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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Inside the Kosmas-Biden $1,000-per-person fundraiser



Vice President Joe Biden helped raise money today for Orlando-area U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson. Here's the press pool report from Kosmas' event:

The nation's second-in-command praised "moderate" U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas for her independence and courage to vote for the Recovery Act, which he said helped America come back from the precipice of a depression.

"She played a pivotal role," Biden said, "and the payoff was real." Later, he added, "We are no longer looking over the precipice."

Biden also touted Kosmas' efforts to secure funding for a veterans hospital complex in Orlando and in helping deal with layoffs around the NASA program at the heart of her Space Coast district.

"This is a one-person chamber of commerce," Biden said, at one point embracing the congresswoman. "She's not just fit in, she's stood out."

The event precedes another fundraiser for fellow Central Florida lawmaker Grayson, D-Orlando. The event for Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, was attended by 70 people, including Mears executive Roger Chapin, former Orange County Commissioner Fran Pignone, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

The $1,000-per-person affair was expected to raise at least $70,000, though some donors were expected to give more than the minimum.

Biden gave a wide-ranging defense of Kosmas and Democrats, pointing to major initiatives in health care, energy and education reforms under way. "We're trying to move the needle here, not just hold the status quo," Biden said.

The protesters outside the Marriott Hotel downtown only numbered in the two to three dozen range, with a few more conservatives on hand than the Obama-Biden supporters.

Biden stressed that Central Florida has become the "fulcrum" of political power not only in Florida, but also in presidential politics. "How goes Central Florida," Biden said, so goes the country.

"This woman produces," Biden said. "It's really important she be re-elected."

The menu for the Kosmas event was a cheese and vegetable tray and a chicken and pork tray.

David Damron, Orlando Sentinel


Republicans took a shot at both lawmakers in advance of the fundraisers. “It’s hard to tell which of these two Democrats is more desperate for this political bailout from the White House. Alan Grayson, who can’t seem to do anything without embarrassing the people he represents – or Suzanne Kosmas, who simply can’t seem to do – or even say – anything at all?” said Andy Sere, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:58pm]


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