The Wall Street Journal (Link) - Susan Davis (February 6, 2009)
Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged today that Democrats could face political repercussions in 2010 for their support of the $900 billion economic stimulus package.
“But when we do [approve it], I’m sure you’re going to be nailed in ads, ‘Well they voted on that’ 30 second ads,” Biden told roughly 200 members of the House Democratic Caucus gathered here for their three day annual retreat. “I promise you as [a colleague] once said to me, ‘I’ll come campaign for you or against you, whichever will help you the most in your district.’ And so will the president because, again, we’re all in this together.”
The vice president also offered some trademark candor about the prospects of success. He recalled a recent White House meeting with the president and senior aides in which they were discussing the many challenges the country faces. “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong,” was his message at the meeting.
Biden warned that the consequences were too great for the country to allow politics to prevent action. “The only thing we can get wrong is not reaching a consensus among ourselves…and demonstrating to the American people that we’re thinking small and politically—you [House Democrats] have not, you’ve thought big,” he said. All but 10 House Democrats voted for the bill.
Echoing President Barack Obama’s remarks here Thursday, Biden aligned this moment with other great challenges the country has faced. “Not since World War II has a caucus gathered with so many challenges facing our country and the stakes so high,” he said. “The slope is pretty steep. The opportunities are great.”
Biden noted that history suggests many of the smart decisions made to aid the nation were unpopular, and that Congress will have to take tough votes. “There were very few decisions that were made [back then] that were popular,” he said. “That’s the bad news folks.”
Yet Biden sought to strike an optimistic tone here and underscored the importance of unity in the ranks. “This is about all of us, we’re in this together,” he said, and “when it works, as I’m absolutely convinced it will, I’m absolutely convinced, that our best days are ahead of us. I’m not just saying that, I really believe that with every fiber in my being that this is an opportunity.”
This must be the "girding the loins" issue that Biden spoke of around election time last year.