Biden to House Democrats: 'Words matter'
CAMBRIDGE, Md. - Addressing the more than 130 House Democrats gathered at a resort here for their annual issues retreat, Vice President Biden urged lawmakers to treat each other with civility in the wake of the mass shooting in Tucson that killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
Biden struck an uncharacteristically somber tone as he spoke for more than 50 minutes onstage at a ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel here on the shore of Chesapeake Bay.
"There is sort of a generic recognition that we've got to change the way we talk to one another," Biden said to applause. "Tone matters. Words matter. ... It matters in terms of how we're going to deal with the problems in this country."
Noting that he has survived two craniotomies, Biden said that one's attitude and determination are "an incredible, incredible weapon in dealing with what you're facing."
"I'm hopeful. I am really hopeful," Biden said of Giffords's recovery.
Biden, who made a surprise visit to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan earlier this month, focused the bulk of his remarks on the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Success in this conflict ... cannot be achieved on the battlefield alone. There is no military solution," he said.
Reporters were ushered out of the ballroom as Biden began a question-and-answer session with House Democratic lawakers.
The vice president's remarks weren't entirely somber, however. As he began his speech, he donned one of the navy-blue "Make it in America" hats given to lawmakers at the issues retreat. The slogan refers to the name of the domestic manufacturing jobs program spearheaded by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
"Those rumors that I don't stay on message, it's simply not true," Biden said with a grin.
| January 21, 2011; 3:25 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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