The Washington Times - November 29, 2012, 09:02AM

Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal backed President Obama’s re-election bid, and on Thursday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden returned the favor.

Mr. Biden took a motorcade to attend the grand opening of the discount retailer’s first store in the District of Columbia, located on Market Street in the city’s Northeast quadrant. He was greeted by Mr. Sinegal and Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other D.C. officials also attended.

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In July, Mr. Sinegal came to the aid of Mr. Obama’s campaign as it was under attack from Republican candidate Mitt Romney for the president’s infamous “you didn’t build that” comment about small-business owners. Mr. Romney argued that the president’s remark proved he didn’t understand or appreciate the risks taken by entrepreneurs, and the Obama campaign released an email in which Mr. Sinegal defended the president.

“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Mr. Sinegal wrote at the time. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative — because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and we can’t do it alone.”

The vice president went on a shopping spree at the new store, filling his cart with items such as children’s books (for a charity, he said), fire logs, a 32-inch Panasonic television (selling for $290 on the company’s website) and a large apple pie. He also spent considerable time looking at watches, including one selling for $1,200, and called his daughter Ashley for “some guidance.”

Mr. Biden told reporters that he’s optimistic the president will reach a deal with Congress on tax hikes and deficit reduction.

“I think it’s important Congress acts now, I mean right now,” he said. “All it has to do is take a single vote to extend the middle class tax cut. All these folks in this store, man, it’s going to make a difference. Take $2,200 out of their pockets next year, you have a big problem.”