Biden: Obama’s Job Tougher Than FDR’s


bidenVice President Joe Biden’s discussed the economy in stark terms at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Monday night, in contrast with the upbeat tone coming from the White House over the past few days. In a 20-minute speech in the lobby of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Biden said President Obama “has inherited the most difficult first 100 days of any president, I would argue, including Franklin Roosevelt.” “Let me explain what I mean by that,” he added. “It was clear the problem Roosevelt inherited. This is a more complicated economic [problem]. We’ve never ever been here before – here or in the world. Never ever been here before.”

Turning to the budget, Biden said the White House is willing to bargain with Congress on the specifics of the president’s grand programs.

“We are willing to compromise on the margins on all these things,” he said. “There may be a better way to deal with energy. A better way to deal with health. A better way to deal with education. But we will not compromise on the need to invest in all three of those enterprises.”

Echoing the White House message that the budget will help fuel a recovery, he added: “This is not about ideology. This is about economic necessity.”

Biden – introduced by the DNC chairman, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine – acknowledged: “I know some of you are holding your breath with what we’re doing. This is about the change we meant. We meant fundamental, foundational change.”

“You all worked for change,” Biden continued. “You wanted to see change. Well that wasn’t a hard thing to try to communicate to the American people. Obviously – obviously – we needed a change almost no matter who was running,”

Biden was shouting at times and whispering at others. He said he was ending his speech three times before he ended it.

On programs in the stimulus package and the budget proposal, he said: “Folks, this is the real deal – this ain’t politics. This is life and death for a lot of people.”

Minutes later, he said, “I want to tell you one last thing and this is a political point.” Biden then noted that “Congress’s approval rating doubled since the Democrats are in office – not because they’re very popular right now, but because they took action.”

Getting the rest of the president’s agenda passed, he said, would “also change the political climate.”

“It will have every single pundit out there, even the ones who are covering this today, saying, ‘You know, these guys not only came up with an idea, whether we like it or not, they moved and they passed it,'” Biden said. “And we are willing to win or lose – win or lose – upon the soundness of our judgment.”

“There’s one more piece and we need your help,” he concluded. “It’s not about money. It’s about influence. It’s about your voice. And that’s this budget. Our friends on the right say we can’t afford this budget. Well I say without equivocation – I speak for Barack Obama when I say, we can’t afford not to have this budget.”

{AP/Elisha Newscenter}


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