Biden makes quiet visit to Fort Worth

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

FORT WORTH - Three years of working toward economic recovery can be summed up simply, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

"The best way to sum up where we are today is ... Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden, who credited someone else for giving him that line, told more than 200 people gathered for a fundraiser at the historic downtown Hilton Hotel.

Biden spoke for about half an hour during two private fundraisers - one that cost $250 per person and another that was $7,500 per couple - that raised more than $150,000 for the Obama/Biden re-election coffers.

Biden - who gave a shout out to former Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright, who attended the fundraiser - touched on topics ranging from how he and President Obama inherited an "economy in free fall" to how the middle class essentially has been "under assault."

More than anything, Biden said he's looking forward to the general election in November.

After telling the crowd about the late former Boston Mayor Kevin White, who once said, "Don't compare me to the Almighty - compare me to the alternative," Biden noted that President Obama "will be measured against a guy named Romney or Gingrich or whoever."

As Republican presidential candidates are fighting to determine who will win their party's nomination, Biden said "they are saying what they believe, God love them."

"This is going to be one heck of a race," he said. "I think we are doing better and better every day, ... in no small part because they are making it clear what they are for."

Sparring with the GOP

The crowd that gathered for Biden at the historic hotel where President John F. Kennedy spent his last night alive in 1963 greeted the vice president with a standing ovation.

Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Maxwell introduced Biden to the crowd that included state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, state Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, Fort Worth City Council members Joel Burns and Kathleen Hicks, Tarrant County Constable Sergio de Leon, former Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr, Tarrant Regional Water District Trustee Jim Lane and more.

No public events accompanied Tuesday's event, which was planned by The Obama Victory Fund with help from local Democrats.

Biden indicated that he's enjoying watching the Republican presidential candidates vie for their nomination.

"For the first time, the Republicans are not hiding the ball," Biden said. "They are saying what they believe, God love them.

"They are not even pretending."

Republicans fired back at Biden.

The Republican National Committee posted a new web video on President Obama's reaction Monday to a Texas resident's question about her husband's unemployment during a video chat with the president through the "hangout" feature on Google Plus, the search engine's social networking site.

"After three years of failed policies and broken promises, the Obama Administration has clearly abandoned governing in order to fundraise to save Barack Obama's job," RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney said. "When Americans need leadership and solutions from Barack Obama to get our economy going again, the president and his surrogates seem solely focused on campaigning."

Biden has made several visits to North Texas in recent years, including attending a staffer's wedding in Cleburne in 2010 and a NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Game in Frisco last year, but had not been seen publicly in Fort Worth at least since becoming vice president in 2009. President Obama's last appearance in Fort Worth was a campaign rally Feb. 28, 2008, at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

'Tired of being tired'

Biden admitted that work to rescue financial institutions "was about as popular as a rattlesnake in downtown Fort Worth." And he knew that many disagreed with helping the auto industry, saying it was better to just let the industry liquidate. But he touted the recent announcement that GM will add a $200 million stamping plant to its Arlington Truck Assembly Plant - and nearly 200 new jobs at the facility.

"GM is now once again the largest auto manufacturer in the world," he said.

He talked about efforts to move jobs back to the United States from overseas and of tax equity that needed to be accomplished. And he said the middle class - the class that has been "brutalized" - needs more good paying jobs.

"We're not in a race to the bottom ... for the cheapest jobs," he said.

He said it's time for efforts such as a plan the president mentioned in the State of the Union to help homeowners refinance home loans and take advantage of lower interest rates.

"The American people are tired of being tired," Biden said. "They are absolutely ready ... to have a fighting chance to get back on their feet."

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?