Getting Out Of Town For 2016

- September 15, 2013

In The Midst Of Approaching Fiscal Deadlines, Biden Hits The Road To Bolster His Own Political Prospects


Today, Biden Is At Sen. Tom Harkin’s Annual Fundraiser, Which “Has A Long History Of Attracting Presidential Hopefuls.” “U.S. Secret Service agents are already staking out the Iowa Cubs’ ballpark in Des Moines. Vice President Joe Biden will be a guest at an invitation-only gathering with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin on the mezzanine at Principal Park Sunday morning. The private event, a fundraiser for Harkin’s political action committee, is scheduled to take place before the big steak fry half an hour south in Indianola later Sunday. The 36-year-old steak fry is one of the signature political events of the year in Iowa and has a long history of attracting presidential hopefuls.” (Jennifer Jacobs, “In Iowa Sunday, Biden Will Hit A Ballpark Reception Before Steak Fry,” Des Moines Register, 9/11/13)

  • Biden’s Staff Claimed He Was Willing To Make Time For The Steak Fry Because It Was “A Long-Standing Commitment.” “Biden’s staff have said he’s coming to the fry this year because it’s ‘a long-standing commitment after the vice president was unable to attend last year.’ But Biden’s trip to Iowa, home of the kick-off vote in the presidential nominating process, has been widely interpreted as sowing the seeds for a presidential bid in 2016.” (Jennifer Jacobs, “In Iowa Sunday, Biden Will Hit A Ballpark Reception Before Steak Fry,” Des Moines Register, 9/11/13)

On The Day After His Visit To Iowa, Biden Will Travel To Georgia, As Well As South Carolina, Another Early 2016 Primary State. “Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to pay a visit to the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal on Monday. Biden, who canceled a trip to Panama scheduled for next week, also plans to visit Charleston, S.C. Biden also will visit Mexico at the end of the week to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto.” (“Biden Cancels Panama Trip; Will Still Visit Savannah,” The Associated Press, 9/12/13)

On Thursday, Biden Will Leave For A Two-Day Trip To Mexico. “Biden will still stop Monday in Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., to talk about port infrastructure. Late Thursday and on Friday, he'll be in Mexico to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto and to launch the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue. ” (Jennifer Epstein, “Biden Cancels Panama Trip To Focus On Syria,” Politico, 9/12/13)


Obama And The White House Are Devising A Strategy For The Upcoming Budget Battles With Congress, Including A Prospective Government Shutdown And A Debt Default: “Don’t Blink First.” “Don’t blink first. That’s the strategy President Barack Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats are pursuing as the nation faces a government shutdown, a historic default on its debt and the final phase of Obamacare. Obama’s domestic agenda — headed up by infrastructure spending, gun control and immigration reform — has long since stalled. Now, with the basic functions of government on the line again, he’s defining his goal as not giving any more ground to House Republicans — no budget cuts and no concessions on the Affordable Care Act or the debt limit.” (Jonathan Allen, “White House Determined Not To Give Ground On Obamacare,” Politico, 9/12/13)

Obama Dispatched Biden To Negotiate The 2011 Continuing Resolution – But Biden Phoned It In

In 2011, Obama Dispatched Biden To Capitol Hill To Try And Broker A Compromise Over The FY2011 Continuing Resolution. “President Obama on Wednesday intervened in a partisan brawl that threatens to shut down the government, inviting congressional leaders of both parties to sit down with Vice President Biden and work out a compromise to fund federal programs through the end of the fiscal year.” (Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery,  “Obama Invites Congressional Leaders To Meet With Biden On Budget,” The Washington Post, 3/2/11)

  • But Biden Spent Most Of The Time At A Distance, Phoning In Periodically But Leaving Negotiating To His Staff. “POLITICO reported Monday that despite being anointed the point man on the budget by President Obama in early March, Biden hasn’t played a major role in the negotiations, instead waiting until staff-level discussions near an end so he can come in to finish brokering a deal. In the meantime, he’s been talking with members of Congress by phone every day.” (Matt Negrin, “Budget Team Confers With Biden,” Politico, 3/29/11)

Biden “Pursued A Semi-Comical” Effort To Seem Involved, Calling GOP Leaders From Russian President Medvedev's Dacha To Discuss The Budget. "At the same time, Vice President Joe Biden, delegated as a top budget negotiator by Obama, pursued a semi-comical second track: reaching out long distance to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's dacha." (Glenn Thrush and Carrie Budoff Brown, "W.H. Struggles To Lead On Spending," Politico, 3/9/11)

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) Questioned Obama's Decision To Defer To Biden On The Budget: "If He's The Chief Negotiator -- At Least That's What I Thought He Was Gonna Be -- And Then He Takes Off In The Middle Of This Debate, Then Where Does That Leave Us?" "Cuellar also questioned the appointment of Vice President Joe Biden to spearhead the bipartisan negotiations in search of a deal. Biden met with party leaders on Thursday, but left the country a few days later to meet with leaders in Russia and Finland. 'If he's the chief negotiator -- at least that's what I thought he was gonna be -- and then he takes off in the middle of this debate, then where does that leave us?' Cuellar asked." (Mike Lillis, "Cuellar Dem Leadership's Lone New Face," The Hill, 3/10/11)

The White House’s Lack Of Involvement In The Negotiations Left Congressional Democrats Wondering “Who’s In Charge?” “Democrats in Congress are grappling with a question as they negotiate a spending deal: Who's in charge? The top two Democratic leaders in the House have twice split on whether to approve short-term government funding bills that cut billions from federal accounts. Senate Democrats haven’t put forward a long-term spending plan that can move through their chamber, and Democrats on both sides of the Capitol say they have no idea where the White House stands or who’s running the show.”  (Jonathan Allen, “Democrats Wonder: What’s Our Plan?” Politico, 3/17/11)

  • “Vice President Joe Biden Stepped In Briefly To Fill The Breach But Has Been More A Voice On The Phone Than A Physical Presence.” (David Rogers, “Fiscal Cloud Still Hangs Over Congress,” Politico, 3/27/11)

Obama Also Put Biden In Charge Of The Failed 2011 Debt Ceiling Negotiations

Obama Put Biden In Charge Of A Group To Negotiate A Solution To The Debt Ceiling. “Yet how the math adds up to achieve those reductions remains an open question. The White House hasn’t posted a plan, and the president called for creating another group, led by Vice President Biden and congressional leaders, to come up with legislation.” (Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro, “Obama’s First 2012 Campaign Speech,” MSNBC's "First Read", 4/13/11)

After Obama Tapped Biden To Lead Negotiations, Biden Confessed To White House Advisers “He Was Going To Need Preparation. A Lot Of It.” “The president had asked him to lead a group of lawmakers in an effort to deal with the mounting federal deficit, and the debt ceiling extension, Biden explained, and he was going to need preparation. A lot of it.” (Bob Woodward, The Price of Politics, 2012, p. 111)

  • Biden Noted That He Was “Not A Budget Guy” And Had Once Given Up His Seat On The Senate Budget Committee “Because He Disliked Budget Work So Much.” “He had once voluntarily given up his seat on the Senate Budget Committee because he disliked budget work so much. ‘I am not a budget guy, but you’re going to brief the hell out of me,’ he told Furman, a 40-year-old Harvard Ph.D. economist.” (Bob Woodward, The Price of Politics, 2012, p. 111)

When Biden Summoned Democrats To His Senate Office, The Seventh Day Of Talks, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Thought “The Administration Didn’t Seem To Have A Strategy. It Was Unbelievable. There Didn’t Seem To Be Any Core Principles.” “Van Hollen said firewalls had a precedent. Budget agreements in 1991, 1993 and 1997 all had them. He said the 193 Democrats would not go for deep general cuts without firewalls. But the administration might be able to go without firewalls, Biden interjected, eager to get an agreement. Not helpful at all, thought Van Hollen. Biden later backtracked some, suggesting a 50-50 Defense/non-Defense firewall for just two of the 10 years. Inouye repeated what he had told the Democrats in their pre-meeting: Defense could be cut. Domestic programs needed protection. A growing feeling of incredulity came over Van Hollen. The administration didn’t seem to have a strategy. It was unbelievable. There didn’t seem to be any core principles.” (Bob Woodward, The Price Of Politics, 2012, p. 128)

Biden Told Sen. McConnell That The Extension Of The Debt Ceiling Past The 2012 Election Was A “Nonnegotiable Demand.” “Biden stated flatly that the extension had to last 18 months, to take them beyond the 2012 election. It was a nonnegotiable demand, he said. As McConnell himself had heard two weeks earlier, the president was not going to give on this even if it brought his presidency down.” (Bob Woodward, The Price Of Politics, 2012, p. 340)

The Talks With Biden Collapsed Over The Administration’s Demands For Tax Increases. “The breakdown of the latest U.S. deficit-cutting talks puts the onus on President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner to bridge partisan differences over tax increases and cuts to entitlements such as Medicare. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and second-ranking Senate Republican Jon Kyl yesterday walked away from a seven-weeks-long negotiating effort led by Vice President Joe Biden to find a way to cut at least $1 trillion and raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline.” (Heidi Przbyla, “Breakdown Of Biden Deficit Talks Puts Debt-Cut Onus On Obama, Boehner,” Bloomberg, 6/24/11)

FLASHBACK: As Senator, Biden Voted Against A Debt Ceiling Increase, Saying The Budget At The Time Was “A Record Of Utter Disregard For Our Nation’s Financial Future.” BIDEN: “Because this massive accumulation of debt was predicted, because it was foreseeable, because it was unnecessary, because it was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the fundamentals of economic management, I am voting against the debt limit increase … This is a record of utter disregard for our Nation’s financial future. It is a record of indifference to the price our children and grandchildren will pay to redeem our debt when it comes due.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 3/16/06, pp. S2239-S2240)

  • At The Time Of Then-Sen. Biden’s Remarks, The National Debt Was $8.3 Trillion; Today, The National Debt Stands At $16.7 Trillion. (US Department Of The Treasury,, Accessed 9/12/13)


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