By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden alled for more civility and dignity in politics during a rally in Wisconsin with other Democrats on Tuesday, offering a sharp rebuke of President Donald Trump while telling college students on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus they can “own” the election next week if they vote.
Biden, a possible 2020 presidential candidate who was traveling to Iowa later Tuesday, cast the upcoming midterm election as a “battle for America’s soul” and said now is the time to “reset the moral compass.”
The Democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin joined Biden at the event, which organizers said attracted about 1,000 people, many of them college students. Democrats are working to increase turnout among young voters who did not show up in 2016 when Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin.
Walker and Evers, the state schools superintendent, are locked in a tight race with the election one week away. Polls have shown Baldwin leading Leah Vukmir, the Republican nomineee, who was campaigning across Wisconsin on Tuesday with the president’s son Eric Trump.
Biden, in his call for change, cited pipe bombs mailed to him and other Democrats, the killing of two black people at a grocery store in Kentucky and the weekend’s shooting of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, saying the forces of hate must be turned back.
“Folks, this is not who we are,” Biden said. “We need to recognize that words matter. Words matter.”
Biden said to restore the character of the country, people of character must be elected.
“Americans already know who Donald Trump is,” Biden said. “The question is: Who are we?”
Walker, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, equated Biden’a plagiarizing a speech from a British politician during his 1988 presidential run with Evers’ submitting budgets for the state Department of Public Instruction without including attribution for seven sections of material taken from other sources. Evers said the original source of material in his budgets should have been cited, but those responsible were not being disciplined.