Former Vice President Joe Biden rallied with House Democrats on Wednesday, predicting that their party will sweep the House — and maybe even the Senate — come November.
Biden, who delivered a 30-minute pep rally to kick off House Democrats’ annual retreat, was bullish in his predictions for the midterms.
“We’re gonna win back the House,” Biden told the group. “We actually have a chance at winning back the Senate, for real. It’s a little more of a climb, but it’s real.”
Democrats have their best shot in years at winning the 24 seats they’d need to take control of the House. The Senate is a much more difficult landscape, where Democrats are defending 25 seats, including 10 in states that President Donald Trump won.
Reporters were ushered out after his opening remarks, but Biden stayed for nearly an hour afterward, taking questions from lawmakers. Biden waded into the crowd as he answered questions, walking the aisle like a professor and delivering a “master class” in politics and policy, according to multiple sources in the room.
As he spoke, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was on the House floor delivering an eight-hour speech in protest of congressional leaders moving ahead with a budget deal without securing protections for Dreamers.
Government funding runs out Thursday at midnight and the Senate is expected to send the House a massive budget bill that would set defense and domestic spending for the next two years and raise the debt limit. But immigration talks remain stalled.
Democrats moved their three-day retreat from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to the Capitol to accommodate the ongoing budget talks.
Biden will be among the most high-profile Democrats stumping for the party this year and is expected to be a frequent presence on the campaign trail. With his blue-collar appeal, Biden can campaign in many of the races where the party’s more liberal leaders, including Pelosi, might be a liability.
For example, Biden is expected to campaign for Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate in a closely watched House special election in Pennsylvania. Lamb has already said he won’t support Pelosi as leader if elected to Congress but is still getting slammed in his district by Republican campaign ads associating him with the California Democrat.
Lamb, a Marine Corps veteran and a former federal prosecutor, is running in a district Trump won easily, but many Democrats see the race as a potential bellwether for their prospects in November.
Biden is also lining up events for the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats, including Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
In his speech to House Democrats, Biden urged the lawmakers not to get too distracted by the daily chaos of the Trump presidency and lose sight of their main goal — pitching the middle class on why they should elect Democrats back to power in November.
“I’m absolutely convinced that we can — that we can and will win back the House,” he said. But “we’ve got to start hollering more loudly for those folks out there.”
Biden attributed Democrats’ messaging problem to the disorder of the Trump presidency, which he deemed a “tragedy in two acts.”
“We are so concerned with stopping the attack … that we’re having great trouble getting to do the real work of restoring the middle class,” he said.
The former vice president also took a shot at Republicans for continuing to defend Trump on everything from the Russia investigation to the president’s recent controversial comments about some nations being “shithole countries.”