Biden touts Shaheen at NH shipyard

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (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. 

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"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 Ayotte (N.H.), and Maine Senators Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (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 Udall (D-Colo.), also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who is facing a fight from Rep. Cory Gardner (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 Landrieu (D-La.), another vulnerable Democrat facing a tough contest, sent a letter with Sen. David Vitter (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.

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