DETROIT — Vice President Joe Biden praised American ingenuity and Motor City grit on Tuesday, running through highlights of his and President Barack Obama’s time in office shortly before their term comes to an end.
America can be “defined by one word,” Biden said. “Possibilities.”
“It’s all about possibilities. Stamped in the DNA of every naturalized American citizen, and native-born, is the notion that nothing is beyond our reach,” he continued. “Think of any other country in the world where there’s less regard for orthodoxy than here. It’s a good thing. You can’t make new things unless you break the old things.”
Biden also credited immigration as one of the fundamental building blocks of the country. He said immigrants who come to the U.S. in search of better opportunities have “enormous courage, an incredible sense of optimism and absolute determination that they will succeed ― all the features, if you go around the world as I do, that are used by others to define who Americans are.”
Biden stopped in Detroit ahead of his trip to Chicago for President Barack Obama’s farewell address on Tuesday evening.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan invited the vice president to speak at a ceremony for the latest round of winners in the Motor City Match program, which offers grants to small businesses that open or expand in the city. Fifteen winners received a total of $600,000, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Duggan said Tuesday.
Duggan said his relationship with Biden was “the luckiest thing that happened” to him, and thanked the vice president for his efforts to help the city as it went through Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings that lasted most of the mayor’s first year in office.
“The president calls me ‘the vice president of Detroit,’” Biden quipped later.
Biden touted the White House’s efforts to stimulate the economy and said he was was one of the early champions of the initially unpopular auto industry bailout ― a reminder of the Obama administration’s role saving auto jobs as President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly takes credit for manufacturers keeping jobs in the U.S.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is this city, like the country, has come back in the last eight years,” Biden said. “Because of the grit and determination of the American people ― there’s no quit in America, it does not exist ― we’ve gone from crisis to … resurgence.”
“We never bend, we never break, we always endure, we always overcome, we always move forward,” he added. “That’s America, and Detroit is a single shining example, when you think of any one place in America, to demonstrate that that’s who we are.”