Working the Middle: Vice Prez Joe Biden Touts Clean Energy, Barbecue in Denver

May 2009

It wasn't so much Vice President Joe Biden's announcements of funding for projects meant to stimulate the economy and make the nation more green as it was his trip to M&D's Cafe in Five Points that captured the attention of the press yesterday. Biden posed for photos and gladhanded patrons as cafe owner Mack Shead kept the barbecued catfish, fried green tomatoes, corn bread, and lemonade coming, reports The Chicago Tribune. Biden had come to Denver's Museum of Nature & Science, flanked by members of the Cabinet, to announce plans to spend $500 million to train residents of "public housing projects to weatherize homes and launch other new-energy careers," writes The Denver Post. Along with incentives for the struggling auto industry, the effort aims to bolster the middle class. "We're the catalyst for a fundamental change," Biden says. "We're giving people jobs in a tough economy." Republicans, including state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, argue that the "feel-good" programs could cost jobs via tax policies and regulations of traditional energy sources, like oil. Biden felt right at home, according to this transcript (via The Los Angeles Times), shouting out to former Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart, "Hey, Gare."