Vice President Joe Biden told donors and activists that Democrats didn't speak loudly enough to push the party's message.
Jim Watson/AFP/getty Images
Vice President Joe Biden told donors and activists that Democrats didn't speak loudly enough to push the party's message.

Story highlights

Vice President Joe Biden addressed major donors and activists, attendee tells CNN

He stressed the importance of addressing rising income inequality

His remarks were well-received, but he didn't speak about his own 2016 intentions

"No one responded" when he said Americans still prefer Democrats, attendee says

(CNN) —  

Vice President Joe Biden emphasized the issue of income inequality to a gathering of major donors and activists Friday night, telling them Democrats will work to address it to help working people, an attendee at the event told CNN.

The remarks came during a reception for a coalition of liberal organizations called Democracy Alliance.

Biden told the gathering that income in the United States is the most unequal it has been since the 1920s, according to an attendee, who spoke to CNN on the condition he not be identified since it was a private event. Income inequality appeared to be a priority for this audience, and has been a key focus for such leaders as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who received a warm welcome when she spoke to the group Thursday.

The vice president said key Democratic policies and philosophies resonate among Americans. The party had a good message ahead of the most recent election, which ended with Democrats losing seats in the House and losing control of the Senate, but its leaders didn’t speak loudly enough to push it, Biden said, according to the source.

Not all of the vice president’s remarks went over well, including his telling the group that Americans still prefer Democrats despite the electoral drubbing.

“No one responded,” said the source.

Much of Biden’s talk Friday was personal in nature. He got emotional, according to the participant, when he recounted how his father could not get a loan for him to attend an Ivy League university – and he said people in such situations need the country’s help.

Biden talked about how his children have followed him into public service, despite it not being not the most lucrative profession. He joked he almost wishes he had a Republican kid so that “his retirement would include a window with a view,” the attendee quoted him saying.

He also got some laughs and applause recounting how he told then-Sen. Barack Obama – when he accepted his offer to be his running mate in 2008 – that he would not change his brand, a seeming reference to his reputation for outspokenness and occasional verbal missteps. The former Delaware senator said he speaks his mind and will continue to do so.

Biden did not talk about whether he’d run for president, something that he has been openly considering. Nor did he mention the hot-button issue of immigration reform, even as the Obama administration prepares executive action to prevent the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants.