Vice-President Joe Biden stopped in Chicago Tuesday night to rally the troops at the presidential re-election headquarters, then he hit two fund-raisers expected to bring in $250,000 to $500,000.
The president and first lady were in New York also raising money for the re-election effort.
“I’m here to tell you we are going to win this race,” Biden told 200 cheering supporters at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. Harkening back to an old campaign for mayor of Boston, Biden said President Obama should be compared to “the alternative,” not to “The Almighty.”
“Folks, this is going to be a comparison, and we’re going to do just fine,” Biden said.
Piggy-backing on the themes Obama sounded in his economic address Monday, Biden said voters would have a clear choice between a plan to help the middle class and a Republican refusal to make the wealthy pay more taxes.
“One thing Americans don’t like is being played for suckers,” Biden said. “Tonight there are a lot of people going to bed here in Chicago staring at the ceiling wondering whether they’re going to be able be in that house a month from now, wondering if they’re going to have to pick up the phone and call their daughter and say, ‘Honey, I’m sorry you can’t go back to college next semester — I just don’t have the money.’
“You had to lay off cops and teachers in this city; every city in America. The president in the jobs bill has $5 billion for teachers and firefighters. There’s 35,000 schools that are dilapidated here … you have ’em in right here in Chicago. They spend twice as much money heating and air conditioning those schools … than they do on books and computers.”
Biden stopped at the Obama campaign re-election headquarters at Chicago’s Prudential Building on his way to the fund-raiser.
“I just spoke at headquarters, and I noticed four of my eight top people from my campaign are now in the headquarters, so I am ‘all in’,” Biden said.
Obama has given the notoriously free-speaking vice-president license to be frank with voters, Biden said.
“The president said, ‘Look, Joe just go be Joe,’ so he let me loose,” Biden said with a grin.
Biden ridiculed the Republican argument that raising taxes on the wealthy amounted to “class warfare.”
“When the president spoke yesterday, he didn’t ask for anything crazy,” Biden said.
By contrast, Biden said it was Republicans who were blocking compromise for political gain:
“Pete Sessions, the head of the [Republican] re-elect committee, a congressman from Texas, said, ‘Why should we bail out Barack Obama? His back is against the wall. All it can do its help him.,’” Biden told the crowd. “It’s a simple answer: America. America. Our economy. These guys are playing a different game than the president’s playing. And we are no longer playing.”
Biden said voters would realize Obama’s strategy of bailing out banks and auto companies was the best long-term strategy.
“Bailing out the banks was a little like legalizing rattlesnakes in downtown Chicago – it was about that popular,” Biden conceded.
Following the Sheraton fund-raiser, Biden went to a more exclusive $10,000-a-plate dinner at the Bucktown home of Rajiv Fernando, the CEO of Chopper Trading.
Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Mahoney criticized Biden’s visit:
“Instead of constantly fundraising to save their own jobs, perhaps the Obama Administration should get to work on a serious proposal to get our economy back on track.”