she said:
* There have now been 31 straight months of job growth, which translates into 5.2 million new jobs.
* The auto industry is back from the verge of bankruptcy.
* “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy that required gay and lesbian military service personnel to keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge, is history.
“It’s a better life today no matter what you look like, or who you love,” she said before making one more plea to her audience to register every voter they can.
“The voter registration deadline is only hours away. Be sure everybody knows they do not need a photo ID to vote,” she said before leaving the podium to shake hands, hug children, collect her daughter, Ashley, who has been accompanying her, and taking her leave.
Jill Biden's visit to the Lehigh Valley comes two months after Michelle Obama campaigned for her husband in Bethlehem. Neither Obama nor Republican Mitt Romney has campaigned in the Lehigh Valley this fall political season.