Vice President Joe Biden walks down Pennsylvania Avenue on Jan. 21. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Vice President Joe Biden knows how to work a room.
In remarks made on Tuesday night at a fundraiser for Massachusetts Senate candidate Ed Markey in front of an audience of donating (doting?) Democrats, Biden went for the jugular.
In a reference to Al Gore, who introduced Biden at the Washington, D.C., event, Biden said, "This man was elected president of the United States of America," according to the pool report.
"But for the good of the nation, when the bad decision, in my view, was made, he did the right thing for the nation," Biden continued.
The Supreme Court decided the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush, a decision accepted by former Vice President Gore. But the election left a deep wound in the Democratic Party, one that Biden was happy to pour salt in Tuesday as he sought to drum up cash as well as energy for Markey.
"I’ve served longer than all but 13 members of the United States Senate. I can’t think of very many who would put his country first like that at a really, really, really difficult time. There’s an awful lot of folks Al and I both know who have run for president and still haven’t gotten over it," Biden said.
“Al, you set an example for this country that is going to live as long as recorded history, about the man who won by a decision that I think constitutional scholars now and in the future will conclude was an ill-fated decision,” Biden said. “The way you stepped up, it was amazing.”
Democrats are eager to elect Markey later this month to succeed John Kerry, who was appointed secretary of state, and avoid a repeat of 2010. That year, Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate special election, embarrassing Democrats with a stunning upset in the traditionally Democratic-leaning state.
Biden played on those feelings on Tuesday night by attacking well-known outspoken freshman Republicans in the senate—the ones that really get Democrats' hackles up.
“It’s a pretty simple proposition: The United States of America, and the state of Massachusetts, does not need another Republican in the Senate,” Biden said, also according to the pool report. “I’m being straight about this. This is not your father’s Republican Party. It really is a fundamentally different party. There’s never been as much distance, at least since I’ve been alive, distance between where the mainstream of the Republican congressional party is and the Democratic Party is. It’s a chasm. It’s a gigantic chasm.
“I’m not talking about the character or even the quality of the minds of the people I’m going to mention. But the last thing in the world we need now is someone who will go down to the United States Senate and support [Texas freshman Sen.] Ted Cruz, support the new senator from Kentucky—or the old senator from Kentucky," Biden said, referring to freshman Sen. Rand Paul and veteran Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Think about this,” he said. “Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate? That is not hyperbole.”
President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak on Wednesday at an event for Markey in Roxbury Crossing, Mass.