Joe Biden in Fort Myers

As some of you know, I volunteer for the local Obama campaign. Last night vice presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden came to Republican stronghold Fort Myers for a standing room only rally at Alico Arena on the FGCU campus. I've always liked senator Biden... bright, articulate, a really decent guy with a refreshing and comprehensive grasp of the issues. "Depth" was the word that kept coming up to describe Biden's performance in the v.p. debate.

The crowd at the rally was diverse. Seniors, boomers, families... but young folks and students seemed to be the dominant presence.

In a striking contrast to republican v.p. hopeful Sarah Palin's marching band/cheerleader-laden show at Germain Arena on Monday, the democratic candidate's appearance at the university was an issue-driven, no-frills, informative event, and evoked enthusiasm with ideas rather than with the hype and smears that have come to characterize the republican candidates' campaigns in the final weeks of the race.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson warmed up the crowd...

Senator Biden takes the stage to a rapturous standing o.

Biden is always at ease, though passionate, a seasoned statesman. You get the feeling that he can't be thrown off balance... he speaks from his heart and mind. They're connected. He has a good voice. The senator's talk was characteristically issue-oriented and addressed the economic crisis, health care, education, and foreign policy, among other things. Citing McCain's benefit-taxing healthcare plan, Biden repeated his debate zinger that McCain's plan is "the ultimate bridge to nowhere." Somewhere in the crowd an infant yelped. "I don't blame that baby for crying," Biden quipped.

Citing presidential candidate John McCain's much-vaunted image as a maverick, Biden pointed out McCain's record of unflagging support for the Bush administration. "That's not a maverick, that's a sidekick."

In a swipe at a McCain strategist's recent statement that if the campaigns "keep talking about the economy, we lose", Biden said that the American people, and the Obama campaign, are not about to "turn the page" on the crisis, as the McCain camp had hoped, until they elect a leader who can "write an end to the story" that we can live with.

Noting the recent downturn in tone coming from the McCain camp, Biden said that the republican candidate was trying to "take the low road to the highest office in America, and we can't let that happen."

A standing ovation erupted when Biden talked about ending the misbegotten war in Iraq and bringing the troops home.

Recent polls indicate that swing-state Florida has edged into the Obama column.