Joe Biden to Progressives: "Get in Gear"

During an appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night, Vice President Joe Biden urged progressives to "get in gear" and fight back against conservative tactics, warning that a Republican House takeover could put Democratic legislative victories at risk, and that it would be "a big mistake" not to take conservative candidates like Delaware's Christine O'Donnell seriously.

"There's a great deal at stake," Biden said, during the interview. "I've been around the Senate a long time. We fought to regulate tobacco. We fought for hate crime laws. We fought to make sure that kids get insured. We fought for all the things that we finally got done in one year - and they're all at risk."

"You should not stay home," Biden urged his liberal supporters. "You better get energized. Because the consequences are serious for the outcome of the things we care most about."

The vice president also emphasized the risk to Democrats in underestimating Republican interest in supporting candidates like O'Donnell, whose unexpected victory on Tuesday's Republican Senate primary initially prompted mixed reactionsamong GOP party leadership.

"I think that in my state, this new Republican candidate's gonna have an awful lot of money. I think you're gonna see it pouring in. And these third party operations that are gonna probably spend more money than both parties in some states are gonna be in there," Biden warned. "I think we're gonna take it very, very seriously. It's a big mistake not to take it seriously."

Biden condemned what he deemed the Republican "playbook" - which he characterized as a strategy of, "when you can't compete in ideas... try to delegitimize the other guy" - and chided Newt Gingrich for selling "garbage" to the American people in recent comments accusing Mr. Obama of "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior." 

"They did the same thing with Bill Clinton," Biden warned. "And it's not gonna work this time. But it will work if we're silent... And I know I sometimes get criticized for going out and punching back. Well, let me tell you something. I learned a long time ago, you cannot underestimate these guys. You cannot sit back and just take the punch."

Biden also emphasized his support for the administration's plan to end upper-class tax cuts, calling the matter a "black and white issue."

"The people whose average income is $8.3 million a year, and they're gonna get a $350,000 tax break - what are they gonna do with that? That they couldn't do already? But yet, somebody, a family of four, making $100,000, they have two kids in school. They get a $4,100 tax break. It matters to them. It matters. I want this fight," Biden said. "I'm ready for this fight."

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Interactive Map: CBS News Election 2010 Race Ratings