Biden touts Shaheen at NH shipyard

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenSenators approve shift in funding to ease airport wait times Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Pentagon looks to reduce billion energy bill MORE (D-N.H.) got a hearty endorsement from Vice President Biden in New Hampshire on Wednesday for her reelection fight. 

At a Navy shipyard in Portsmouth, N.H., Biden touted Shaheen's commitment to keeping the shipyard open in the face of defense cuts and the risk of base closures. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"Every time there have been attempts to close you down, you have people like Jeanne standing up here...making sure no one thinks about closing this place," Biden told shipyard workers. 

He also credited Republican Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteStoddard: Can Trump close the deal with the GOP? Trump plans visit to Capitol Hill Ayotte alarmed by sped-up Gitmo reviews MORE (N.H.), and Maine Senators Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSenate Dems accuse GOP of slow-walking Obama nominees Stoddard: Can Trump close the deal with the GOP? The Trail 2016: And then there was one MORE (R) and Angus KingAngus KingCapitol Hill’s forest champions helped secure win for wood The Hill's 12:30 Report Merkley becomes first senator to back Sanders in White House bid MORE (I) for fighting to keep the shipyard open. 

"You keep America safe," he added. 

The vice president also touted the importance of high-skilled manufacturing jobs, such as those at the shipyard, whose primary mission is to overhaul, repair and modernize Los Angeles-class submarines. 

He said such manufacturing jobs were coming back home from places like China. 

"American jobs are coming back. They're coming back home," Biden said. "Investment is pouring in. We have to seize the moment to restore the basic bargain that was never lost at the shipyard." 

"Thank you for what you've done. Thank you for what you continue to do to maintain our military supremacy. Thanks for keeping the middle-class dream alive." 

Shaheen will likely face former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, himself a retired Army National Guard colonel. 

In a statement Wednesday, Shaheen said she "will continue to use my position as chair of the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee to block the administration's base closure recommendations because I know that's what's best for our national security, our shipyard workers and our economy." 

The Republican National Committee slammed Biden's visit, saying "by only inviting national Democrats to today's event, the Vice President has injected politics where national security and economic issues should have instead been the focus." 

A Biden aide later said that all members of both New Hampshire and Maine delegations were invited to the event last week.

Other Senate Democrats facing tough reelection battles this Nov. 4 are also touting their protection of military bases from closure. 

The Defense Department is facing defense cuts of $500 billion over the next 10 years under sequestration, and the Pentagon has recommended a new round of base closures in order to meet those cuts. 

Sen. Mark UdallMark UdallEnergy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Two vulnerable senators lack challengers for 2016 MORE (D-Colo.), also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who is facing a fight from Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerInvestments in research and development are investments in American jobs EPA won’t pay Colorado county for some mine spill costs The Trail 2016: Trump applies presidential polish, Cruz adds VP MORE (R-Colo.), on Thursday wrote a letter to Army leaders asking them to spare Army base Fort Carson from closure. 

"For over 70 years, Fort Carson has provided the men and women of our Army with outstanding training opportunities and an unparalleled quality of life thanks to its ideal location and the abiding support of millions of Coloradans," Udall wrote. 

Last month, Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (D-La.), another vulnerable Democrat facing a tough contest, sent a letter with Sen. David VitterDavid VitterSenators aim to bolster active shooter training 5 takeaways from Mike Lee’s leadership bid Republicans demand shift in Obama’s ISIS strategy MORE (R-La.), to the Secretary of the Army John McHugh to save Fort Polk from any closures. 

Fort Polk has more than 9,500 troops stationed there and is the second-largest employer after the state of Louisiana, a statement from Landrieu's office said. 

“We believe further steps to downsize the Army, in the midst of the current downsizing, is ill-timed and dangerous," the Aug. 20 letter said.  

Biden's visit to the first presidential primary state on Wednesday also fueled speculation about a possible 2016 run. 

"It’s clear the Vice President is more interested in buoying his presidential ambitions and the reelection prospects of vulnerable Democrats which are all being dragged down by their lockstep support for President Obama and his unpopular agenda," said RNC spokesman Michael Short.

More in Energy & Environment

Energy issues roil race for Senate

Read more »