By Justin Sink
Vice President Biden touted his liberal credentials and told protesters he agreed that the government should stop deporting some illegal immigrants during an appearance Thursday at the Netroots Nation convention.
“I don’t take a backseat to anyone when it comes to fighting some of the toughest progressive battles the country has seen," said Biden, who is openly weighing a bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
"When I'm asked a direct question, I give a direct answer," Biden said, adding there was "no way on God's green Earth" he could have remained silent on the issue.
"It would have made a lie of who I am," Biden said.
The vice president threw out plenty of additional red meat to his progressive base, declaring climate change as a fact and calling for workplace protections ensuring that women would be paid equally and employees could not be fired based on sexual orientation.
At one point during his remarks, Biden was interrupted by a group of immigration protesters chanting at the vice president, "Stop deporting our families!"
"I respect your view, and I share your view," Biden said.
The vice president then joined the crowd that applauded as the protesters were ushered out of the room.
"We should clap for those young people, because if you were a member of a family ... can you imagine the pain the anxiety of coming home every day wondering whether your mother or father would be there?" Biden said.
The White House is weighing whether Obama will take executive action to ease deportations after prospects for a comprehensive immigration bill collapsed earlier this year. In 2012, Obama announced a deferred action program that allows certain children who were brought to the country illegally to stay.
Biden also bragged to the activists about his record in Washington, saying he had led the fight for women's rights and stopped Robert Bork from being confirmed to the Supreme Court in the 1980s. He also joked that within the Obama administration, "when it comes to negotiating with the House and Senate," he was always the one who got the call.
But the vice president said that, despite endemic gridlock, he had tangible results to show for that effort.
"We've got a long way to go to make the tax code fair, but for the first time in 20 years, Republicans voted to raise taxes," Biden said.
Biden made no implicit mention of a 2016 bid but made reference to how "much unfinished business" he still hoped to address.
He did shower praise on one possible 2016 foe — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — who was also slated to appear at the conference.
"She's first rate," Biden said. "She's a solid person."