By Ken Stone and Chris Stone
Jill Biden isn’t ready to pick out drapes for the Oval Office, but in a Super Tuesday visit to San Diego, she told what she’d do as First Lady in 2021.
Speaking to military families and union members in Liberty Station, the former second lady said she’d revive her Obama-era initiative with Michelle Obama — Joining Forces.
“As your first lady, that will be one of my priorities,” she told at least 50 people at Banyan Kitchen + Cafe. “We will work with all the schools to make sure that we have better support for our military kids.”
The longtime community college English teacher said financial help would be a “big part of our plan.”
Biden gave a pitch for her husband and answered audience and media questions for about a half hour.
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She recounted how the Bidens were a military family.
“My father was Navy, my son was Army — served a year in Iraq — my dad was in World War II,” she said. “It was one of the things Michelle and I worked on — our joining forces to make life better for military families. And we went around the United States and we listened.”
She said Joining Forces tried to find solutions to things military families were concerned about, including health and wellness, education and employment.
“And when I become first lady, I will pick that right up and continue helping military families,” she said to sustained applause.
Despite working on short sleep (3 hours a night at one point), Biden was still thrilled about the former vice president’s Saturday landslide — “I thought it was amazing we won every single county (in South Carolina).”
“We’re feeling really good. Last night was so amazing,” she said of endorsements by former Democratic rivals Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke. “Things have turned so quickly in this last 48 hours.”
“The thing is: South Carolina knew Joe and knew his heart,” she said. “I can’t wait for more Americans to get to know Joe and know his heart and know who he is.”
Biden said she’s recently been to Oklahoma, Dallas, Alabama and a freezing “Tennessee before the tornado hit.”
She repeated campaign talking points: “If people want to vote for a Democrat, they’ll vote for Joe Biden. If people want a Socialist, they’ll vote for Bernie.”
And she rolled out her own stump speech — a scenario when the public wakes up some morning and “the headlines aren’t about some late-night tweetstorm, but about children across this country … going to benefit for universal pre-K.”
“You turn on the television, and the anchors aren’t talking about how we’re on the brink of some ill-advised war,” Biden imagined. “Instead, they’re talking about how we’re going to build on the Affordable Care Act with a public option and bringing down the cost of prescription drug prices.”
And finally: “When those television anchors cut to the president of the United States, you don’t turn the channel.”
But she focused on military families.
“I wish more Americans knew about your resilience and your courage and your strength,” she said. “You are incredible … how you hold your families together. … No matter what challenges military families face, they always find a way to give back to the community. That’s true of all of you here today.”
Rory Brosius of San Diego introduced Jill Biden.
Brosius was military families adviser to the Biden Foundation from March 2018 to May 2019. For nearly four years, she was senior policy adviser to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on veteran and military family issues “with a particular focus on the development and implementation of the Wellness pillar of Joining Forces, including mental health and caregiving.”
“So, Rory, get ready,” Biden said as she pledged to reboot Joining Forces.
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