The Morning Line: Biden’s Midwest Swing

BY David Chalian  August 23, 2010 at 7:39 AM EST

The Morning Lne

With President Obama vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard this week, Vice President Joe Biden will hit the road on behalf of the administration with three Midwest stops on Monday, beginning with an 11 a.m. EDT speech in Indianapolis to the Veterans of Foreign Wars 111th National Convention.

According to the White House, the vice president’s remarks will address “the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq” as the American combat mission there nears its end on August 31.

Later in the afternoon the vice president will visit a Chrysler assembly complex in Toledo, Ohio, which includes the main plant where the 2011 Jeep Wrangler is being built, as well as three of the plant’s suppliers.

Vice President Biden “will emphasize the role of the Administration’s investments in GM and Chrysler, as well as their suppliers, in helping these companies return to profitability, retain and hire workers, and keep plants open,” according to the White House.

As the Detroit News notes, parts suppliers employ nearly twice as many people as the automakers.

The vice president’s visit comes just weeks after President Obama toured GM and Chrysler facilities in Detroit and a Ford plant in Chicago.

Vice President Biden will finish up the day by attending a 4:30 p.m. EDT fundraiser for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who is running for re-election against former Republican Congressman John Kasich. The vice president’s appearance comes after President Obama helped raise money for Strickland at an event in Columbus last Wednesday, making clear how important it is to the administration to keep the state’s governorship in Democratic hands heading into 2012. After all, Ohio has gone with the winner in every presidential election since 1964 — the longest running streak in the country.

PRIMARY PREVIEW

Four states hold primaries Tuesday, with the races in Florida and Arizona gaining the most national attention.

As the Washington Post’s Dan Balz reports, “The contests offer more evidence that establishment candidates can prosper in this year of the outsider.”

One of the races Balz looks at is Sen. John McCain’s GOP primary fight against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in Arizona, where the incumbent was thought to be in trouble months ago but now enjoys double-digit leads in the polls.

Balz also takes note of two Florida races — the Democratic contest for the Senate, where Rep. Kendrick Meek appears to be pulling away from real estate investor Jeff Greene, and the Republican gubernatorial matchup, where state Attorney General Bill McCollum is locked in a tight battle with another wealthy businessman, Rick Scott.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows Meek with a 39 to 29 lead over Greene, while McCollum holds a narrower 39 to 35 advantage over Scott.

POLITICO’s David Catanese, meanwhile, offers some perspective on how McCain’s re-election campaign might affect his legacy, noting the Arizonan has embraced positions “that could make for a complicated final chapter in his political biography.”

Alaska is also holding primaries Tuesday. William Yardley of the New York Times reports on the state’s GOP Senate primary between incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller, who has been endorsed by former Gov. Sarah Palin.

Vermont also has primaries Tuesday, while there are runoff elections in Oklahoma.

PARTY MONEY

Unpleasant news in Washington usually finds a way to come out late on Fridays, and last Friday was no exception.

This time around it was the Republican National Committee quietly filing its July fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission, trying to avoid headlines over its disappointing total of $5.5 million received last month.

The RNC began last month with $10.8 million on hand in July, but after spending $11.1 million, ended the month with $5.3 million cash on hand and $2.2 million in debts.

The DNC, meanwhile, raised $11.6 million in July and heads into the fall with nearly $11 million cash on hand and $3.5 million in debts.

Other GOP groups fared better against their Democratic counterparts. The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $8.5 million in July compared to $6.2 million by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But, the DCCC has nearly $36 million in the bank, far exceeding the NRCC’s $22 million.

On the Senate side, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $4.4 million in July and ended with $22.4 million cash on hand. The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised nearly $4.2 million and had $21.2 million in the bank.