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Biden: Dems Retaining Senate Would 'Break the Back' of Far Right

Image: Biden, Merkley
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Biden was in Portland campaigning for Merkley who is being challenged by Republican Monica Wehby.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)Don Ryan / AP

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Democrats retaining control of the Senate would “break the back of the hard right” and help end Congressional gridlock, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday while campaigning for Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

“If Bruce wins, and I believe he will, and I think you’re going to see us keep the United States Senate, as a matter of fact,” Biden told a crowd in Davenport, Iowa. “If that happens, and it will, what’s going to happen is it’s going to break the back of the hard right and you’re going to see reasonable people in the Republican party start to vote reasonably again.”

Days before the 2012 election, Biden predicted Congressional Republicans partisan "fever" would break if he and President Barack Obama were re-elected. But GOP opposition to the White House has largely remained constant, and in some ways increased, since 2012.

Braley is running a tough race against Republican Joni Ernst in the Hawkeye State. Both Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama have campaigned for Braley, but the president has stayed away from the state he won in both 2008 and 2012.

An Ernst victory would be an important step for Republicans' quest to pick up the six seats necessary to control the Senate.

“If we don’t stop the march of the tea party now, those majority republicans in the House and Senate who know better are never going to have the courage to stand up and vote the right way,” Biden added.

Ernst countered Biden’s appearance by campaigning with Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Monday. She holds a three-point lead over Braley, according to the latest NBC News/Marist poll.

"If Joe Biden remembers Congressman Braley's name, this will be the best surrogate he's had," said Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Iowa. Earlier this month, Michelle Obama flubbed Braley's name multiple times during a campaign event.

IN-DEPTH

-- Andrew Rafferty

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