LOS ANGELES – Following a resurgent performance on Super Tuesday, Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday he looks forward to continuing the campaign, but he warned against the race devolving into negativity.
“What we can’t let happen in the next few weeks is let this primary turn into a campaign of negative attacks,” Biden said while surrounded by supporters in downtown Los Angeles. “The only thing that can do is help Donald Trump, and it doesn’t do anything to help anyone in the campaign.
“… We have to keep our eye on the ball, and the eye on the ball is to (reclaim) the soul of this country,” he said.
Biden’s success in Tuesday’s primaries, in which he claimed victories in 10 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — essentially set up a two-man race for the rest of the primary, against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Speaking in Vermont Wednesday, Sanders also tried to strike a positive tone for the remaining campaign.
“As we come into the last several months of this campaign, what I hope very much is that we can focus on is an issue-oriented campaign which deals with the concerns of the American people,” he said.
“Joe Biden is somebody I have known for many years. I like Joe. I think he’s a very decent human being. Joe and I have a very different voting record. Joe and I have a very different vision for the future of this country. And Joe and I are running very different campaigns.
“My hope is that in the coming months we will be able to debate and discuss the very significant differences that we have,” he said.
Sanders topped the presidential field in California’s Tuesday primary, although vote-counting is expected to continue for weeks, leaving the exact distribution of the state’s delegates up in the air. Sanders also won in Colorado, Utah and Vermont.
Biden continued his campaign efforts Wednesday night by speaking for about 20 minutes at a fundraiser at the Bel Air home of former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing. Tickets for the event range from $1,000 to $2,800, the contribution limit to a candidate in a presidential primary.
During his appearance, Biden hailed the resurgence of his campaign, which was once deemed by some pundits to be on life support following lackluster showings in early primaries and debates. But Biden said he is presenting a platform that resonates with voters.
“This idea that we didn’t have a movement, look at the results,” he said. “Look at who’s showing up. We are bringing out — this campaign, the people behind me — we are bringing out people who had not participated. And it’s way up. Way up. It proves to me that the positive, progressive vision we have been (sharing with) the nation is resonating, resonating all over the country.”
Biden touched on his campaign cornerstones — affordable health care, quality education, gun control, protecting Social Security, addressing climate change — and also touched on what he called the achievements during his time with Barack Obama in the White House.
“I was proud to serve as President Obama’s vice president for eight years, and what we were able to accomplish, from (creating) Obamacare to the work we did to help rescue the auto industry and the nation’s economy,” he said.
“Everybody kind of forgets … where we were. And we were just getting ready, we had just gotten the economy up and running again in a big way and we were about to rebuild the middle class in a way that we should be building. … Everything was just beginning, but we know we have so much more to do. We have to put in a bigger, broader vision for this nation and make it happen, but first we have to defeat Donald Trump.”
At the fundraiser, Biden spoke about raising Social Security benefits for those over 85 and again looked back fondly to accomplishments during the Obama administration, including Obamacare, the auto industry bailout and the Paris climate accord.
The crowd of about 350 included Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Gov. Gray Davis, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who was accompanied by his mother.