Vice President Joe Biden stopped in East Hartford Friday after attending a campaign fundraiser for Senator Chris Dodd. Dodd was absent from both events because he was in Washington for a possible floor vote. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil reports.
Vice President Biden put on a lone show for the Connecticut Senator, first appearing at a $500 a plate luncheon at the Science Center downtown, then speaking before a packed room of East Hartford firefighters around 2 pm. In his 25 minute speech, Biden praised the fire service and highlighted the work of the East Hartford fire department after it battled a 5 alarm blaze with no injuries earlier this week. The fire dept was also the recipient of a $3.4 million dollar construction grant from the federal stimulus act to replace one of its stations.
Biden pointed out that he and Dodd were early supporters of allocating money for first responders:
“When the act was first written, I was pushing to include cops and firefitghters in it. And the straight economists, said no there’s not immediate payback. You know who I called? To weigh in and get it done? I called Chris Dodd.”
Biden also took time to take on critics of the stimulus act who question the government spending billions of dollars on new projects:
"We inherited a 1.2 trillion dollar debt before we opened the door to the oval office. People say, ‘my god, now you’re going to spend another 787 billion dollars.’ What would have happened had we not? This economy would have tanked into a depression.”
Biden believes the economy will continue to improve under the recovery act, since only one third of the stimulus money has gone out so far. He says contracts take time but since the legislation was signed, 1.6 million jobs have been created. This is the second time this year Biden has fundraised for Dodd who is suffering from low poll numbers. President Obama also attended a fundraiser in October.
For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil.