Vice President Joe Biden said Friday at a Dallas fundraiser that the Obama administration's political troubles are rooted in the failures of the Bush years.

We inherited a cynical republic, he told a room full of supporters at a Northwest Dallas home. And I can t blame them. Eight years of collapse, eight years of being misled about wars.

But he defended the administration s first 14 months and argued that the enactment of health-care legislation put a big stake in the heart of Republican opposition.

Republicans still believe cynicism will prevail, he said. That government can t do anything, that we re a bunch of socialists.

Biden raised funds for the Democratic National Committee, and, at a second event later at the home of plaintiffs attorney Russell Budd, for the party's Senate campaign committee.

Republicans were unimpressed, accusing Biden and the administration of ignoring the public's dismay with the health care legislation.

Perhaps Vice President Biden could take some time to listen to ordinary Americans and learn that tickets to his fundraisers aren t the only thing Texans cannot afford, the Republican National Committee said in a written statement.

Recounting the economic turmoil of 2009, Biden credited the Obama administration for economic progress, such as a recent quarter of economic growth and an unemployment rate that has bottomed out.

We have a long way to go to make up for the 8 million [lost jobs] from the Great Recession that began under Bush, he said. And he warned that it was unlikely those jobs would be back by November.

In general, the vice president was optimistic about the looming congressional elections if not quite rosy.

Telling a story about high-diving into a swimming hole as a child, he likened his experience underwater to the economically struggling electorate.

You go down really far, he said. So deep it s totally black. Your chest constricts, you panic and you don t know whether you re swimming down or up. But when you get about 12 to 14 feet from the top you see light and everything is OK.

That s the American people, man. We ve gotta give them light, Biden said as he pointed with both hands at a sun-lit skylight above the center of the room.

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