LANCASTER, N.Y. (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he hopes the shock of a mail bomb plot targeting him and other public figures has been enough to help end the country’s divide.
“We’ve got to get off this hate machine. We’ve got to come together,” Biden said inside a suburban Buffalo restaurant, where he stopped to show his support for a New York congressional candidate ahead of a speech at the University at Buffalo.
Biden and Democrat Nate McMurray, a town supervisor of Grand Island, ate pancakes and spoke with patrons and staff.
“This guy is bright as hell. This guy knows more about international relations just from his academic and legal background. This guy understands what ordinary people are going through. This guy is in it for the right reasons,” Biden said.
McMurray is challenging Republican Rep. Chris Collins, who is running for a fourth term while awaiting trial on insider trading charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
Biden’s visit comes as interest in the tightening race grows. Democratic National Party Chairman Tom Perez has been in town for McMurray. On Wednesday, former senior White House strategist Steve Bannon headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for Collins and other Republican candidates in the region.
Although the district is the most conservative in New York state, a Siena College/Spectrum News poll released Oct. 16 shows the race well within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points, with 46 percent supporting Collins and 43 percent supporting McMurray.
The University at Buffalo said it was implementing extra security measures for Biden’s speech after two package bombs addressed to him were intercepted at Delaware mail facilities. They are among 10 pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump in recent days.
“I hope this has been enough of a shockwave to say, ‘OK, enough is enough,'” Biden said.
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