KANSAS CITY (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden praised U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill as a "strong, strong ally" on Monday while helping raise tens of thousands of dollars for her re-election campaign and other Democratic efforts.
Biden headlined a private fundraiser at a Kansas City home, where he spoke passionately for more than a half-hour, praising McCaskill and criticizing Republicans. A former senator from Delaware, Biden described McCaskill as the "toughest, most principled person in the United States Senate."
"I'm a strong, strong ally of hers," Biden said. "She knows who she is and what she believes in, and she's willing to take risks to fight for what she believes in."
McCaskill's campaign declined to say how much money she raised. But the campaign said 160 people attended, with each contributing at least $500. That would put the minimum fundraising haul at $80,000, though contributors could have given significantly more. The money was being split among McCaskill's campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the federal campaign account of the Missouri Democratic Party.
Republicans also sought to capitalize on Biden's visit.
"Now that Claire McCaskill has chosen to stand with the current administration ... I think that does provide a very stark choice and a very stark contrast for us all to consider," said state House Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, who joined other Republican officials at a Kansas City news conference to highlight McCaskill's ties to President Barack Obama's administration.
Obama, then a senator from Illinois, headlined a rally for McCaskill in Kansas City in October 2006 during her initial Senate race. After Obama declared his candidacy for president, McCaskill - then a senator from Missouri - was one of his earliest supporters. She later voted for two of Obama's most prominent legislative accomplishments - the 2009 stimulus act and 2010 health care law - but also has occasionally split with his administration and has criticized spending earmarks embraced by many fellow Democratic senators.