Biden says young people are 'not a generation of socialists'

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday that it's a myth that the young people Democrats need to turn out in the 2020 presidential election are looking for "something radically different" in politics.

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"This is not a hit on Bernie," Biden said. "But this is not a generation of socialists."

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is among the small group of Democratic presidential candidates who, along with Biden, have emerged as the top tier of 2020 hopefuls.

Biden said young people are concerned about corporate America's growing power, but they understand the Constitution and that consensus has to be reached in politics.

"The vast majority, they want rational policy," said Biden, 76. He went on to say, "I don't think they're looking for a radicalization of who we are and what we do."

Biden made the comments while campaigning in Las Vegas.

He started the day by speaking to volunteers working a campaign phone bank and afterward joined them in making calls to volunteers and voters.

Biden, who is also the former U.S. senator from Delaware, spoke about Nevada's significance as the third-in-line state to cast votes on the Democratic presidential nominee. Nevada, with a 29 percent Latino population and other growing minority populations, is considered the first test of a candidate's appeal before a diverse group of voters and a strong labor presence.

"The reason Nevada is so important: It is such a reflection of who we are as a country. Latino, black, white, Asian," Biden said.

Biden was introduced by state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, one of his most high-profile Nevada supporters and the former political director of the powerful Culinary Union, made up of casino workers.

Later Saturday afternoon, Biden met with Nevada Democrats downtown, where he pledged to fight a plan to bury the nation's nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, a site outside of Las Vegas. The plan has long been opposed by many Nevadans.

"I promise you, Yucca Mountain ain't gonna be a nuclear waste dump," Biden said.

He also said that one of his first acts if elected president would be working to get citizenship for "Dreamers," the young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, accompanied Biden to both campaign stops. She did not answer questions from reporters about whether she's endorsing Biden.