U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Woos Carmel
June 20, 2012
The Sunset Center was just about packed, and spirits were high this morning as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden dropped into Carmel-by-the-Sea for a fundraising rally in the 2012 presidential campaign.
(The screen's backlight washes him out, but that's Biden at the podium, above, with Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett on a stool to the right.)
Tickets weren't cheap: $100 for general seating, $250 for premium, $2,500 for a "quick meet and greet" and photo opp with the Veep, and $15,000-$35,800 for a 15-20-minute private meeting and photo with Biden.
Despite heavy Secret Service presence around the Sunset Center, the security line moved quickly as attendees shuffled through a metal detector. In the lobby, Wild Plum croissants and muffins, coffee and orange juice sated the crowd in the hour-plus run-up to auditorium seating.
The presentation opened with a short campaign film boosting what the Dems view as Obama’s first-term triumphs: his handling of the economic crisis, health care reform, the end of the Iraq War, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the seating of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, student loan reform, crackdowns on predatory lenders, job growth and the rebound of the U.S. auto industry.
Peggy Moore, California political director for the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, took the mic to remind supporters that the election is only 139 days away. “We are ramping up big time,” she said. Mary Chapin Carpenter serenaded the crowd with a few all-American folk songs.
Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett introduced the vice president, touting the Central Coast as a welcoming campaign stop for the Obama-Biden campaign. He said he admired Biden’s commitment to his family, hinting at his own higher aspirations: “[Former] Senator Biden took the train home to Delaware each and every night to be with his family and his constituents. He made me promise that I would do the same.”
Biden then took the mic to offer up a few jokes, give props to U.S. Rep. Sam Farr and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta—both D.C. power-players with local roots—and then make his campaign points.
He riffed a bit on Romney and the Republican Party, saying he didn’t think women’s right to birth control would ever be up for political discussion again, and called the Violence Against Women Act “the greatest accomplishment of my presidency.”
In a nod to the well-heeled Carmel crowd, he said that rich people can be just as patriotic as poor people. But progressive tax policy should not have ordinary Americans paying more than millionaires, he added. He evoked the American parents who have to make “the longest walk” to their kids’ rooms to say they’ve lost their jobs, or their home is being foreclosed. “My dad made that walk when I was a third-grader in Scranton, [Penn.],” he said.