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. Philo95

    I love how Joe Biden thinks he is now for the middle class. This is a man who got into office by bowing down to the banks and credit card companies in Delaware. He single handedly fought for the banks ability to charge outrageous fees and issue predatory loans.
    I still remember my first job at Chase Bank and being demanded by my boss to make a campaign contribution to Joe Biden. He was the man that the banks bought and paid for.

    There is probably no senator in modern times that did more damage to the middle class than Joe Biden.

    May 11, 2014 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  2. What?

    Gerald, that's made up right? Repubs ran Sarah Palin, What?

    May 11, 2014 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  3. Geoff

    Joe has been on the job, more or less successfully, for 40 years or more...what's wrong with that?

    May 11, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  4. sargeantpepper

    Hillary Clinton/Bill Clinton – the winning ticket in 2016

    May 11, 2014 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  5. lamestreamdoc

    Is it possible someone could do more damage than Barack-Hussein Obama?

    Yes. It's possible.

    May 11, 2014 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  6. james breeden

    Struggles of being Middle Class is that we are being taxed to death! I work for a Corporation as a Machine Operator making $55,000 a year working 50 hours a week, The Corporation matches my 401K plan half of what I put into it, has a Retirement savings Plan like a 401K (that I control) which is about $2500 a year. I have free Short -Term disability where I get payed 100% up to 6 months and Long-term where I pay $4 a month that would pay 80%, My Medical Insurance $190 a month for the whole Family with a $1000 Deductible and $25 Co-pay that covers Dental, Vision as well as Chiropractors. I pay taxes to the State of Massachusetts, an excise tax to the town for driving a car, Property tax on the house,taxes to the Federal Government plus all taxes I pay when purchasing products at the stores. Please explain how Elizabeth Warren can be for the Middle Class? She owns a 4 Million dollar home here in our state, She made millions flipping houses as well as representing Corporations as a lawyer. What will Elizabeth Warren do for me? How will she help live an easier life? What will Joe Biden do for me? Remember JFK "Ask not what your Government can do for you but what can you do for your Government".Sorry if it is not an exact quote but that is how I remember it.

    May 11, 2014 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  7. @RI_Roger

    Has anyone in the middle class or below felt any improvement in the way of life in the past 5 1/2 years of a Democratically controlled government (Presidency & Senate)? Joe Biden or any other Democrat will only continue this stagnation but will talk a good game. We don't need another 4 years after this 8; we're not Japan and a lost decade.

    May 11, 2014 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  8. JJ

    This is funny.........Biden is starting to believe his own PR that he's a "smart guy"!

    May 11, 2014 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  9. Marie MD

    This is why we need a straight Democrat ticket. The repugs are destroying the country from the ground up! They only care about the rich.
    How does a member of congress like bo ner have a beach house on Marco Island when so many Americans can hardly have a roof over their heads or food for their children?

    May 11, 2014 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  10. yoshimoto

    this guy has the personality of a wet rag and would give away the store to get elected....

    May 11, 2014 06:53 am at 6:53 am |

    Can't wait to see Thom Tillis,Sheldon,Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Rove,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down.

    May 11, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  12. geen

    the headline said it best! ELIZABETH WARREN!! I have been a fan of Elizabeth Warren for years, an admiration w hich was only solidified after reading her book A Fighting Chance, which I strongly recommend to everyone who once viewed the now-at-least-moderate-almost-conservative-hardly-ever-progressive-status-quo democratic party of the likes of Biden, Clinton, Obama. Lets retire, forever, those clowns who have been around for thirty years–they offer nothing new and can only now parrot the ideas of others, like Warren. WARREN for Presdient in 2016..let's put PROGRESSIVE back into the Democratic Party (and, by the way..lets' hold Biden to his word if he's dumb enough to run for nomination, when he told Ryan and the world in the vp debate of 2012; "NO MORE AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN VIET....(oops..that was another war for which Biden got five deferments, ala Dick Cheney..hmm) AFGHANISTAN AFTER 2014! with the current body count over 2300 (630 under the 8 yrs of the morons' regime..the remaining 1639 (and counting), under the 6 yrs of Obama)...lets hold BIDEN responsible if he ws dumb enough to actuall believe there would be no American troops in viet....(oops, there I go by end of this year. Pro-War candidates never really change, don't ya know

    May 11, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  13. steve coster

    Joe is too old to take a shot at Clinton. Long-range weaponry is no longer viable for him. He should have waited 'til he was closer, then used a full auto...

    May 11, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  14. Solomon Walker

    Probably – and this is a preliminary guess – Rubio/Brown ticket will prevail because both will post nude on a campaign poster and rely that the nation's gays and women will elect them as the next SuperHotPresidentialBoyToyTeam...or something like that. Brown's nearly naked photo will be all over CNN's headlines for Anderson Cooper's viewing pleasure, I'm sure.

    But, that aside for a moment, Elizabeth Warren appears to be a moral and decent individual.

    The outlook for the next president is, "cloudy with a chance of meatballs." (Borrowed from Sony Pictures)
    Hopefully, the weather will clear and the US fog will be lifted and hope will be restored that we will have someone in the Oval Office that will actually lead this nation back to greatness.

    May 11, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  15. Chris Asking Question

    Should he be speaking poorly of the Clintons? After all, they gave Obama the Presidency and him the Vice-Presidency.

    May 11, 2014 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  16. Joe, you are no Hillary!

    Joe, you are no Hillary! Bashing her only hurts you. Find a way for the two of you to run as her VP.

    May 11, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  17. Peter Parker

    He is an incomparable TOOL. Let us stop this folly of even considering Joe as having a shot at 2016.. I would not vote for him to serve as dog catcher...

    May 11, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  18. timelord7202


    Not just how the GOP tore each other down in 2012, with the best of the lot – Huntsman – promptly supporting the man he derailed the most (Romney)... now Biden rips claimed competition while appealing to the masses via invoking Warren. But that's a loose association, and if they're agreeing with Warren then I can't find much to fault, because Warren has been right.

    Also consider, in 2008, Ms. Clinton – in discussing foreign labor and illegal immigrants – did say how US worker wages were being depressed, despite being for a bill that had the wage depressing effect (source US News/World Report, March 2008, discussing Clinton, Obama, and McCain on immigration issues).

    May 11, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. daveinCincy

    Does this moron realize that shareholders are middle class people trying to save for retirement? What a buffoon!!!

    May 11, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  20. itwasntme904

    Biden continues to prove that he is a bafoon, much like the rest of the democratic party!

    May 11, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. Nic

    Finally someone in the democratic party admitting all this economic down fall is the democrats fault. To bad he forgot about his own administrations failure.

    May 11, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. Harrison

    We have 300 million people in America of which 160 million are considered to be in the workforce. However only 63% of those in the workforce are actually working or looking for a job – 100 million. Of the 100 million, 6.3% are unemployed leaving a balance of 94 million. Of the 94 million that actually work, half or 47 million pay NO Income
    tax. Of the 47 million who PAY Income Tax the top half pays half of the Income Tax and the bottom 95% pays the other half.
    Therefore, 2.35 million Americans pay half of our Income Tax, 44.65 million pay the other half, and 253 million pay NOTHING. And Biden says the 2.35 million aren't paying their fair share.

    May 11, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. ali

    Biden – the consummate 1% politician blathering on about the 'other guy's' greed and deceit...

    May 11, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. jonh

    Now, put the money where your mouth is.

    May 11, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. ELMO

    Maybe CNN could do a public service and start coving Independent candidates for public office.

    May 11, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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