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Biden, Hagan avoid Obamacare woes at N.C. fundraiser

- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2013

At a fundraiser in North Carolina Friday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden and home-state Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan avoided any mention of the subject of Obamacare that is threatening her reelection.

Mr. Biden attended the reception for Mrs. Hagan at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the top tickets cost $10,000. And although the vice president spoke at length to the crowd about the need to reelect Mrs. Hagan, he never mentioned the president's troubled health care law.

"The only way to break through this gridlock is with people who can earn the trust of people on the other team, that's why she's so valuable," Mr. Biden said of the first-term senator.

Amid Democrats' increasing concern that Obamacare will hurt their reelection chances, Mrs. Hagan this week called for a government investigation of the problems with the program's launch. A Democratic polling firm released a survey Tuesday showing that 69 percent of North Carolinians think the program's rollout has been unsuccessful.

There are numerous reports in North Carolina of businesses cutting workers' hours in preparation for the law's requirement that companies must provide coverage to employees who work more than 30 hours per week. About 160,000 state residents have received cancellation notices from their insurers, and relatively few people have enrolled in the federally-run health care exchange for the state.

Mr. Biden did refer obliquely to Republicans in control of state government and their resistance to expanding Medicaid rolls under Obamacare.

"You lead and you lead the South and Middle Atlantic states and then you go through a period of what you have in Raleigh right now," Mr. Biden said. "But you always come back. You always come back better."

The vice president also expressed hope that the tea party is losing influence, as demonstrated by the result in a GOP House primary in Alabama earlier this month in which establishment-backed Bradley Byrne defeated conservative Dean Young.

"Your father's Republican Party is trying to come back," Mr. Biden said. "The business community ... came along and said, 'Enough is enough.' You are going to see the Republican Party wrestle back eventually to a mainstream conservative position and that's good. We need a strong Republican Party."

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