Beau Biden in town to energize state's Democrats


Beau Biden has fond memories of the last time he visited Las Vegas, he said Friday as he prepared to rally Clark County's Democratic Party members at their convention on Saturday.

It was November 2008. His father, Vice President Joe Biden, had just won election, sharing the Democratic ticket with President Barack Obama.

The younger Biden, the attorney general of Delaware and a major in the Army National Guard, was at Fort Bliss getting ready to deploy to Iraq. But he won a leave of several days before shipping out.

So the Biden clan came together in Las Vegas for a farewell gathering including Beau Biden's wife and two children, his father, mother and other relatives,

"I've been to Las Vegas a lot, but that's my last, best memory of Las Vegas," Biden said in an interview, recalling it was the first time he had seen his father since his election night victory.

The Obama campaign sent Biden to Las Vegas to attend the Democratic Party convention in the state's biggest county to help energize the faithful to turn out for Obama again in 2008. He won Nevada four years ago with 55 percent of the vote, but the race is expected to be closer this November.

His likely GOP presidential opponent, Mitt Romney, has a loyal following in the state, having won both the Republican caucus in 2008 and in 2012 with about 50 percent of the vote.

Biden said he is certain Obama will win re-election because the president has fought hard to revive the economy, which was sinking into a recession when he took office in 2009.

As well, Biden said the president and the attorneys general have done a lot for homeowners caught in the foreclosure crisis. Biden and Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto helped negotiate a recent $25 billion settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers to help homeowners.

The banks agreed to pay a $1.5 billion to people who lost their homes through foreclosures from 2008 through 2011 that included botched paperwork or other problems. The banks also must provide more than $20 billion to certain homeowners to reduce the principal owed on their mortgages and to refinance mortgages of homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth.

"This is a president who's trying to get real relief for the citizens of this state and my state," Biden said. "That's real money. People no longer have to worry about hanging on by their fingernails."

Biden noted Romney once said while visiting Las Vegas that the housing market has to "hit bottom" before it can recover, a harsh notion, although some economists have also suggested it.

"He comes to it from a different philosophical point of view," Biden said.

On Friday, Biden was speaking to the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, before attending a political fundraiser in the evening.

Biden is scheduled to deliver the keynote address today at the Clark County Democratic Party convention at the Riviera on the Strip. It runs from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.

Other speakers slated to address the convention include Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, including U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera. Titus, Horsford and Oceguera are running for three separate congressional seats in Southern Nevada.

Berkley is running for the Senate against U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. Their race is expected to be one of the closest in the country and could decide whether Democrats maintain control of the Senate.

Democrats attending the convention will elect delegates to the state convention June 9 in Las Vegas. Eventually, the party will elect 44 delegates to the national convention, to be held in early September in Charlotte, N.C., where Obama will formally accept the Democratic nomination.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.

 

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