House Democrats Huddle with Biden and Obama Friday
(CAMBRIDGE, Md.) -- With the House Democratic Caucus’s rank and file meeting in Cambridge, Md., this week to brainstorm a strategy to regain control of the House, Vice President Joe Biden told House Democrats Friday on the final day of the three-day caucus that the Obama administration’s policies were working, and Democrats would win back the majority this fall. About 100 House Democrats attended the caucus.
“I really do think we’re going to win back the House. I think you’re going to win back the House,” Biden said to cheers. “We will win based purely on the merits of our position.”
Later Friday afternoon, President Obama is set to travel to deliver his own remarks to the caucus, which has been dubbed “Reigniting the American Dream.” Biden, who was battling a cold but spoke for 47 minutes, acknowledged that the difficult positions that many Democrats have taken on votes since Obama took office in 2009 led to tough losses for many of their colleagues in the 2010 midterm elections.
“A lot of people who aren’t here should be here. It was a really, really tough year. But it’s because they took some really, really tough votes. And, you know, folks, that old expression, the proof of the pudding is in the eating? Well, the proof of the pudding is coming clear to the American people: Those decisions you made, the risks you took, the losses we incurred, really did save this country. And the American people are beginning to figure it out.”
Biden also predicted that he and the president would be re-elected, and that the American voters would reject the Republicans’ “obstructionist” tactics.
“I’m afraid [Republicans] just can’t help themselves, and right now I don’t see any change yet in this policy of political strategy of obstruction and division. I think the people may straighten this out for us,” Biden said. “Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, they’ve made it clear it’s about obstructing the president’s agenda. It’s about defeating Barack Obama. But I think that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich -- and I’m not trying to be funny. I’m being deadly earnest here. I think they’re slightly different. I think it’s more than about obstructionism. I think they actually believe what they’re saying."
“I know where it ends,” Biden mused. “It ends with, on Jan. 20 of next year, Barack and I once again standing with a majority in the Congress.” Biden said that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, “will go down as one of the most significant speakers in the history of the United States of America," and credited her leadership for helping implement the Obama White House’s agenda.
“I think [Pelosi] is not going to be remembered just for being the first woman speaker. She’s going to be remembered for being the second woman speaker,” Biden quipped. “Your several-year stint is going to extend, but the truth of the matter is you are one of the most effective people I have ever dealt with. I knew that ahead of time, but until I saw it up close -- there’s not a single, solitary thing on our agenda that would have gotten done without your leadership. I mean that sincerely.”
Pelosi is banking on momentum from the president to help propel her back into the speaker’s chair. She says that as Democrats have toiled in the minority the past year, her caucus held, “thousands of town hall meetings and forums and listening tours” in order to conceive a unified vision on the best track to take as they hope to win back at least 25 seats to seize the majority. “Our overriding theme: reigniting the American dream,” Pelosi, D-Calif., proclaimed to reporters Thursday afternoon.
“We have work to do to do that. Building ladders of opportunity for all who want to work hard, play by the rules and take responsibility, and leaving those ladders down for others to climb up, rather than walking away with them.”
They have their work cut out for them. After the 60-seat trouncing House Democrats took in the Midterm Elections in 2010, and with a handful of Dems in the House and Senate announcing their retirement, most experts agree Pelosi and company have a tough fight ahead of them -- and some say the Democratic control of the Senate could be vulnerable, too, tied in no small part to President Obama's sagging poll numbers and the state of the economy.
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