Biden praises Sen. Landrieu during N.O. visit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday praised Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu as a "relentless advocate for the people of Louisiana, no matter who was in the White House."

Biden made the remarks during an appearance at a New Orleans fundraiser for the three-term Louisiana Democrat, who faces re-election in 2014.

He said his former Senate colleague "always puts Louisiana first...She will not stop until Louisiana's interests are served."

The vice president said she was instrumental in passing a federal law requiring that most of the money paid by BP in reparations for the 2010 Gulf oil spill go to the affected Gulf states. Before that, Landrieu won federal funds for the state after Hurricane Katrina, Biden said.

"She not only got the money for rebuilding New Orleans," Biden said. "She got the money for building it better."

Biden stressed that Landrieu is "not an absolutist, not an ideologue."

"She's consistently ranked as one of the most bipartisan members," Biden said.

The Landrieu campaign estimated that 450 people attended the event at the New Orleans Ritz-Carlton, paying anywhere from $250 to $2500 each to attend.

The senator was introduced by her brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Biden also recognized her parents, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu and his wife Verna, as well as other members of one of Louisiana's best-known political families.

Sen. Landrieu was first elected in 1996, but Democrats have struggled in statewide elections in Louisiana and other Deep South states in recent years, particularly under President Barack Obama. Although some observers believe Landrieu could face a tough re-election fight, Biden said he is confident she'll prevail again.

"I am confident that Mary and I are going to continue this journey through 2014 because you are going to re-elect Mary," he said to cheers.

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