Biden delivers message of hope, unity during campaign stop in Durham

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Former Vice President Joe Biden made a campaign stop at Riverside High School in Durham on Sunday to encourage supporters to vote early.

The car-rally for the Democratic presidential candidate was held in the school parking lot. Only a limited amount of people were allowed in.

Biden, 77, walked on stage wearing a mask, but removed it before speaking to a crowd of supporters who were watching from inside their cars. 

“Early voting started on Thursday, we gotta keep the momentum going,” Biden told the crowd. “We can’t let up.”

Another group of supporters stood outside of the high school hoping to get a glimpse or even just a wave from the presidential hopeful.

But more importantly, supporters told CBS 17 they wanted to hear a message of hope.

“The number one thing is the pandemic and bringing people together,” said Robert Kisstler, a lifelong resident of Durham. His wife Anna added, “And that we cannot take another four years of hate and divisiveness.”

Biden delivered that message by saying, “We need leadership that de-escalates tensions and opens lines of communication and brings us together to heal.”

During his speech, Biden promised jobs and equal opportunities. He also highlighted Durham’s history of Black entrepreneurship. 

“It was right here on Parrish Street a century ago, that an oasis of Black owners business thrives, even in the era of Jim Crow,” he explained. “Parrish Street was one of the first examples of flourishing Black middle class communities in America. A place that offered the country a glimpse of what we can become if we chose to live up to our founding values.” 

He also reserved time to knock President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic. 

“As a consequence of all of this lying and negligence and irresponsible action, has come to how many chairs were empty at the dining room table because of this negligence?” Biden said.

North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley said: “I’m glad he was able to get out of his basement and come to North Carolina. A rather unusual set up with a bunch of people in cars.”

Whatley added, “We know Donald Trump is a fighter for North Carolina. We know that he is going to look after our best interests. And at the end of the day, we need to have peace through strength in terms of our positioning in the U.S. We also need to have law and order. The riots, the looting, the vandalism that we’ve experienced like Raleigh, like Durham, and all around the state, we need a president who is going to back the blue. We feel that is really the message the president is going to be bringing when he comes back to North Carolina on Wednesday.” 

For more information on voting early, visit

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