May 10th, 2014
09:23 AM ET
7 years 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.

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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. evans

    hes just putting the lies out early, to win the people, then he will just back track on just about everything he said...

    May 10, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. John

    Hell, he's got to keep the race interesting.

    May 10, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. skb

    At least he has a clue.

    May 10, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. JustCommenting

    Well, this is interesting. For everyone who was presuming that Hillary would be the next nominee for the Democrats, looks like Biden intends to use the coattails of Obama to drag him into the Oval Office. It may very well come down to whom Obama gives the nod. So far, Obama hasn't really done that. I thought Biden had an ego, now let's see if it matches Clinton's.

    May 10, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Don Jones

    The GOP clown car is once again speeding towards the cliff. Hilary will spank the Grand Oil Party and put the jackals out of their misery.

    May 10, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Man Who Is Always Right

    Yes, what a wonderful choice: Clinton, whose Whitewater Antics are directly responsible for people being murdered, or Biden, who is like that drunken uncle who keeps showing up at family functions and embarrassing himself but doesn't have the sense to know it. 8 years of Leftist nonsense is quite enough. The experiment is over, hippies. Back to the fields. We'll take our country from here. You're welcome.

    May 10, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. evans

    you people are very manipulated if you think that joe biden will somehow fix everything, thats what people said about obama and this guys his vice president. think of the things obama said and never followed through. this is politics, lying to the people to make them vote for you, then just not following through...

    May 10, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. Rosie

    annnnd the beat goes on. It's an "if" Ms. Clinton runs. Biden won't run - he knows better, but he is probably being pushed by 'powers' that know he is a yes man. Someone set this whole thing up. His speech at the closed fundraiser for sure was set up. He would not say stuff like that unless B.O. approved.

    May 10, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. stooges999

    Joe Biden is a clown....period!!!! I would take Bill or Hillary over him ANY DAY.....

    May 10, 2014 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. Christie

    Biden is a pathetic old man. No one would seriously consider voting for him. He's stood there smiling like a fool as Obama has allowed everything to go to hell. The democrats will never go anywhere if they attack each other.

    May 10, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Gunderson

    Well Joe,
    Old Gunderson got hand it to you. Middle Class struggling and you don't have a clue. So Joe, when in Boston Use Yah Blinkah. When come to fork in road, take it. And to scare off Conservatives fire off a shotgun on your front (back) porch. Also, what good for Bullmoose good for country.

    May 10, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. bidens mom

    the kids are fighting again mommy

    May 10, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. Kasey

    Seriously, I have to worry about the future if people would vote for this guy. We'll be in WWIII before his first month in office after he shoots his mouth off to the wrong person.

    May 10, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. Eagle6421

    Plugs Biden. Bwahahahahaha! Stand up Chuck!

    May 10, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  15. what

    shotgun or rifle..he couldn't hit the ground with his dick.

    May 10, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  16. not funny

    No difference in either party..

    May 10, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. sickofitall

    Democrats for the middle class? excuse me while I throw up...I live in Massachusetts – about the most blue of the here is one of the many dirty little secrets of the so called party of the middle class – Massachusetts has one of the most over the top – aggressively marketed lottery systems in the nation.

    As a consequence they collect more lottery money than ANY OTHER STATE on a per capita basis. OVER $850.00 a head..who gets suckered into playing? Who do they prey on? I'll give you a's not those awful 1% folks collar folks are the primary target.

    so he is the amusing thing – they take some of the profits and distribute it back to cities and towns... good idea right? well...maybe – you see that high income communities get funds and in addition to others – so blue collar workers subsidize the local property tax rates of those awful people in the this a great country or what?????????

    May 10, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  18. karek40

    Mr. Biden is wrong, the problem with the middle class began under George Bush, he pushed a global agenda and NAFTA, Clinton signed the NAFTA and corporations began outsourcing, the outsourcing continued under George W. Bush and Obama. We are responsible because we continue to elect globalists as president. We need to re-instate tariffs and cease to elect globalists. No more Bush's, no more Clintons, no more lifetime politicians.

    May 10, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. DaveW

    Biden, Sanders or Warren. Anyone but Hillary. I will vote Republican before I vote for Hillary.

    May 10, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. Mike

    I would like anyone to tell me what Hilary Clinton ever accomplished while Secretary of State, or anything else at any other time. The answer is not one thing. And yet, people want her to be president. Why?

    May 10, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. karek40

    The problem did not begin with Clinton, it began under his predecessor George Bush, continued under Clinton and George W. Bush and Obama. The problem began with NAFTA and outsourcing and is the direct result of electing globalist presidents. Therefore we are the cause of our own problems. No more Bush's, no more Clintons, no more lifetime politicians. We need to elect a president that puts the U.S. first and re-instates tariffs. Bring the manufacturing back to the U.S.

    May 10, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. whitelotus88

    I think Biden would make a better president than Obama. At least he's got the respect of people like Boehner and isn't afraid to work across the aisle to get things done. That's already 100 times better than what we already have.

    Don't like Hillary. She's too politically calculating in her every endeavor. Everything she does is motivated by politics and I doubt deep down she truly cares. It's one reason she didn't do squat as Sec of State, despite having opportunities to generate peace talks in the middle east and elsewhere (which is what Kerry is doing now and what Hillary should have been doing). I don't think she isn't interested in truly making a difference.

    Unlike you fan boys out there I have no qualms with the republican party if they can muster up a decent candidate. My grandmother would have beaten Romney in 2012. Obama had the lowest ratings ever for an incumbent and still managed to pull out a victory. That wasn't an indictment of how good Obama had been. That was an indictment of the GOP's selection.

    May 10, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Jakie

    If I get drunk enough, Hillary doesn't look so bad. Lying Joe Biden is a tool. I would vote for Hill over Ole Joe. I would vote for a dead cat over Hill.

    May 10, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. Lisa

    I love how Joe was so eager now that the pre-race for President has begun to bash Hilary at first bite when she hasn't even announced her intent. It is amazing how POTUS AND OLE SMILEY sits on their thrones untouched because Rice and Hilary became their scape goats to assure that Bengazi never hit them in the face. Insecurities cause humans to attack....glad to see good ole Joe's true colors. Hilary needs to come clean and distance herself from JOE and O'blunder by admitting that they had her take the fall for everything because POTUS doesn't know how to secure the country!

    May 10, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  25. Patty

    Does Joe Biden or any Democrat realize what ObamaCare is costing the middle class workers that can not get their insurance through their employer? You are bankrupting the middle class!

    May 10, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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