Philip Maddocks: Biden offers to entertain big donors in Romney’s absence

Philip Maddocks, GateHouse News Service

With Mitt Romney planning to cut back on his appearances at big-money fundraisers as his campaign enters the final stretch before Election Day, Vice President Joseph Biden sought to quiet concerns among big-donor Republican voters by offering to attend any high-end function in Mr. Romney’s stead.

“I have some time on my hands and I have a lot I want to get off my chest, so it just makes sense for me to take this on,” Mr. Biden said on Thursday while taking a break from washing his Goodwood-green 1967 Corvette.

The vice president said those who organize and attend these exclusive soirees tend to be self-centered, power-hungry, and motivated by a desire “to place the rest of us in chains,” but, he maintained, that that is no reason to deprive them of his voice at their fundraisers.

Folksy and frequently off-color, Mr. Biden said that his fundraiser performances would be “the essence of democracy,” offering material for both those who like the president as well as those who don’t. And he promised to bring “an extra 20” in case a Berluti shoe is passed around for collecting additional donations.

Mr. Biden admitted that in Mr. Romney he had a tough act to follow at these privileged get-togethers, but he did encourage anyone with a cellphone to secretly record what he says “because you never know what off-message remark I might make. Just ask the president.”

Mr. Biden unveiled his plan to woo upper-class voters in affluent battleground counties during a visit to The National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., on Tuesday.

After rolling into the parking lot unannounced on a Harley-Davidson - and with his signature “motorcycle-cade” in tow, featuring Secret Service agents and some bikers Mr. Biden befriended during an earlier visit to Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio - the vice president told startled club members that his services were on offer for any $50,000-a-plate dinner, and he guaranteed them that he would “put his foot in his mouth and his hand in the caviar” before the evening was out.

Mr. Biden assured the large gathering that was now jockeying to get a glimpse of the leather-clad vice president that he would remain off script and “provide a year’s worth of footage” for The American Future Fund, a conservative advocacy group, that has produced a video mocking Mr. Biden’s misstatements.

Working the group of multimillionaires in his typical fashion - gripping shoulders, joking loudly, and telling Delaware stories – Mr. Biden talked of hosting them after the election. “Win, lose or draw, I’m still going to be vice president in January,” he said, suggesting they should join him at the White House for a beer.

Before heading off to drum up more fundraising business at the nearby Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the vice president posed for pictures with his wealthy audience in front of his red Harley, which is adorned with a red, white, and blue banner that reads: “G.M. and Joe Biden Are Alive.”

Republicans immediately assailed the vice president’s proposal, calling it nothing more than an attempt to foment class warfare. They accused Mr. Biden of deliberately going onto Mr. Romney’s turf, unannounced, in an effort to draw an unfavorable contrast between him and the Republican presidential nominee.

“After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the vice president of the United States has reached a new low,” Andrea Saul, Mr. Romney’s press secretary, said in a statement. “The comments made by Mr. Biden are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama campaign will say and do anything to win this election.”

The Republican National Committee released a statement of its own, calling Mr. Biden’s attempt to stand in for Mr. Romney at swank fundraisers “a travesty for hardworking Americans” and describing him as nothing more than “a replacement referee.”

Mr. Biden dismissed the criticism as much ado about nothing.

“I got a message for them,” he said. “If they want to challenge me to a caviar-eating contest, I am ready.”

Philip Maddocks writes political satire and humor for GateHouse Media and can be reached at