At any number of Joe Biden presidential campaign events, a common refrain emerges from the former Vice President: "No I'm serious. It's not a joke." It's meant to emphasize what he believes is the gravity of the present situation the country faces, a constant reminder of the weight the office holds.
During his stop at Mason City's Historic Park Inn Hotel on Tuesday morning, Biden was plenty serious throughout.
Early on in his speech in the Park Inn's ballroom, Biden talked about the "battle for the soul of America" and how, if he beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, he would reunite the country and restore the middle class.
He argued that the current president had ripped the country apart by trumpeting white nationalists in the aftermath of Charlottesville and had tanked the country's reputation abroad by picking fights with longtime allies.
"The next president is going to find a world in disarray," Biden emphasized.
Despite such proclamations of grave importance, Biden attempted to project an optimistic tone to the 120-plus people gathered at the event.
"The future is bright, incredibly bright, but we gotta invest," Biden said.
His plan for that leaned heavily on rural America.
The core of his speech spoke to the necessity of rural American involvement and how Trump had left rural Americans behind.
"President Trump chose oil companies over ethanol," Biden said in reference to the administration granting small refinery waivers to sites associated with Exxon.
Biden promised that, if elected, he would make sure to invest billions in rural America.
While ethanol would be a part of that investment, there would also be a focus on carbon-capture processes in agriculture that Biden postulated would help in the fight against climate change.
More broadly, Biden also told the crowd that he wanted to invest in the youth of America by making sure that every child can go to school starting at 3. He suggested that that kind of early involvement could go a long way in ensuring that children do as well, if not better, than their parents.
Before handing off the mic to Jill Biden, the vice president laid out his experience to the crowd in a final barrage.
"I know most of these world leaders by their first name," he stated before following that up with the familiar adage that "all politics is personal."
And by leaning on those decades of experience, Biden positioned himself as the one in a still-crowded field who could win and beat Trump.
Or, as he put it, "Let's take this country back."