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Joe Biden gambles on rescuing Nevada's Harry Reid

October 16, 2009 |  4:44 pm

Democrat Vice president Joe Biden in Reno Nevada to help troubled Harry Reid of the Senate

The question hanging over Democrats as the 2010 midterm elections loom: Has the economic stimulus stimulated, well, anything?

The answer is particularly important in Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reelection could depend on whether the state's battered tourism and construction economy has healed.

VP Joe Biden tried to tackle the issue today in Reno, where he addressed the few Nevadans who can still afford a $2,400-a-plate breakfast with him and Reid. (We're still unsure whether all that cash bought the donor-diners pancakes or eggs.)

And it's a real "bargain" given the $30-grand tab per couple to dine with President Obama last night in San Francisco, as The Ticket described here earlier today.

Earlier this year, Obama flew in for a Reid fundraiser in Las Vegas. But state polls still show unfavorable ratings among Silver State voters. In his remarks today, Biden ticked off some promising economic signs, including the Dow topping 10,000 and a stabilizing housing market (well, in parts of the country that are not Nevada).

“This didn’t happen by accident,” the VP said, according to the White House pool report. “It’s because of the policies the president and I and this guy put together. Are they all perfect? No. Are we out of the woods? No. But we’re in a different place.”

Meanwhile, Republicans used the Reno fundraiser to pummel Obama, Biden, Reid, the stimulus package, Democrats and pancakes (OK, we’re kidding on that last one). It came in a tough one-minute radio ad listenable right here. 

And get this: Republican collects goods for food bank while fat-cat Democrats eat expensive breakfast. Sue Lowden, one of Reid’s potential GOP challengers, passed out coffee and doughnuts this morning – and her grub was free – while collecting canned goods for a food bank and talking about the desperate need for job creation.

So the economic stimulus has, at the very least, stimulated criticism of Reid. Though top state Republicans, including Gov. Jim Gibbons and Sen. John Ensign, initially dismissed the $860+-billion package as pork, the GOP has recently found the spending useful to undermine Reid’s repeated claim that Nevadans shouldn’t throw away his longtime D.C. clout.

To make yet another food reference, the Republican argument pretty much goes like this: If Reid really is such a powerful fellow in charge of the U.S. Senate, why hasn’t the guy brought home more bacon after four long terms?

There remain less than 13 more months to argue that one out.

-- Ashley Powers

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