DOVER — Former Vice President Joe Biden is taking aim at some of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The current front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, at a campaign event at Castaways in Dover, chided some of his 2020 rivals for forming “a circular firing squad” and lamented that he’s “getting skewered by the new Democratic Party.”
The former vice president also faced a brief protest at the end of Friday’s event by a small group of demonstrators angry over the deportation of undocumented immigrants during President Barack Obama’s administration.
As the former vice president was shaking hands and taking selfies with supporters after delivering a 30-minute speech, he was confronted by protesters holding signs reading “Biden we haven’t forgotten 3 million deportations.” They also chanted “apologize now.”
Biden briefly attempted to talk with one of the demonstrators.
A spokesperson for the protesters said they belonged to the New Hampshire Youth Movement and added that they were allied with Movimiento Cosecha, which describes itself as a “nonviolent movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for all immigrants.”
The spokesperson, who said her name was Quincy, explained that “we’re here because we do not find many of Joe Biden’s actions acceptable, in terms of his record on immigration under the Obama administration.”
She added that “we need a person who’s going to champion issues like Medicare for all, free college for all, and the Green New Deal, that are going to save my generation’s life and we don’t believe Joe Biden is the person to do that.”
While the Obama administration – with Biden as vice president – is praised by many Democrats for implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2014, it’s criticized by many immigration advocates for the increase in deportations.
During his speech, Biden told the crowd that “the good news about being a front runner is that you’re a front runner. The bad news about being a front runner is everyone’s behind you, they’re looking. You know what I mean.”
And he warned his rivals that the last thing the Democratic White House hopefuls need to do is “fall in a circular firing squad here.”
“I’m getting skewered by new Democrat Party, and I respect them, by the way,” he emphasized.
And he said he was getting attacked by some of his rivals for his preaching about his ability to work with Republicans across the aisle to get things accomplished.
“Somehow the idea we are able to cooperate with the other side is considered naïve,” he lamented.
Biden also repeatedly took aim at Republican President Donald Trump, saying he’s “embracing these oligarchs, embracing these thugs, poking his finger in the eye of NATO, the single most consequential alliance we’ve ever had. Folks, it is incredibly dangerous.”
And he emphasized that “we’ve got to stop this guy. We’ve got to keep him from having a second term.”
The former vice president told the audience, “I hope you’ll vote for me,” but also highlighted that if he doesn’t win the nomination, “whoever our nominee is, I’m going to break my neck to make sure they get elected.”
Dover’s Dennis Harrington was in the crowd.
After the event, he said “I’m with Joe.”
Harrington, who described himself as a liberal, noted Biden’s “liberal enough because I think he’ll move forward.”
But Dover’s Peter Strachan isn’t sold on Biden.
He said he’s “absolutely not made up and probably leaning in another direction.”
His wife, Ann, was wearing a Biden sticker. But she said she’s “still not 100 percent sure.”
Asked if she’ll consider voting for Biden, she said “maybe” but added, “I like Kamala Harris.”
Biden was introduced in Dover by George Maglaras, longtime chair of the Strafford County commissioners.
After his stop in Dover, Biden headed to Portsmouth, stopping at Attrezzi Fine Kitchen Accessories. Later he moved over to the Cisco Brewery in the Pease International Tradeport to headline the New Hampshire Young Democrats’ annual summer fundraising gala.
The two-day trip to New Hampshire is Biden’s third since launching his presidential campaign in late April.
This story will be updated with coverage from Portsmouth.