SACRAMENTO, CA - Calling the election a debate "about the future of the middle-class," Vice President Joe Biden spent about an hour in Sacramento Tuesday afternoon at a private fundraiser for his reelection effort.
"It's a simple proposition," said Biden to a crowd of about 130, according to a pool report of the event. "Are we going to restore the American middle class?"
The event was closed to the press in general, and also to the public. It was at least the eighth fund raising trip for the presidential Obama-Biden campaign to California in just the last six months.
Federal campaign records show that all presidential candidates have, combined, raised some $43 million in California for the 2012 contest. The vast majority of that money has been raised by the Obama campaign, with the campaign of Mitt Romney coming in a distant second at about $10 million. New reports are due to be released Wednesday.
Campaign finance watchers say California's role in the presidential contest continues to only be about money.
"They are not thinking about California's needs when it comes to the fall campaign," said Derek Cressman, regional western director for Common Cause. "They are thinking about the soundbite that plays in Ohio and Florida."
Cressman said the only way that California will have a real voice in a presidential election is if enough states agree to a new system of allocating electoral college votes. California is one of several states that has adopted a law saying it will give all its 55 electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote. But that will only happen if enough states ratify the so-called 'electoral compact.
Before today's event, the Obama campaign had raised some $600,000 in the Sacramento region for its reelection effort, according to federal campaign records. The vast majority of that amount has come from zip codes in Sacramento ($275,796) and Davis ($101,000).
But thousands of dollars have also been raised in communities from the foothills down through the Central Valley -- even in communities where Republicans outnumber Democrats.
Vice President Biden told the crowd that GOP efforts to defeat the Democratic ticket would raise record amounts this year.
"You are enabling us to do the only thing that will allow us to counter $800 million spent on carpet-bombing of the president of the United States," he told the crowd.