Biden: Republican Party is leaderless

Vice President Joe Biden attacked the GOP as a leaderless party on Saturday afternoon at the third-annual House Democratic Issues Conference in New York City.

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“There is no leadership,” Biden told a roomful of donors, prospective candidates and fellow elected Democratic leaders at the St. Regis Hotel at the finale of the three-day conference hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC.)

“There is nobody you can sit across the table from and shake hands, make a deal with," Biden said, noting five occasions in which House leaders reneged on agreements hours after shaking hands, calling him to say "what we agreed to Joe, we can’t do.”

“The reason this is so dysfunctional now – with whom do you make a deal? With whom do you speak to get something done? The problem is we have the tail wagging the dog in the Republican Party," Biden contended.

The outspoken vice president broached other issues of the day with the engaged audience - which included House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) - including the state of the Republican Party, the Affordable Heath Care Act, gun control, immigration reform and the economy.

On gun control, Biden noted a recent event held with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), telling the group that the mayor has done "an incredible job."

Biden was realistic about the legislative blocks that face a major gun safety measure.

“I have no doubt about how tough it is to get anything done on this issue,” he said. “This is gonna be one hell of a fight."

“The number-one thing we can do to improve gun safety is to get some of this common-sense stuff done,” like universal background checks, he said.

He called assault weapons “weapons of war,” noting that the Newtown shooter had clips that carried 30 rounds at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Why the hell we can’t show the courage by standing up and doing what the American people want us to do?” he asked, prompting a round of applause.

He referenced a couple of potential 2016 GOP candidates in passing, suggested that they were extreme, although he called Rand Paul “a fine man, he’s a decent man.”

Biden also mentioned the past week's House and Senate passage of budget resolutions, noting that the House of Representatives approved the GOP's 10-year balanced budget resolution offered by his one-time vice presidential rival, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee.

“The Ryan budget is absolutely -- the Ryan budget," Biden said.

The lunchtime speech kicked off with a warm introduction DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who noted that Biden had been actively recruiting Democratic candidates for 2014.

Israel introduced Biden with an unexpected anecdote - that the vice president insisted on calling the New York lawmaker's father, who's diagnosed with cancer, "a die hard Democrat in Arizona." Israel learned from his mother that Biden made a follow up call several weeks later.

“The vice president didn’t tell me he was going to do that," Israel revealed before turning the stage over to Biden.

Biden implored the roomful of activists to work hard to elect 17 new House Democrats, which would return the House to Democratic control.

Without Democrats taking back to House, he said it will be a “long four years” in which “we’ll get some good things done,” but the country wouldn’t realize its full potential.

“Please, please, whatever you were going to do – do twice what you were going to do,” he asked them.

Biden spent half an hour chatting up the Democrats in the room, accompanied by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

Over the past few days, immigration reform, gun violence, job creation and economic growth were fodder for discussion at various panels, according to a DCCC spokesperson.