Biden plays nice picking sides in FL senate race

Posted at 8:20 AM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 08:20:32-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden might be taking sides in Florida's Democratic Senate primary, but unlike Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, he's not getting nasty about it.

Biden campaigned with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy at a downtown Orlando soul food restaurant Thursday, the day after Reid quarreled with Murphy's opponent, Congressman Alan Grayson. Reid has asked Grayson to drop out of the race, saying he has no moral compass, is disgraceful and that he has a low opinion of him.

Biden, who is endorsing Murphy along with President Barack Obama, took a nice-guy approach to his decision.

"Alan's a fine guy," Biden told reporters while standing next to Murphy. "It wasn't about Alan; it was about the caliber of this guy. This is the real deal."

The visit was in Grayson's home media market, where Murphy isn't well known.

Biden said Murphy would be able to work better with Republicans, saying communication and compromise are keys to getting things done in the Senate.

"How can we do this by making the opposition the enemy?" Biden said. "The public is fed up. They're absolutely fed up with the way the system works."

Murphy told reporters that one of the first things he did after being elected in 2012 was set up a bipartisan group of freshmen congressmen.

"You've got to get to know each other, as the vice president said, and build some common ground and break down those walls that shouldn't exist in the first place," Murphy said.

Murphy and Grayson are seeking the seat Republican Marco Rubio decided to give up in his unsuccessful pursuit of the presidency. Republican Senate candidates include U.S. Reps. Ron Desantis and David Jolly, businessmen Todd Wilcox and Carlos Beruff, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Grayson has harshly criticized his own party establishment during his campaign. He's also repeatedly pointed out that Murphy is a former Republican who has often sided with the GOP with his House votes.

"Running Republicans as Democrats in Florida just doesn't work. We know that already," Grayson said in an emailed statement provided by his campaign.