Biden tells Colorado crowd stimulus ‘is working’
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
LONGMONT, Colo. – Democrats have said jobs will be their top priority heading into elections this fall, and Vice President Joe Biden was in Colorado Friday hoping to hand his party some credit for putting people to work.
He stopped by a Longmont electronics company to talk up the company’s new motor plant funded with $45 million in federal stimulus money. Joining him were state Democrats hoping signs of an economic recovery will boost their political fortunes.
Biden told several hundred gathered in the factory it’s “unquestionable” that the stimulus is creating jobs and reviving the economy.
“It’s helped people getting through these very tough times,” Biden said.
The vice president has been touring the country for more than a year talking up the administration’s $787 billion stimulus plan. Now, as Democrats kick into campaign season, the message that the stimulus was a success is being repeated at every chance.
Rep. Betsy Markey, a freshman Democrat facing a tough re-election campaign, started her remarks at the factory by mentioning that for the last three fiscal quarters, the nation’s gross domestic product has risen.
“I think that’s great news for all of us,” said Markey, who has said in the past that jobs would be a top talking point as she seeks a second term.
The optimism was echoed by two statewide Democrats, Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. Bill Ritter. Neither will appear on ballots this fall, but the two whipped the crowd to cheers with praise for the stimulus and optimism about the economy.
“We’re on the verge of a major turnaround,” Udall said.
Biden spent most of his remarks talking about the need for American innovation, but he personally cited Markey. Later in the day Biden headlined a closed-door fundraiser for Markey donors at a Denver hotel.
“I love your spunk. I love your optimism,” Biden told Markey at the Longmont factory. “I love your sense of what’s going on.”
In 2008, Markey became the first Democrat in three decades to win Colorado’s sprawling 4th Congressional District. But the district also chose Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and Markey has attracted spirited challenges from three Republicans this year.
One Markey donor who attended Friday’s fundraiser said Markey told the crowd that jobs would be paramount to her re-election bid. Kevin Murray, 60, of Denver noted that Markey is among many Democrats whose political futures depend on the economy.
“It’s a jobs message, and the economy is coming back,” said Murray.
Biden has stepped up appearances at fundraisers for Democrats in tight election contests, appearing at more than 50 events. As at previous fundraisers, media access at Friday’s reception was limited. There was no immediate word how much Markey’s event raised.
Biden’s jobs pitch at the Longmont factory won a standing ovation. But outside the speech, some voters indicated Democrats have their work cut out for them persuading the public that the economy is on the upswing and that current economic policies are to thank.
“I don’t see it,” said Steve Jensen, an out-of-work computer network support technician. Jensen was having coffee and a doughnut at a shop a couple of miles away from the Longmont factory Friday morning, and he doubted Democratic claims that the stimulus has helped average workers.
“I guess they’re saying that there’s a trickle-down effect of bankers being able to buy new cars, but it seems to be it could’ve been spent more effectively,” Jensen said.
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