Biden stumps for Afghan war critic

Vice President Joe Biden is set to headline an afternoon event for the freshman lawmaker in Portland, Ore.

Democratic strategists believe that Schrader won’t have a tough reelection race, which may mean that Biden’s visit has more to do with the lawmaker’s position on funding the war in Afghanistan.

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Schrader last week voted against a key motion in the House version of legislation that provides funding for the war in Afghanistan. The motion ultimately passed, albeit by a close vote — 215 to 210. The House made some changes to the Senate version of the legislation, which means they may have to vote on the bill again if the upper chamber makes any revisions when they take up the legislation again. Another “no” vote by Schrader and other anti-war Democrats could complicate the bill’s passage.

In his first reelection bid, Schrader faces Republican Scott Bruun, who reported having only $108,810 on hand at the end of April. He has yet to file his second quarter report. Schrader reported having more than $700,000 at the end of March, although he also hasn’t filed his second quarter report, which is due by July 15.

Schrader’s spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about Biden’s visit.

The Oregon Democrat is emerging as an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan.

“It’s a waste of resources, a waste of America’s best and brightest,” he recently toldThe Oregonian newspaper. “I’m for fighting a war on terrorism, not a war in Southwest Asia that Alexander the Great couldn’t win, the British Empire couldn’t win, the Soviet Union couldn’t win. That’s stupid.

“We need to be bringing these men home.”

Biden has been one of the Obama administration’s point men for America’s Afghanistan strategy. After his event in Oregon, Biden heads to California to fundraise for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Meanwhile, Bruun released a statement calling the visit was a "quid pro quo" for Schrader towing the party line.

"By sending [Biden] to fundraise for Kurt Schrader, [Democrats] recognize that this seat and their fiscally irresponsible majority are slipping from their grasp," Bruun said. "Sending Biden to Oregon is nothing more than a quid pro quo thank you to Schrader for his party-line votes on the failed stimulus package, increased debt, irresponsible bailouts, higher taxes, cap-and-trade and the government takeover of healthcare."

Republican strategists said the GOP has a chance of picking up Schrader's Democratic-leaning district.

— Russell Berman contributed to this post.

-- Updated at 1:22 p.m.