Pool report from Biden fundraiser

Here’s the pool report from the Vice-President Joe Biden’s private fundraiser for Democrat Mark Dayton:

Vice President Biden spoke for about a half-hour to about 350 people Wednesday at a luncheon on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza – St. Paul Riverfront.

Tickets for the sold-out event were $150 each.

Visitors were greeted by a jazz duo that played piano and saxophone after they passed through the security screening.

Most of the attendees wore Dayton/Prettner Solon buttons. One attendee entered with sleeping a baby wrapped in a sling. One man wore a suit coat and a Minnesota Vikings baseball cap. Attendees included: U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

The menu: baby greens topped with apples, golden raisins, pineapple and candied almonds; parmesan crusted chicken with roasted pepper and sundried tomato cream; garlic and rosemary roasted red potatoes; fresh seasonal vegetables; fresh-baked cookies and dessert bars.

Loud applause and whopping for former VP Walter Mondale, who kicked off the event.

“We are thrilled that the vice president is here because good things happen when Joe Biden is here.”

Mondale said the last time Biden was in Minnesota, he was campaigning for President Obama “and it worked.”

“Now he’s back in Minnesota to support Mark Dayton’s candidacy for governor. And that’s going to work, too.”

Mondale praised Dayton for his public career.

“I have admired his open and solid campaign.”

Mondale said “we are slipping in almost every category” and “Mark understands that.”

“He’s the only candidate with a fundamental commitment to education,” Mondale said.

Mondale said Dayton’s the only candidate who has a budget that protects the middle class.

“We are here to help Mark Dayton be our governor,” Mondale said.

Mondale joked that he’s had long interest in the vice presidency.

“Joe Biden is truly a great vice president.”

Applause.

“He’s truly helping the country and our president, at home and abroad,” Mondale said.

“He’s a strong, seasoned voice,” he said. “He knows the Congress and the nation.”

Biden has made the office a “powerful force for justice and decency in America,” Mondale said.

“Minnesota loves Mark Dayton and Joe Biden,” he said.

Mondale introduced Dayton, which prompted more than a minute of applause and whooping.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me to be standing between two vice presidents,” Dayton said. “I am just an unemployed guy looking for a job.”

He acknowledged Yvonne Prettner Solon, prompting more applause.

“The best thing that happened to me in this campaign was when she agreed to undertake this great adventure with me,” Dayton said.

Dayton said Biden extended a helping hand to him in when he arrived in the Senate.

Dayton then thanked all the attendees.

“I want you to know how important your support is to Yvonne and me,” Dayton said. “In the past, I’ve been able to do virtually all the fundraising looking in the mirror. It was easy. I never turned myself down.”

Dayton praised Biden’s wife, Jill, for leading a summit on community colleges back in Washington.

“The nation is better for her work today and Minnesotans are better for his presence today,” Dayton said.

Biden took the podium as the crowd cheered, “Joe! Joe! Joe!”

“Mark, thank you for your introduction,” Biden said.

Biden talked about getting to the Senate at age 29 and first meeting Mondale.

“Fritz is a guy who never, ever, lost his moral compass,” he said. “People always listened to him and they still listen to him.”

Biden said he initially turned down Obama to be vice president.

But as he considered it, the second guy he called was Mondale to ask him about the job.

“Your help and personal friendship has been invaluable,” Biden said to Mondale.

At about 13 minutes into the speeches, a woman stood up in the back and asked Biden to speak up.

“Alright then,” he said. “I am sorry.”

Another man stood up. “Vice president, how well do you know Bruce Vento?”

“There are some things I don’t admit to,” Biden joked.

“I am here to give you’re a simple message,” Biden said. “To paraphrase the great philosopher Samuel Clemens, ‘Reports of the death of the Democratic Party have been greatly exaggerated.'”

The crowd applauded.

“The fact of the matter is the people of Minnesota, the people of the United States, were absolutely devastated by the eight years of neglect, eight years of a policy that masqueraded as a vision, which was little more than a Ponzi scheme, that Wall Street was conducting. For eight years, all that happened was we piled up debt, we generated losses for the middle class, and the end result was, when we came into office, we inherited, before I a chance to turn on the computer in the office — Fritz, your old office – we were handed a bill for $1.3 trillion, a projected deficit of $8 trillion for the next 10 years, if we did nothing.”

“The last six months of the Bush administration we lost 3 million jobs, before I lowered my hand on that cold January day, we lost 740,000 jobs that month, we lost 40,000 before the month ended, and another 3.5 million before could get our economic package in place.”

He said housing prices had plummeted for 23 months in a row.

“Americans were in really tough shape,” he said.

“Ladies and gentleman, we knew we had to act, we knew we had to act boldly,” he said. “And we knew the things were going to have to ask our colleagues in the Senate and the House to do would not be popular.”

“But we acted and we stabilized the financial system,” he said.

He said they didn’t do it to save the wealthy but to save the pension funds that would have gone under had these banks failed.

“We moved and started the recovery act, which actually no one doubts now,” he said.

He said the act created 3.5 million jobs, including 60,000 in Minnesota.

“We demanded, unlike the last administration, full reorganization at the automobile companies and helped them through bankruptcy.”

The year before Obama took office, auto manufacturers shed 435,000 jobs, he said. Since they’ve come out of bankruptcy, they’ve added 63,000 jobs.

“For the first time in two decades, the American automobile industry is growing.”

He said by investing in roads and bridges, they’ve built critical infrastructure.

He said they’ve provided tax breaks to the engine of economic growth, small businesses.

He said financial reform will prevent banks from acting like hedge fund. He noted that the administration has clamped down on credit card companies, many that punished people who paid their bills on time.

He talked about health care.

“We went out and passed a health care bill that will continue to need work,” he said. “Ladies and gentleman, what we passed is now only becoming apparent to the American people.”

“Ladies and gentleman, we’ve begin to turn things around,” he said. “Finally, finally things are being able to move.”

“It’s not so much about what we did, it’s about what we have to do from here on,” he said.

“We know what we have to do the next few years, the kind of things Mark wants to do as governor,” he said.

He listed priorities like investing in green energy grants, giving tax breaks to the middle class and better education for our children.

He talked about improving tax breaks for people who have kids in college to ease the financial burden.

“So many of our children area graduating with debt they cannot sustain,” said Biden, who noted that he sold his home help his three college-age students pay nearly $300,000 in college costs.

“The truth is, people shouldn’t be put in those positions,” he said.

“Ladies and gentleman, if nations out produce us, out educate us, they are going to out compete us,” he said.

“We know how to create jobs,” he said. “And we know how to balance the budget.”

Biden turned his focus to Republicans.

“If I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them,” he said. “To the press, that’s a figure of speech.”

He said George W. Bush left a $1.3 trillion deficit.

“So I like to remind my Republican friends that we know how to balance the budget,” he said. “The last one to do that was William Jefferson Clinton.”

He also criticized Republicans’ new “Pledge to America.”

He said it will increase the debt $1 trillion dollars.

“These guys have absolutely no credibility, no credibility on debt,” he said.

“Folks, look, we’ve seen this movie before. We’ve seen this movie. We know how it ends,” Biden said. “Look, you got a guy here running for governor in this state who also knows how it ended.”

He said Pawlenty has “eviscerated” education. “How are we going to lead the world in the 21st century without education?”

Biden reminded the audience of what a former mayor of Boston said. “Don’t compare me to the almighty,” he recalled. “Compare me to the alternative.”

Of the upcoming election….

Biden recounted an anecdote from former President Bill Clinton, who says: “If this is a referendum on people’s anger, we will lose,” Biden recounted. “People have a right to be angry.”

He said for people working, we are in a recession. For people out of work, it’s a depression.

“People going to bed staring at the ceiling at night wondering how in God’s name they are going to provide for their families,” he said.

Biden said to lose a job is a loss of dignity for many. “So many families in this state have been deprived of the dignity and the respect they deserve.”

“So folks, they have a reason to be angry,” he said. “We have got to make sure we make this a choice, not a referendum.”

“I am absolutely convinced if we make it a choice, and we fight back, we will do very, very well,” he said.

He predicted Democrats will do better in the upcoming election than some pundits expect.

“We are going to keep the House of Representatives,” he said.

Biden also took a shot at Republicans.

“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” he said. “This is the party of repeal and repeat. This is the Republican Tea Party. These are not the same brand of cat you are dealing with.”

“If we don’t bring this case to the American people in the next three weeks, shame on us,” he said.

“This is going to come down to a ground game,” he said. “If we organizer our voters, we will do very well. If we don’t, we won’t.”

“I’ve never been as optimistic as I am right now,” he said. “We are on the right track.”

“Please five us people like Mark,” he said. “Give us governors in states who understand what the needs of average people are.”

“Thank for you being about to elect Mark Dayton as the next governor of state of Minnesota,” he said, ending his comments.

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