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Biden Rallies the Faithful at Democratic Retreat

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — Vice President Joseph Biden told House Democrats today that the tough votes that cost them the majority in 2010 will return them to majority status in 2012.

Speaking before party members at their annual issues retreat, Biden predicted, “I really do think we’re going to win back the House.”

“Those decisions you made, the risks you took, the losses we took, really did save this country. And the American people are beginning to figure it out,” Biden said during his off-the-cuff remarks.

Biden’s subdued delivery, which he said was due to a nagging cold, was received with intermittent applause from an audience that has decamped to the Eastern Shore for a three-day retreat to hone a 2012 messaging strategy. Biden’s remarks followed up on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address from Tuesday night, during which the president offered outlines to revive the housing industry and resuscitate the job market.

Biden said those messages to middle-class Americans will draw a distinction against Republicans, who he said “are strongly supportive of the privileged sector.”

The vice president also criticized the leading GOP presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), and he maintained that Republican-led obstruction in Congress will hurt the entire party in November. While Biden said that he personally liked House Majority Eric Cantor (Va.), he noted that Cantor’s exit from negotiations this summer on raising the debt ceiling was because Congressional Republicans cannot control the right flank of their party. He maintained that Cantor did not walk out on those talks but called him the day before to indicate negotiations were at an impasse.

“These guys are helping us,” Biden said during his 47-minute remarks.

Biden hailed House Democrats for supporting the auto bailout that he said created 176,000 jobs. He trumpeted Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (Md.) “Make It in America” agenda and called out Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who is “not going to be remembered just for being the first woman Speaker. She’s going to be remembered for being the second woman Speaker.”

Biden also pledged to be an active surrogate for Democratic lawmakers in the runup to the 2012 elections and told Members that he already plans to travel extensively to the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida.

“Coincidentally, that’s where a lot of your targeted seats are,” he noted. But he said he would only campaign for those who wanted him.

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