May 10th, 2014
09:23 AM ET
6 months ago

Biden delivers 'Elizabeth Warren-type speech' at fundraiser

Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a closed-door fundraiser in South Carolina Friday and delivered what one attendee called “an Elizabeth Warren-type speech” about the struggles of America’s middle class, remarks that were well-received by a room full of influential primary state Democrats.

Biden was in the state capital of Columbia on Friday to give the commencement address at the University of South Carolina. But never one to pass up an opportunity to network with political leaders in a key presidential primary state, the vice president also reached out to the state Democratic Party ahead of his visit to help them raise money.

He spoke for more than 30 minutes at the fundraiser, stepping away from the podium and delivering remarks while standing among the “mostly VIP crowd" of prominent local attorneys, Democratic activists and a range of current and former elected officials. The event was held at the Capital City Club in downtown Columbia.

Biden touted the Obama administration’s record on the economy, multiple Democrats in the room told CNN, but he also painted a picture of a middle class still struggling while the nation’s top earners continue to line their pockets.

“He said we have some of the most productive workers in the world, but corporations are more concerned about their stockholders than they are about their employees,” said one prominent Democrat who attended the fundraiser but did not want to be identified discussing a private event. “He talked about how the fruits of labor go to stockholders, rather than to the people who are producing it. That the people making the money in this country are the corporations.”

Another Democrat in the room said the vice president “talked about how the system was rigged against the middle class. He said the economic realities of the middle class are diminishing, and that the average middle-class family is finding it hard to make it economically.”

Biden did not mention his own White House ambitions. But several Democrats at the event were struck by one remark he made about Bill Clinton’s presidency: Three sources there told CNN that Biden said the fraying of middle-class economic security did not begin during President George W. Bush’s terms, but earlier, in the “later years of the Clinton administration.” Biden, of course, could face off against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 if they both decide to run.

Biden’s speech was described, to a person, as “populist.”

“He gave a stem-winding, almost revival-type speech today,” one Democrat said of the vice president. “I have never seen him this good. He was on fire. Sometimes when Joe gives a speech that goes on for 30 minutes, people are kind of drifting off or looking at their watches. But he was more enthused, more passionate. He was a preacher delivering a sermon.”

Biden also stressed the importance of helping Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic nominee for governor, against Gov. Nikki Haley, who is up for re-election this year. He took several swipes at Haley, criticizing her on infrastructure and for declining to accept Medicaid funds available under the Affordable Care Act.

Sheheen, a state senator, and Biden rode together in the vice presidential motorcade on the way into town from the airport. Sheheen, though, did not attend the fundraiser; he had to travel to Charleston for a campaign event with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, another Democrat considering a presidential bid in 2016.

At the event, Biden got face time with a variety of prominent Democratic power brokers in the state, including several members of the South Carolina legislative black caucus such as state Sen. Gerald Malloy, state House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford and state Rep. Mia McLeod. Also in attendance were South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, former chairman Dick Harpootlian, attorney Joe McCulloch, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and longtime Biden confidante Trip King.

A representative for Biden did not respond to a CNN request for comment about the fundraiser.


Filed under: 2016 • Elizabeth Warren • Joe Biden
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Mike mcName

    Biden the clowns presidential run would be a great gift to the G O P

    May 10, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. DaveNYUSA

    Sorry, Joe, but much as I hate Hillary, if it comes down to you and her, you're OUT, goofy!

    May 10, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. TNPatriot

    Joe Biden is without a doubt the BEST person to serve as president (of those considered so far) but because he is straight forward about helping the middle class as a priority, the money/power brokers will spend every penny they have to keep him out.

    May 10, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Davo

    I'd prefer a competent Republican candidate to consider but while I wait for one to pop up, I'd take Mrs. Clinton a million times over a senile clown.

    May 10, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Memere

    Is Joe any worse than the "Poor Me" women? Did any of you get the letter from the Clinton flunkie fundraiser during the Whitewater scandal, asking for donations toward their defense expenses, pleading the Clintons' poverty due to their publlc service? The letter even stooped so low as to say they had never owned a home of their own –so what, if you can avoid paying real estate taxes while living in a mansion at public expense)? Oh, and Chelsea recently bought a $10,000,000 condo in NYC? Are you kidding? Do you think Hilllary gives a damn about the middle class?
    And then there's "Poor Elizabeth" who got through college with so much financial assistance. Shouldn't all of our children be so lucky, if we're working nonstop for 40 plus years to have a decent life.
    Find a decent, honest candidate.

    May 10, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Gerald

    @ TNPatriot: What will keep Joe Biden out is the delusional women out there who are more concerned about a first woman president than someone competent to lead our country forward in what will be some difficult times (both here and abroad). He is certainly more qualified than she is but hey, does that concept even matter anymore?

    May 10, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Jakie

    No to Biden or the Hilldybeast. No more of their ilk in office. Vote out the Dem. tools.

    May 10, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. dajowi

    Did he use a shotgun?

    May 10, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. davecu

    Who did the powers that be think was going to pay for their money printing binge?
    The piper must always be paid!

    May 10, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. ahabthearab

    Joe"Mr Amtrak" Biden is the man..for President of Amtrak

    May 10, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Tom

    Biden? LOL!

    May 10, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. ahabthearab

    why is my comment being moderated..what are you afraid of?

    May 10, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. itscion

    I trust Joe to tell it like it is. Something you will never get out the lying Clinton gang.

    May 10, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. A-POLITICAL

    Joe,Mr.Amtrak Biden for President of Amtrak

    May 10, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. itscion

    The truth is the economic collapse happened due to a perfect storm. Tech bust, housing bubble bust, and the GLBA. Yes it was starting under Clinton and 9/11 really accelerated it due to a brief but very powerful economic shutdown. Decades and hundreds of people on both sides of center are to blame. Norma here is a fact for you. You state that middle class always does better under Dems. How do you explain that under Obama the economic divide has grown wider and faster than under GW? Take off your blinders. The only sides that matter are us vs. them.

    May 10, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. barbara

    The middle class is struggling because of job loss and not being able to find other jobs equal in pay. Couple that rising costs in virtually every aspect of our lives and you have people who can barely tread water. We buy less and less and try to spend less and less. We are disappearing. This administration has been more concerned with giving away the American dream to illegals and increase government subsidies while the American dream becomes allusive for the middle class. What has Obama done to help create jobs. Virtually all his so called mandates and executive orders have done nothing to help the economy. The middle class is the backbone of the country. Without a strong middle class, the economy is doomed.

    May 10, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Realist

    Biden the Plagiarist. Always was, always will be.

    May 10, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. mcgruder

    This DOLT is not even qualified enough to be a dishwasher at mickeydee's and YET he is a VP of the US! The US is a lot of HOGWASH!

    May 10, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Vijay

    I Luv Joe Biden.... He is the best and honest VP of all the times... If he had become president, our country will go in the right direction...

    May 10, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. gstlab3

    I cannot believe not one of these people ever ever again.,
    Just look at what these kind of people did to places like Detroit.
    I have seen and heard enough to know we are doomed to the same if we continue on the path we have have been on growing the government and the power it has over us.,
    It has done nothing but destroy what was once a nice hopefull place to live and dream.

    May 10, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Jodo

    I hope and pray that Biden gets the Democrat nomination.

    May 10, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. gstlab3

    These fake people., "the politicians.," destroyed our manufacturing base and our skilled labor and sent it to far away places and then imprisoned masses of the very same segment of society "2.2 million in our prisons today.," that used to fill our factories and build our infrastructure with skilled hands educated in our public schools and specialized trade schools.

    May 10, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. gstlab3

    One word., "Ologarchy.,"

    May 10, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Kit76kat

    Biden in primary would be fun like Perry in Republican primary. Sorry folks, system has been systematically rigged for rich people in this country, whoever has riches gonna win elections and primaries. Why? Because many American people still believes what Fox News and MSNBC has to say. Liked tea parties small government and personal responsibility concepts, but they have full of ignorant, anti-science leaders. Seems like dems gonna get my vote this time.

    May 10, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Dennis in LA

    30 minutes and no gaffes? Must have stuck closely to his script.

    May 10, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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