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Friday, 9 April 2010

Your Pooler from the Inky...

... On Biden's Visit to Philly

Pool report on Biden visit to a fund-raising luncheon for U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania's First District.

From Tom Infield
The Philadelphia Inquirer
 215-313-3084  215-313-3084

The Radisson Warwick Hotel at 17th and Locusts streets in Center City Philadelphia.

Biden motorcade, including a Pennsylvania State Police armored tank-like vehicle,  arrived about 12:45 and took over the corner. I was inside the coffee shop waiting to be taken in hand by the press minders. From the window, I saw scores of gawkers, many with cell phone cameras, but I saw and heard no hint of protestors.

Pool was escorted to the third floor, where about 250-300 donors were gathered in a meeting room-ballroom. The room was full, with people sitting at round tables and standing in back. Gov. Edward G. Rendell was speaking when I entered the room.

Rendell introduced Brady, calling him "our congressman and also the next congressman -- I can predict that with absolute certainty."

Brady has no opponent in the May 18 primary, nor so far in the fall.

Brady came onto the stage from the left, followed by the vice president.

Brady joked, "Someone told me somebody was following me -- unbelievable" -- small laughter from audience.

Brady introduced Biden as "a friend to the state of Pennsylvania, without a doubt a friend of the city of Philadelphia."

"He's our Joe. This is our Joe...We share him with the state of Delaware. He is our third senator."

Biden received about 15-20 seconds of applause.
He spoke from 1:14 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.
He made no news and said nothing provocative.

"I want you to know that everyone is finally acknowledging that the recovery act has created jobs and is responsible for a significant portion of the GDP growth and a lot of other good things."

Recognized several people at the event:
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
Comcast executive David L. Cohen
Philadelphia attorney Stephen Cozen
State Rep. Bryan Lentz, of Delaware County, who is seeking the Democratic nomination May 18 to succeed U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak in the U.S. House (7th District).

To Nutter: "I think you're all nuts if you want to be mayor to begin with...It's beyond my capacity."

"I can't think when it was more difficult to be mayor of a big city than right now. This is a worldwide recession. It has hit in ways that are devastating to families. But most of all it has devastated cities."

Biden praised Brady as "the single mist effective member, in delivering on a commitment he makes, in the entire United States Congress."

He took note of "my Philadelphia wife," who he said was teaching school and wished she could be at the event. Dr. Jill Biden teaches at Northern Virginia Community College.

Again on the economy and Brady --
"My dad used to have an expression, you know, a job is a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity, it's about respect. This guy understands that."

on the economy -- "It's a depression for a whole helluva lot of people."

Recalled when his father had to leave home to live with a relative in Wilmington, so he could work there. Had lost  his job. Said his dad had to ask his father-in-law, "Ambrose, I need a favor. I need you to take care of Jean(sp?) and the kids."

Noted that many American families are going through same.

"You must not abandon the ship because you cannot control the winds. The winds were blowing pretty hard when we took office."
Said 800,000 people had lost jobs.
Housing values had plummeted for the 27th month in a row
GDP shrank 6.4 percent in the first quarter.

"We had to navigate winds that were a helluva lot sharper than anyone thought they would be."

Extolled Obama-Biden administration programs.

"Well, it's not over yet, but we're moving into more calm waters."

Jobs increased this month by 160,000 but "a long, long way to go....That's not enough to get us down to where we have to go, but it's a beginning."

Recalled swimming in a quarry in Avondale, Pa., across border from Delaware, when he was a kid. Used to dive from a 100-foot rock platform that was called the eagle's nest. Remembered that he'd drop so deep that he was in total blackness. Then the joy of coming back into the light.

Said of Americans: "They've got to see a little bit of light. That's what they're seeing now, a little bit of light. They're not out of the water yet, but they're beginning to move."

Said of critics -- "A lot of these people tell us we're trying to do too much. I ask you, what can we afford to ignore?"

Said doubters say "our system is broken, the nation is not capable of doing big things."

"Folks, I think one of the things the president has shown -- when passion is matched with principle in the hands of a skilled leader, there is not a single, solitary thing this country cannot do."

Encouraged Democrats to be positive about the party's chances in the November election.

"Reports of the demise of the Democratic Party are premature." By November, "people are going to find out that all those bogeyman stories about the health care bill turned out to be dead wrong."