Iowa GOP: Biden uses taxpayer funded Iowa trip for partisan stump speech
DES MOINES—Republican Party of Iowa leaders criticized Vice President Joe Biden for using his official office to pay for a partisan, campaign trip to Iowa in the home stretch of the midterm elections.
“I’d love nothing more than for Joe Biden to be a 2016 presidential candidate,” said Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa and a seventh-generation livestock farmer from Wilton. “If that wish won’t come true, then I’d at least wish he would campaign on his own dime and not bill the taxpayers of Iowa and America.”
“Time and time again, when I served in the Iowa House of Representatives, I saw Republicans stand with the middle class,” said Kaufmann, a community college professor. “I saw them stand for property rights. I saw them stand against the overreach of big government. I have no doubt that the party I lead is the party of the the working class.”
The Vice President’s office billed the trip as official business, but it featured all the hallmarks of a partisan Democrat campaign rally. During the line to check through security, Democrats passed out volunteer commitment and absentee ballot requests. Several candidates and elected Democrats mingled with Biden’s entourage, including Brad Anderson, the Democrat Secretary of State candidate—and a partisan operative at Link Strategies who managed President Obama’s 2012 Iowa campaign. Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch, state treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, state Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal, state Senate President Pam Jochum, and several other Democrats in the Iowa legislature also turned out to hear Biden bash Republicans and boost Democrats with taxpayer funds.
“As a Republican leader and a lifelong, active Catholic, I was very disheartened that Vice President Joe Biden spent our tax dollars for a blatant, partisan attempt to polarize Iowa Catholics,” said Judy Davidson, the chairwoman of the Scott County GOP and a state central committee member of the Republican Party of Iowa.
“It’s upsetting to me as a Catholic that Biden insinuated that Republican principles of limited government, lower taxes and promotion of private sector job growth have harmed the middle class—particularly considering the soaring national debt and high unemployment under the Obama-Biden administration,” said Davidson, a longtime member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Bettendorf. “Republicans try to lift people up through the private and nonprofit sector. Government programs, often crafted with good intentions, can provide a valuable safety net, but they’re also plagued by bureaucratic waste and inefficiency.”
Biden’s Iowa trip was part of a “10-state voter turnout tour for a liberal group,” as the Des Moines Register reported. The press don’t seem to be buying Biden’s “official trip spin,” especially after he called out Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and explicitly urged the liberal audience to compare Republicans and Democrats.
CNN.com reported that the “vice president did a rope-line photo session with supporters of local Democratic campaigns, including congressional ones, according to campaign sources in Iowa. The photo session was seen as a perk for supporting local Democrats.”
“The visit by Biden, a former U.S. senator from Delaware who has long maintained ties with Iowa Democrats, is seen as a reminder by the vice president that he is keeping his options open as a possible presidential candidate in the 2016 Iowa caucuses,” the Register wrote.
QUOTES FROM THE EVENT
“I thank my colleagues in the [state] legislature and the union leaders here,” Biden said. “To see all the state legislators and the union leaders here… it gives me renewed faith.”
Biden railed against Republicans—and even indirectly took several shots at Hillary Clinton, his potential rival for the 2016 Democrat presidential nomination. “Even Democrats, Biden acknowledged, need to do a better job talking about the problems facing the middle class,” The Washington Post wrote.
“Take a good look at what each political party is suggesting,” Biden said, after issuing broadside after broadside against Republican congressional policies. “Our Republican friends say they care about [the middle class].“
He then proceeded to excoriate businesses and executives for the remainder of his partisan speech, while underlining the point that his political party supposedly cares more about the middle class than Republicans.
“Biden then stopped at Waveland Cafe, a neighborhood diner, where he had lunch with the nuns and visited with Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan and party staffers. Staff said Biden’s next stop after lunch was a fundraiser organized by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” according to the Quad City Times.