(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden stumped Friday for Sen. Kay Hagan, a vulnerable Democrat up for re-election in North Carolina next year.
The vice president didn't bring up the turbulent rollout of Obamacare - an issue that’s creating heartburn for red state Democrats. Instead Biden focused on praising the first-term senator as someone who can work with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
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"The only way to break through this gridlock is with people who can earn the trust of people on the other team. That's why she's so valuable," Biden said, according to pool notes.
He made his remarks at a private fundraising event for Hagan's campaign on the campus the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
With the GOP in control of the governorship and both houses of the North Carolina state legislature, national Republicans view the state as a potential pick-up in next year's Senate race. North Carolina was one of two states that switched from Barack Obama in 2008 to Mitt Romney in 2012.
President Obama acknowledged Thursday that the rocky launch of HealthCare.gov, as well as broken promises about his signature health care plan, may damage Democratic prospects next year.
"I feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them," Obama told reporters.
Hagan has been highly critical of the kickoff in recent weeks. Even though the President announced an administrative fix to the address the problem of people losing their insurance policies, Hagan and other vulnerable Senate Democrats are pushing for a legislative fix - one that will put them on the record for having voted to solve the problem, rather than just letting the President handle it himself.
Biden predicted Republicans next year will stray away from their conservative tea party base and seek a more moderate path. He noted the GOP primary in the Alabama congressional race this month, in which a more moderate Republican defeated a tea party-backed candidate for the nomination.
"You're father's Republican Party is trying to come back," Biden said. "You are going to see the Republican Party wrestle back eventually to a mainstream conservative position and that's good. We need a strong Republican Party because we have to have somebody we can look across the aisle and make a deal with."
"I can’t think of (anybody) better to be there to extend the hand on the other side when that happens than Kay Hagan," he said.