Congressman Mike Bishop may not have attended Thursday’s political rally featuring former Vice President Joe Biden, but his name was invoked repeatedly as Democrats eye an opportunity to flip the 8th Congressional District from red to blue.

Battling laryngitis, Biden urged the crowd of more than 2,000 who gathered in the Lansing Community College gymnasium and overflow room to improve the tenor of politics by electing candidates with “character,” and ideals like, “integrity, decency, treating everyone with respect, giving no safe harbor to hate.” While touting gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer and incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Biden focused his remarks on 8th District Democratic candidate Elissa Slotkin in her race to unseat Bishop. Talking up her service as a CIA officer in Iraq, Biden called her, “a patriot through and through” who “repeatedly put her life on the line for the country.” When it came time for Slotkin to speak, she addressed her opponent, saying she “targeted Al-Qaeda in Iraq” and “taken fire from Iranian rockets” and that attack ads by Bishop and the Republican Party didn’t scare her.

While she spoke inside, Bishop campaign volunteers demonstrated outside with pallets of fake cash, highlighting Slotkin’s support for the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal that included the release of up to $150 billion in Iranian assets that had been frozen under economic sanctions. Bishop consultant Stu Sandler said both Slotkin and Biden “were misguided in their attempts to buy off the very terrorist forces that supported ISIS.” Slotkin called the protest a “gimmick” and “sad statement of what’s happened in politics.” (JK)