FLINT (CBS Detroit) Gold-medal boxer Claressa Shields, 17, got hometown roars of approval Wednesday at her post-Olympic debut as the opening act for Vice President Joe Biden.
Shields announced the vice president at his campaign stump appearance, saying she was proud to represent the U.S.A in the games, but was “even prouder to bring home the gold … And the amazing thing about the Olympics is the people you meet around the world … It’s pretty cool knowing that when you represent your country, you’ve got a president and vice president representing you … We keep fighting with the president and vice president.”
She also discussed the things she, Biden and Obama have in common: “I know about preparing for something that comes around only every four years.”
An energetic Biden embraced Shields, using her as an example of people — and communities like those in Michigan — that fought back instead of giving up.
“Watching you reminded me … My dad used to have only one thing to say when he saw me come and play, “Joey, get up, just get up’ … Child, you know how to get up,” Biden said to Shields.
Biden told Shields he’s proud of her, adding, “Isn’t she amazing?” Shields won the 12-member American team’s only gold medal in London, less than two years after she joined the international boxing scene. She became a boxer after meeting her father for the first time at 9 years old and learning that his dream had been to become a boxer.
Biden referenced his own family many time during his metro Detroit speech, referencing nuggets of wisdom from his mother and father and introducing his granddaughter to the audience, saying, “I think she came because Claressa was going to be here.”
Biden celebrated hometown success and jabbed at Republicans Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, saying they represent fiscal policies that caused the Great Recession. But he praised both as “family men” and stayed away from the controversy swirling around Ryan’s connections to Wisconsin Republican Todd Akin, who claimed “legitimate rape” victims have a natural protection against pregnancy so there’s no need for rape exemptions in anti-abortion laws. Ryan has backed bills with the “legitimate rape” language.
Instead of jumping into the fray, Biden said this: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive … You want a bumper sticker, that sums it up, man, tells you what this great president of ours has already done.”
“The country, come November, is going to have one of the starkest choices in memory … There’s no wondering what direction this country would go (under Romney),” Biden said, adding, “Folks, we’ve seen this movie before, we know how it ends, it ends with the Great Recession … It was a catastrophe, folks, we can’t go back, we have to move forward.”
For metro Detroiters who lost jobs, suffered sinking home values and weathered the worst economy since the Great Depression, Biden said Obama’s policies will bring better access to health care, a healthier middle class — and jobs.
“My dad had an expression … ‘Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck, it’s about your dignity, it’s about respect, it’s about your sense of yourself, your place in the community, it’s about being able to turn to your child and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be OK.’”