Biden says Obama's ground game must improve to counter super PACs

The Sacramento BeeJune 20, 2012 

Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Sacramento on Tuesday, said President Barack Obama must be better organized in swing states than he was in 2008 if he is to win re-election in the fall.

Biden told donors at a fundraiser at the Sutter Club that such an effort is necessary to counter independent spending committees he predicted will spend some $800 million against the president this year.

"(In) rooms like this all over America, you are enabling us to do the only thing that will allow us to counter $800 million spent on carpet-bombing of the president of the United States, my friend, scurrilously attacking him with these super PACs, because that's what they're going to spend," Biden said. "There's only one way to counter that. That's to put together the single most consequential ground game in the history of American politics. We did it last time. It's got to be better this time."

Obama has super-PAC support, too. Both candidates have raised millions of dollars in donor-rich California, as have independent committees supporting them.

Biden, speaking to about 130 donors at an event for which tickets started at $500, cast Obama's re-election campaign as an effort to restore the middle class.

"It's a simple proposition: When the middle class does well, the poor have a shot, and the wealthy do very well," Biden said. "When the middle class is not doing well, and atrophies, the poor, they're in trouble, and only a certain part of the super-wealthy do very well."

Biden told the donors that he's "all for people being wealthy."

"It's a good thing; it's not a bad thing. I come from the state of Delaware, one of the wealthiest states in America, and I have never played this populist card because I don't believe it," he said. "Wealthy people are just as patriotic as poor people. But the truth is it doesn't trickle down."

Biden was preceded at the podium by Gov. Jerry Brown, who was governor before from 1975 to 1983. Biden said he met Brown in San Francisco in the 1970s.

"Nothing has changed," Biden said. "He was the smartest guy in American politics then. He's still the smartest guy in American politics."

The audience laughed when the gaffe-prone vice president said of Brown, "He speaks his mind. … I like guys like that."

Also in the audience was Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Biden said Johnson has a bright political future.

Not only can he play basketball, Biden said, "he knows how to play politics, too."

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