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Bullish Biden raises cash for Mikulski

Vice President Joe Biden pitched in for the reelection campaign of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) Thursday, telling attendees at a morning fundraiser that they needed to help her win by a big margin in November.

Mikulski is running for her fifth term, considered the prohibitive favorite in her race against Queen Anne's County Commissioner Eric Wargotz (R). Biden and Mikulski served together in the Senate for more than two decades, and the former Delaware lawmaker came to Chevy Chase Thursday morning to pitch in for his old colleague

"We not only need her to win this race, we need her to win more races in this state," Biden said. "It will matter to the rest of the ticket. ... Elect her, reelect her, but don't do it on the margins -- do it big enough that her coattails are going to have some real impact."

Biden spoke to roughly 40 attendees munching on breakfast in the backyard of Stewart W. Bainum Jr. and Sandra Bainum. Stewart Bainum is the chairman of the board of Choice Hotels International, based in Silver Spring, and the former head of Manor Care, Inc. He is also a former member of the Maryland House and Senate. The Bainums are longtime donors to Democratic candidates, committees and causes.

Biden said that he had done events for a lot of Democrats, and "[t]here's not a single one I'm more proud to be associated with" than Mikulski.

"If this were like Fantasy Football" for Democrats, Biden asked, "who would be among the first two or three people you would pick?"

Mikulski would be among the first selected in his draft, Biden confirmed, because "I love her gumption. I love her passion."

"Name me someone you think would be more tenacious and more effective" in Congress, Biden said, adding that Mikulski is known for her "power" and longtime Senate service, but "the thing that everybody underestimates ... is how damn smart she is."

"Barbara's the only person who ever calls me 'Biden,'" he said, drawing laughter. "'Biden, come here.' So much for this malarkey about [how] I lead her around. No one, I won't let anyone but my sister call me 'Biden.'"

Biden then turned to politics and Mikulski's reelection race.

"There's an awful lot of talk this year about the demise of the Democratic party. Now I know no one is talking about the demise of Barbara," Biden said, but added that Republicans are "trying to keep Barbara on defense when she should be on offense."

Biden said, as he has before, that he was bullish about Democrats' chances of retaining power.

"I guarantee you we're going to have a majority in the House and a majority in the Senate. I absolutely believe that," he said.

Democrats "have a heck of a record, a heck of a positive record to run on," Biden said, but he said he understood that the economy was still a source of anxiety for voters.

"They're angry, and they're angry against whoever is in power ..." Biden said. "Maybe the best thing to happen to us lately is the tea party wins. Maybe it'll shake some of our constituency out of their lethargy."

Biden referred to the House GOP's unveiling of its "Pledge to America" legislative agenda Thursday, and said Democrats need to paint "a stark contrast. Ladies and gentlemen, they don't want to do anything different from what they did before."

By Ben Pershing  | September 23, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections, Ben Pershing  
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