Vice-President stops in Cincinnati for fundraiser & healthcare - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Vice-President stops in Cincinnati for fundraiser & healthcare

Joe Biden Joe Biden

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Vice-Pesident Joe Biden arrived in the Tri-State Monday afternoon for a quick stop. He was here for a closed fundraiser at the Westin Hotel in downtown Cincinnati for Congressman Steve Driehaus. The public wasn't invited. Only one print reporter was allowed inside the event.

And as the Vice-President rolled into town Monday, so did questions about the White House's motive for sending him. Critics claimed the visit was tied to a "yes" vote later this month on the healthcare bill. Rep. Driehaus adamantly told FOX19 that was not the case.

"This was prepared a month or two ago," said Driehaus. "We requested the Vice-President come in for a fundraiser, he graciously accepted that. That's what this is about."

For many people in Driehaus' district, it's all about the chance that federal funds could be used to pay for abortions. Outside the Westin Hotel on Fountain Square, about 20 demonstrators waved signs and chanted. Most were pro-life supports; a few were pro-choice supporters.

Driehaus, a pro-life Democrat, said any bill that does not include language banning the use of federal dollars for abortions would be a deal-breaker.

"I can't support a healthcare measure that has federal funding for abortion," Driehaus said.

But his Republican rival Steve Chabot argued Driehaus is merely drumming up support. Driehaus supported the House's healthcare bill back in November.

"I think it's just clear. This is the Vice-President of the United States coming here, and it's a political pay-off for Mr. Driehaus."

According to a poll of 300 Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, 55-percent of Driehaus' constituents would be less likely to vote for him, if the bill allows tax dollars to pay for abortions.

"I'm clearly pro-life," Chabot said. "Mr. Driehaus claims to be pro-life, but he has a 50-percent score with National Right to Life. He voted to give tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. He voted to pay for abortions overseas. To me, that's just not acceptable if you consider yourself pro-life."

While the House's bill includes a provision banning the use of any federal funds for abortion, the Senate's current version does not.

"We do need to reform healthcare in this country, but this bill is not the way to do it," Chabot said.

And Chabot's not alone in his beliefs. Driehaus' position places him right in the line of fire from both parties on both sides of the issue; setting the stage for a political match in the Tri-State that'll play out on a national screen.

After the speech, the Vice-President's motorcade left downtown headed for the airport and a flight to Cleveland. Biden is expected to appear at a fundraiser there for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.


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