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Biden Fundraises for Virginia Democrats

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Thursday night at a fundraising reception at the home of former Virginia senator and governor Chuck Robb, for three freshman Virginia House Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns.

Biden, speaking inside an open-air pool house inside Robb's McLean mansion, noted that two of the three Democrats in attendance - U.S. Reps. Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello - would face difficult challenges in their more traditionally conservative Virginia districts.

"I don't have to tell you that you're in a very competitive state," he said. "You got some tough votes coming up."

He noted that the third Virginia House Democrat - U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, a former Fairfax County supervisor - had a "few liberals" in his left-leaning Northern Virginia district. He called the triumvirate "independent minded" and "damn competent," but united on several core Democratic Party themes, including energy policy and health care.

"These guys are smart. Some of the guys Chuck (Robb) and I have campaigned for are turkeys," he said. "Not all Democrats are created equal, while most Republicans are."

The event, which capped a day in Washington for the vice president while President Obama attended the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, was meant to give a jolt to the campaign fund started by the congressmen this month, the Virginia Freshman Victory Fund. The trio replaced Republican incumbents after the 2008 election.

About 100 people attended the event; Tickets were $1,000 per head for the main reception inside the house decorated with flowers and candles. All proceeds from the Thursday's event went to the fund.

Robb, who served as governor from 1982 to 1986 and senator from 1989 to 2001, did not speak. His wife, Lynda Robb, introduced Biden and the congressmen.

During the half-hour speech, Biden reiterated his defense for the stimulus package, saying the $787 billion in federal money had been "vindicated by independent verifiers," such as Moody's and Goldman Sachs, which have estimated the money has created between 500,000 and 1 million jobs and pushed the GDP up by 2.2 percent. He also spoke about the administration's health care legislation, recalling an event in Montgomery County, Md., where he tried to "dispel the myth that we want to kill Medicare."

"I find it amazing that it's now us, who defended Medicare in the '80s and '90s, who are being told we're trying to massacre and eviscerate Medicare," he said.

Biden also spoke briefly spoke for his admiration for President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose eldest daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, is married to Chuck Robb.

By Derek Kravitz  |  September 24, 2009; 9:25 PM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Election 2008/President , Gerald E. Connolly  
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