joe biden jogging in a campaign parade

Joe Biden boldly goes where President Obama can't

By Carol E. Lee, Politico

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The White House’s preferred 2010 campaign plane is Air Force Two.

Vice President Joe Biden has been zipping around the country in the cozy Boeing 747 with the freedom to go where President Barack Obama cannot. He’s raised millions of dollars for Democrats in the process and continues to be an asset in places where Obama might be a detriment.

While the White House has to be selective about where to deploy the president in this volatile election cycle, Biden can appear with just about any Democratic candidate who is on the November ballot. (See: Forget VP: Clinton world eyes 2016)

And he does. Over the past three weeks, the vice president has campaigned for 18 candidates in 23 cities in 16 states. He’s been on the road doing campaign events four days a week since mid-September, and he’s committed to at least 18 more events during the 3½ weeks before Election Day. (See: Photos of Biden on the trail.)

Unlike Obama — who has dipped into some big-money red states, such as Texas, to fundraise for Democratic Party organizations — Biden makes the majority of his stops on behalf of individual candidates. And it’s not just the quantity of Biden’s visits that stands out; it’s where he makes them.

Tough territory does not seem to daunt him. Last Thursday, he was in Nebraska raising money for congressional candidate Tom White. “The folks in Omaha love that man,” said White. “He’s real.” (See: Obama to target black voters in Md.)

The week before that, Biden headlined a fundraiser for Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Boston, far from the endangered incumbent’s solid-red state. Earlier this summer, he appeared with the Democratic senatorial candidate in North Carolina, Elaine Marshall, and raised money for Rep. John Spratt in Columbia, S.C.

Whether the event tickets are free or $10,000 a person, Biden’s pitch is targeted at the middle class, and it’s delivered in absolutes — devoid of Obama-style nuance — and riddled with personal asides.

“Folks, I have no doubt in my mind, if we turn out average people, if we turn out those independents, Republicans and Democrats who are in the struggle like all of us are — if we turn them out, we will win,” Biden said in St. Paul Tuesday at his 116th political event since taking office. “And I have no doubt, if we do not, we will lose.” (See: Axelrod, Wiesel lament fanaticism)

Sometimes it seems Biden’s the one who’s retained the hope of the Obama campaign.

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