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Courtesy of UDaily: Article by Ann Manser, photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson
October 17, 2017 — The University of Delaware’s National Agenda speaker series continued Tuesday, Oct. 17, with a bipartisan conversation between former Vice President and UD alumnus Joe Biden and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — two veteran political figures introduced by UD President Dennis Assanis as “true servants of the people and the country.”
The event, entitled “Bridging the Divides,” was presented by the Center for Political Communication and the Biden Institute. In a series titled “As We Stand | Divided,” the discussion stood out for its emphasis on the value of political cooperation and consensus. Biden, a Democrat, and Kasich, a Republican, served together in Washington, D.C., for years.
In welcoming the speakers, Assanis told the audience, which filled the 600-plus-seat Mitchell Hall to capacity, that political divides represent perhaps the biggest challenge America faces today.
“We’re so much focused on our differences that we forget our common goals,” he said. “Our country needs all of us … to work with each other, to work together.”
Biden and Kasich — both regarded by pundits as potential presidential candidates in 2020 — elaborated on that view and offered personal observations from their years of public service. Although from different parties and with different views on such questions as the role the federal government should play in various issues, both leaders said they shared similar blue-collar backgrounds, a practical approach to solving problems and mutual respect.
More than 20 media outlets — a mix of international, national and regional, print, TV, radio and online — covered the UD event.
“It’s not that hard for John and me to get along,” Biden said. “We both believe strongly in the capacity of the American people [and that] personal relationships matter.”
Kasich agreed, saying that the dysfunction in Washington today is extreme and harmful to the country. Focused on getting re-elected and avoiding a primary challenge, politicians increasingly play to the more extreme voters in their base, he said.
“The system itself has been breaking down on base politics,” he said. “The whole system is polarizing.”