Biden To Democratic Base: 'Stop Whining'

Biden To Democratic Base: 'Stop Whining'

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Campaigning for Democratic candidates in New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday the party's base should "stop whining."

Biden attended a fundraiser for Rep. Paul Hodes, who is running for the Senate; Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who is seeking re-election to a third term; and the state Democratic Party. He said Democrats can win both races if they draw clear distinctions between themselves and their Republican opponents, and he urged Democrats to "remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He's kept his promises."

UPDATE: In a taped appearance on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show "The Last Word," from which The Huffington Post has obtained a transcript, Biden was given a chance to clarify his remarks:

Yes. What I think -- what I mean by -- there's some on the Democratic base, not the core of it, that are angry because we didn't get every single thing they want. We've got a health care bill that is becoming -- every day it will become more apparent how much it does for people and businesses in terms of cost and availability. But because there was no public option, some of them are so angry, they say, we're not going to participate. They should stop that. These guys, if they win -- the other team -- they're going to repeal health care. And I want them to tell me why what we did wasn't an incredibly significant move that's progressive and helping people. It's the same way with a lot of other issues. It's time to focus. This is a choice. The President has done a remarkable job, given the fact that -- you and I had a mutual friend, Pat Moynihan. When Pat Moynihan -- when you were running his show and I was his colleague, a majority in the Senate used to mean 51 votes. Since we've gotten elected, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, there's a new majority in the Senate, 60 votes. What the President has been able to do has been truly remarkable with the help of a Democratic Congress. And so those who don't get -- didn't get everything they wanted, it's time to just buck up here, understand that we can make things better, continue to move forward, but not yield the playing field to those folks who are against everything that we stand for in terms of the initiatives we put forward.

The event was hosted by yogurt manufacturer Stonyfield Farm, whose president, Gary Hirshberg, is a longtime Democratic activist and fundraiser.

Speaking to voters at a Manchester home earlier in the day, Biden said the "Pledge to America" House Republicans are promoting would do nothing but increase the national debt and eliminate government services critical to the nation's health and prosperity.

Republicans last week unveiled their plan to cut taxes and spending, repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and end his stimulus program if the GOP retakes the House in November. Biden criticized its lack of specifics and offered his opinion on what would happen if the plan was implemented.

"If they did everything the pledge calls for, it will add a trillion dollars to the debt and that would require them under their program to eliminate every program in the government from the FBI to highways and a whole bunch of other things to meet the goals they state," he said.

Biden spoke about the economy to about a dozen voters at a home in Manchester, where he was joined by New Hampshire's three Democrats in Congress: Hodes, Shea-Porter and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Biden said Democrats will lose if the November election is a referendum on how people feel about the economy, but they'll win if they emphasize the progress they've made and plans to build on it. He said he understands that someone looking for a job doesn't have time to track the details of the new health care law or stimulus program, but he said Democrats should remind those voters that many of the benefits haven't kicked in yet.

"We've made great progress, but to the guy or the woman sitting at their kitchen table without a job it doesn't matter – they're in trouble. We owe them an answer as to how we're going to ... now that the economy's been stabilized, build it again," Biden said.

That answer includes increasing tax credits for small business, giving companies incentives to manufacture their products in the United States instead of overseas and focusing on creating jobs in renewable energy and other green technologies, Biden said. Republicans, meanwhile, have become the "party of repeal and repeat," he said.

"What they're offering is not only going to keep us in the ditch, it's going to drive us back down further into the ditch," he said.

Parish Braden, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said Biden's trip to New Hampshire should remind voters that Hodes and Shea-Porter "are in lockstep with the Obama administration's failed economic policies that have hurt small businesses, raised taxes and put our country further into debt."

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