Joe Biden stumps, slips, for Denny Heck in 3rd District fundraiser

The race for the 3rd Congressional District got some high-profile attention Friday when Vice President Joe Biden spoke for about 30 minutes at a fundraiser for Democratic candidate Denny Heck.

Biden came loaded with a quiver full of zingers for the GOP in general and Republican 3rd District candidate Jaime Herrera in particular, according to a White House press pool account filed by Jordan Schrader of the Tacoma News Tribune.

And one arrow, inadvertently, for his foot.

With Republicans like Herrera criticizing the Obama administration for record deficits, Biden told a group at an intimate fundraiser at the Westin Seattle Hotel that the problem was inherited from the Bush administration. Turning the responsibility for lowering the debt over to Republicans at this point would be “like making the arsonist the fire commissioner,” Biden said. “I mean, these guys are absolutely incompetent about it.”

Also, Biden said, Herrera has called for allowing individuals to pool together for health insurance coverage, but he said the health care bill passed by Congress will do just that.

“She’s for it all, but she wants a full repeal,” he said. “She’s not very informed, from what I understand.”

But then came the self-inflicted wound.

“I think the people of Seattle and this area are a lot smarter than the pundits give them credit for,” he said. “I think they’re going to vote their interest, and you are their interest, Denny.”

Um, wait. What? The 3rd Congressional District doesn’t actually include Seattle, Joe — it stretches from Olympia to Vancouver.

Now, maybe the Veep can’t be blamed for a little geographic disorientation. After all, he has been crisscrossing the country stumping for candidates in local, state and national races, joining 95 candidates at 110 events.

Still, it’s little wonder that Herrera’s campaign couldn’t resist the urge to pounce.

“Can someone get the Vice President a map?” Herrera’s staff crowed in a press release Saturday. “Of course, with Heck’s record of supporting huge tax and spending increases, maybe he’s the right guy for Seattle after all. But he’s all wrong for Southwest Washington.”

—Mark Bowder

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