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In Joint Appearance, Biden And Kasich Condemn Breakdown Of Bipartisanship

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University of Delaware
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Former Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. John Kasich speak at an event at the University of Delaware.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke at an event at the University of Delaware on Tuesday, saying the increasingly polarized political climate is impeding a functioning democracy.

Biden, a longtime Senator for Delaware and graduate of the University of Delaware, invited Kasich to the event for a conversation on the importance of bipartisan politics. During the nearly two-hour talk, the men expressed frustration over their parties' inability to work together.

Kasich, who is well-known for his support of the Affordable Care Act despite strong opposition from his party, said base politics has prevented politicians from supporting legislation that benefits their constituents.

"It's the base politics of Democrats and it's the base politics of Republicans," Kasich said. "I've been involved with a great Democrat, John Hickenlooper, trying to resolve the health care issues. The minute that the Republican's plan went down, Democrats went out the window."

Kasich and Hickenlooper rolled out their plan for health care reform last month, which allows states flexibility in so-called essential benefits but maintains the individual mandate. It also calls for President Trump to commit to cost-sharing subsidies for insurance companies, which he recently announced he'd stop.

Kasich said just as Republicans are pressured to oppose Obamacare to maintain party support, Democrats are pressured to stand behind the law.

"Bernie and the boys will come and get you," Kasich said. 

The men pointed to their shared experience of having come from a blue collar background and having entered into politics in their late 20s. While they said they may disagree on the role of government, that doesn't prevent them from working together.

Kasich said fights between the two parties are entirely political positioning. 

"They're not about the philosophy," Kasich said. "They're about the politics, about how I can get ahead."

Biden called for more Americans to be civically engaged, and Kasich suggested public education be reformed and made more relevant to the current job market.

Both Biden and Kasich stressed concern over the breakdown of fundamental norms of U.S. politics under the Trump administration. Biden said these norms are essential for both parties' ability to compromise and work together.

"The thing that I find the most debilitating about what's going on now is the destruction of these norms and it's generating chaos," Biden said.