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In Springfield, Nixon praises Carnahan and Biden channels Twain

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2010 - Vice President Joe Biden borrowed from Missouri favorite son Mark Twain as he told allies gathered Thursday night in Springfield, Mo. that "the reports of the death of the Democratic Party are greatly exaggerated."

Biden joined Gov. Jay Nixon in headlining a fundraiser for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan, who is seeking the soon-to-be-vacant seate now held by retiring Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.

According to the press pool report sent out late Thursday(written by former Beacon intern Roseann Moring, now a reporter for the Springfield News-Leader), Biden "blamed many of the country's problems on the George Bush administration and said the stimulus and other programs are working."

Biden's remarks appeared to be in line with what he said at the Democratic National Committee meeting held in St. Louis in August.

The big difference: This time, the vice president mentioned Carnahan by name.

He praised her as displaying "more grit and backbone in her little finger than most people have in their whole body. I can't imagine her bending to anything."

Carnahan told the crowd of her differences with her GOP rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, and how she's being pummeled by independent ads produced and paid for by opposition groups who are not disclosing their donors (such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce).

Meanwhile, Nixon -- who publicly has avoided knocking Republicans -- made an apparent exception Thursday night.

Nixon, who carried a number of generally GOP-leaning outstate counties in 2008, praised Carnahan's record as Missouri secretary of state and, according to Moring's report, said Blunt contributed to the economic troubles facing the nation and the state.

"We've got a lot of problems in this country. Now's not the time for this state and this country to mess around," Nixon was quoted as saying.

More from the pool report:

"Carnahan's campaign said the event sold out at 170 people, and it expected to bring in $100,000. Tickets started at $500 per couple for event, which was at the Tower Club in downtown Springfield.

"Diners ate chicken and beef, a house salad and cheesecake or chocolate cake. Biden spoke for about 45 minutes."

Carnahan's mother, former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan -- who was in the Senate with Biden -- was among the attendees.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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