Conservative firebrand Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzUnder pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support Paul: Pence should oversee Senate ObamaCare repeal votes Senators introduce new Iran sanctions MORE and Rand PaulRand PaulPaul: Pence should oversee Senate ObamaCare repeal votes Healthcare fight pits Trump against Club for Growth GOP rep: Trump could be 'one-term president' if healthcare bill passes MORE have outsize influence within the Republican Party, giving Democrats “no one whom to deal with,” Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: 'McCain is right: Need select committee' for Russia With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder Obama defends healthcare law on eve of repeal vote MORE said Friday night during a West Coast fundraising swing.
Biden called Cruz (R-Texas) and Paul (R-Ky.) “bright new guys,” but said they had views he had never before seen in Congress.
"They are the ones that control the Republican party right now, literally," he said. "I've never seen a time in all the years I was in the Senate that two freshmen have so much impact on the entirety of the Republican party."
Roughly 100 people attended the event at a private home in San Francisco’s upscale Seal Cliff neighborhood, paying between $500 and $10,000, according to a transcript of the vice president’s remarks released by the White House.
"This is not your father's Republican party, it's fundamentally different," Biden told the crowd. "There's no one with whom to deal with and there's no one in charge anymore." He expressed optimism that Democrats could hold onto the Senate next year and pick up the 17 seats needed to wrest control of the House away from Republicans, whose conservative views, he said, are out of touch with the country.
"America has moved on, well beyond where these guys are," Biden said about the GOP. "If we keep the Senate and change 17 votes in the House, it'll be fundamentally different."
During his remarks, Biden acknowledged that he "got ahead of everyone in the administration on gay marriage,” and described his first meeting with President Obama after endorsing gay marriage on a Sunday talk show.
"He walked in and had that big grin on his face and hugged me and said 'I agree,'" Biden recalled.
Roughly 50 protesters opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline demonstrated a few blocks away from the fundraiser.