Hoyer: Kratovil "batting .800-plus with us"
Vice President Joe Biden, at a last-minute fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland, called the Eastern Shore freshman's re-election battle "a really big race."
Urging an audience of about 80 at state Democratic Chairwoman Susie Turnbull's Bethesda home to get behind Kratovil, the vice president described Republican challenger Andy Harris as "genuinely out of the mainstream."
Before Biden spoke, House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland defended Kratovil against liberal critics of his voting record, which includes opposition to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
"Frank is batting .800-plus with us," he said. "I don't want you to tell anyone that," he added.
Told moments later that a reporter had been present for his remarks, Hoyer said he wasn't saying anything that he did not believe.
Harris and the Republicans have been countering Kratovil's claims of independence by portraying him in attack ads as a puppet of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who voted with her 84 percent of the time. Kratovil has said those attacks distort his voting record, which is closer to the center than any other member of the Maryland congressional delegation.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which put more than $800,000 into those anti-Kratovil ads, said in a statement prior to the event that “Frank Kratovil voted for the $800 billion Obama-Pelosi stimulus and continues to call it a ‘good thing.’ And for him, it is: Joe Biden’s thank-you visit will add hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign account. But for everyday Marylanders, it’s wasted their money and failed to create jobs. Contrary to the congressman’s belief, that’s not a ‘good thing’ – but it’s a great reason to fire him.”
Tickets to the event were in the $250-$500 range, according to one person who was invited.
Check out the complete pool report from the event, by our colleague Emily Cadei of Congressional Quarterly magazine, after the jump.
VP Joe Biden made an appearance at a fundraiser at a private home in Bethesda for Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland, who is in a tough race against Republican Andy Harris (recent polls have Kratovil trailing)
No major news. Biden spoke for approx. 10 mins, exhorting the guests in attendance to rally their friends and contacts in support of Kratovil because "this is a really big race." He acknowledged that it is a tough district for Democrats to win but said the party "can't afford to lose a great congressman" to someone who is "genuinely out of the mainstream."
Like Obama has, Biden also tried to rationalize voter anger, noting many Americans have "had everything turned upside down" as a result of the economic crisis. And he said that they understand that is the fault of the Bush administration, but have yet to translate that knowledge into action.
Voters are "only now making up their minds" Biden said.
Democrats, he said, have to make sure the election is about a comparison between the Democrats and the alternative.
"Look at the message it sends" if Kratovil loses, Biden exclaimed, before urging the crowd to "get up!"
In attendance: Maryland Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards; Maryland Secretary of State John McDonough
Prior to the Biden's arrival, pool was also brought upstairs to hear opening remarks.
The hostess, Maryland State Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull, started off, thanking guests for attending this "wonderful event" for Frank.
She introduced Rep. Donna Edwards.
"We stand with each other as Democrats," Edwards said of the Maryland congressional delegation.
Edwards also thanked the guests for "standing tall with us at this really difficult time."
DCCC Chair/Rep. Chris Van Hollen then spoke. "We have a huge battle in Maryland across the board," he said.
CVH: "Frank Kratovil is a perfect fit for his congressional district."
"He has listened to his constituents every step of the way."
Harris, his opponent, "is way off on the right."
Rep. Steny Hoyer came next. He called Kratovil's race the most important in the state of MD, and said this election is "about the character of our country." The Repubs, he said, are "the narrowest-based party I have seen in my lifetime" and will "put our country in danger."
He also said that while some liberals may complain that Kratovil is not a loyal enough Democrat, "Frank is batting .800 plus with us."
"I don't want you to tell anyone that," though, he said.
Informed moments later that the press was here, Hoyer exclaimed that he wasn't saying anything he didn't believe.
Kratovil then got up and made a few remarks. He likened Republicans to people who "set fire to a house" and then criticize the people trying to put out the fire.
And he said he and his opponent "couldn't be more different."
"We can win this!" He concluded.
Some background on the event:
It is taking place at the home of Maryland Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull.
Approximately 80 people are in attendance.
The menu consists of passed and stationary hors d'oeuvres, including:
- blackened salmon sliders
- lamb polpettine and persian chicken skewers
- butternut squash soup sips
- antipasta - imported and domestic cheese; spreads; bread and crackers
- spiced nuts
- mini tarts