Vice President Joe Biden today kept up his drumbeat against the US Chamber of Commerce and outside interest groups that he said are raising millions of dollars for negative campaign ads without disclosing the donors and funding sources.
"Just tell us where the money's coming from," he told ABC News' Nightline anchor Terry Moran in an exclusive interview after a campaign event in Des Moines. "Why can't the Chamber say, 'These are where the contributions are coming from?' Why can't Karl Rove tell us where the contributions are coming from? Because that's where the base in which people make judgments."
President Obama, Biden and top White House officials have in recent days made the Chamber and Rove, a former top strategist for former President George W. Bush, prime targets in campaign appearances by administration officials.
While the president seems to have backed off his charges against these outside groups, Biden continued with his calls for disclosure and said it was not a desperate argument.
"If you have folks contributing who say they want to maintain the tax credits and ship jobs overseas, well, then, you know, when you got a guy out there saying, 'No, no, I want to build jobs in America,' and he's being supported by the guy who says, 'No, I want to … keep the tax breaks overseas,' it gives new insight," the vice president said. "It's just disclosure. Just tell us where. Show me. Show me."
Biden said there is no evidence that these outside groups have broken any laws, but said that's precisely the issue. "They can give money without disclosing."
"I mean, there's nothing really complicated about this. You know that movie "Jerry Maguire," where the guy says 'Show me the money'? Show me the contributors," he said. "What's wrong? Why are you unwilling to tell the American people who is contributing the money? I'm a little suspect."
Asked if this is really what Americans want to hear, as they struggle economy and high unemployment, Biden said that the charges against the Chamber and the outside groups are just one small piece of his overall message on the campaign trail.
In a wide-ranging interview, Biden reiterated that Democrats will keep control of Congress, dismissed suggestions that a joint appearance with President Obama in his home state of Delaware means the Democratic candidate there is in trouble, and weighed in on the impact of the Tea Party movement on the Republican Party. Biden laughed off the latest Beltway chatter about him switching jobs with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and said it was "not in the cards."
"I have breakfast with Hillary almost every Tuesday mornin' when we're both in the country, and I assure you, she's not interested in switchin', nor am I," he said. "Nor is the president."
Biden has been aggressive on the campaign trail in recent months, holding over 100 events for congressional and gubernatorial candidates and delivering some tough love to the Democratic Party.
Last month he told Democrats they needed to "get in gear, man," and take serious the challenge from the Tea Party.
He also urged Democrats to "remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives." (
Today he seemed to walk back some of this recent chastising, saying it was not helpful in revving up Democratic voters and it was a "mistake" to go after the base.