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Economy, border, abortion divide Biden’s hometown as Scranton looks back on native son’s first term

In a week in which President Biden remains optimistic about his chances of winning a second term, residents of Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, shared their views with Fox News Digital about Biden’s performance in his first term and the issues that matter most to them this year.

Resident Michael said the president left many mark on his hometown.

“Well, this road is named after him, and you can start there,” Michael said, pointing out as he stood just off Biden Street (formerly Spruce Street) in the city’s downtown.

“You know what’s weird about politics? You can’t win either way,” he said, questioning the quality of the candidates from both major parties.

Biden claims he sees the economy through the eyes of Scranton, not Wall Street

The former Central Scranton Expressway (now the President Biden Expressway) branches off from I-81 towards Binghamton, New York. (Charles Crates)

“So what are we going to do? Are we going to vote for convicted criminals, criminals or people we don’t know anything about?”

Lauren, a resident who declined to give her last name, said her biggest issue is women’s reproductive rights. Lauren said she’s not happy with how the abortion issue has turned out under the Biden administration.

Thomas, a local resident who was walking with friends near the Boscov’s department store on Lackawanna Street, said she fully supports Biden and that he has “done a lot for the economy.”

He cited some recent declines in food prices and praised the city’s decision to rename the Central Scranton Expressway connector to I-81 after his hometown.

Steve spoke to Fox News Digital later outside the city bus terminal along the Lackawanna River.

He said he was on his way to the welfare office, but never thought he’d have to do something like that.

Biden’s hometown speaks out about the Biden economy

Gary spoke to Fox News Digital outside the Scranton market.

Gary spoke to Fox News Digital outside the Scranton market. (Charlie Kreitz/Fox News Digital)

“[The economy] “It’s a really bad situation right now. Everything, every decision [Biden] “We’ve gotten into a situation where we can’t even survive,” he said, referring to the direction he’s heading.

“This is the first time I’ve ever experienced this in my life. It’s awful. I can’t explain it. If it carries on like this, we’ll all end up living in the woods.”

The other, Bryan, said Biden’s term in office had been a “disaster” but stopped short of arguing that bringing back former President Trump was the solution.

“To be honest, I think they’re both the same.”

“[Biden’s] His presidency was a disaster. The country has only gotten worse. Everything has been bad since then. But then, so has everyone been for the past 20 years. [who has been] In power. So I don’t know what the answer is.”

Despite this, Bryan said he has not yet decided on his choice of candidate.

Asked about Biden while on a break from work at a local restaurant, Heather replied, “Trump 2024.”

“It’s completely ridiculous. He can’t even complete a sentence,” she said.

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John, a Scranton native, said he is supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. this year.

John, a Scranton native, said he is supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. this year. (Charlie Kreitz/Fox News Digital)

Her friend John said he couldn’t predict Biden’s first four years. “The U.S. economy will go downhill in the long run, but then it will go uphill,” he said.

Jennifer Sanders, owner of Northern Light Espresso Bar on Biden Street, told Fox News Digital that business has been good lately.

She added that restaurant-related prices and costs are high, but they avoid passing the difference on to consumers.

“I try to avoid that as much as possible, but I have to keep my business going … it’s a difficult balance,” she said.

Sanders said these market forces were not necessarily the fault of those in power, but rather the impact of the coronavirus had caused the economy to weaken in the long term.

Biden Scranton

Joe Biden spoke to reporters outside his childhood home on N. Washington Street in Scranton in 2020. (Drew Ungerer/Getty)

When it comes to the election, Sanders said 2020 felt like choosing “the lesser of two evils,” and that a 2024 rematch would likely be the same.

But Sanders said things are improving locally and that Scranton is a “great city” to live, work and visit.

Josie, a self-described “anarchist” who was leaving a Pride Month event in nearby Wilkes-Barre, said while neither candidate was “out there for the people,” she thought Biden had the advantage.

“I think they’re all completely out of touch with the suffering of ordinary people. But at least his team doesn’t seem to want me to die,” she argued, calling Trump the latter.

“Honestly, everything about Israel is pretty awful,” Josie added.

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NBC "office" It is on display at Steamtown Mall in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

A sign made famous by NBC’s “The Office” is on display at Steamtown Mall in Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Charles Crates)

In downtown Scranton, a young man named John said he was shunning candidates from both major parties and supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

John said Kennedy was an incredible man, both in terms of his policy agenda and his personality.

“I like his personality, I like the way he talks about different issues and his plan to address them,” he said.

John said he believes Kennedy is gaining momentum at the right time and is “rooting for” him to pull off an upset in November.

“World leaders, [Biden] “Not really,” added Joe, another Scranton native.

“The economy is not as good as he says it is,” Joe said, walking near the government building named for another famous New York native, former Democratic Gov. Robert Casey, famous for his role in the Casey v. Planned Parenthood case.

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Lauren, a Scranton native, shared her opinion of President Biden, saying women's reproductive rights will be a top priority.

Lauren, a Scranton native, shared her opinion of President Biden, saying women’s reproductive rights will be a top priority. (Charles Kreitz/Fox News)

On a related note, Monday marked the second anniversary of the Dobbs decision, in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Scranton’s Democratic mayor, Paige Gebhardt Cognetti, hosted a Biden campaign-related rally outside the courthouse.

After his remarks, Gebhardt Cognetti spoke to Fox News Digital about why he’s supporting his fellow Scranton native this fall.

Gebhardt Cognetti, with the “Dobbs case” in mind, said Trump would try to “erode women’s rights” if he wins a second term in office. She praised Biden for supporting working-class cities like Scranton, saying they need to remain attractive places to invest and raise children.

Speaking at Gebhardt Cognetti’s event, Jen, a nurse for 28 years, said health care has always been her biggest political issue.

“The message I always give is just: ‘Donald Trump is a danger to your health,'” she said.

“If you look at Obamacare, you see the protections that are in place for patients with pre-existing conditions. Overall, there is no better option than Joe Biden when it comes to health care.”

Fox News Digital’s Kyle Schmidtbauer contributed to this report..