- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden swung through Denver on Tuesday to raise money for Senate Democrats, highlight President Barack Obama’s push for free community college, taste some ice cream and get unexpected emotional support after the recent death of his oldest son, Beau Biden.

Biden’s main public event was a round table at the Community College of Denver’s new manufacturing center, where he argued that the United States’ 20th century rise was fueled by free public education and that making 2-year community colleges available to all is the next logical step.

“Quite frankly, I argue we should have four years of free college,” Biden said.

The vice president opened his remarks with a somber note, however. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper praised Biden for his empathy during 2013’s historic floods.

“Governor,” Biden said, “it’s easy to be associated with people’s pain and loss and show some compassion when you’ve been the recipient of so much compassion.”

He recounted how, upon landing at Buckley Air Force base earlier Tuesday he was greeted by members of the military who expressed their condolences for the death of Beau Biden, a 46-year-old major in the Delaware National Guard, from brain cancer in late May.

“Although it’s still kind of an open wound it gave me a sense of strength” to hear from the service members at the base, Biden said.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Biden zestfully plunged into the retail politicking he is famous for, stopping to shake hands, pose for pictures and sample a salted oreo waffle cone at the Little Man ice cream stand. Then Biden headed to a private fundraiser for Senate Democrats.

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