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Vice President Joe Biden visited the state on Wednesday to rally Democrats in the 6th Congressional District, where political newcomer Seth Moulton is locked in a hotly contested race with Republican Richard Tisei.
Biden spoke to about 500 Moulton supporters at a YMCA in Lynn, one of several key cities in the North Shore district currently represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney. Moulton, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran, upset Tierney in the September primary.
The vice president praised Moulton for his military service, noting his unit was the first Marine company to enter Baghdad.
"This man understands not just what it means to protect your buddies but what it means to build and rebuild communities," Biden said.
Tisei, a former state senator who narrowly lost to Tierney two years ago, is seeking to become the first Massachusetts Republican to win a U.S. House seat in 20 years. In a statement before a tour of Danvers-based medical device maker Abiomed with Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker on Wednesday, Tisei said Biden's visit to the district shows Moulton is beholden to "power brokers in Washington and Wall Street, not the people of the Sixth District."
Biden acknowledged that he knew little about Tisei, but he exhorted voters not to add to what he said was an obstructionist Republican majority in the House.
"It's not that these guys in Congress are conservative, they're just anti-everything," the vice president said.
While introducing Biden, Moulton vowed to address the crisis in medical care for veterans.
"I won't mince words: Veterans' care in America is a national embarrassment," said Moulton, with Biden at his side. "Our veterans should receive the best care our country has to offer. Instead, they often receive some of the worst."
Moulton has previously questioned Tisei's commitment to veterans, citing his 2009 vote against a state budget that included funding for veterans.
Tisei reacted angrily to the charge, saying he voted against the entire $28 billion budget that year because it included an increase in taxes.
The Republican, who is gay and married, has cast himself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative. He has dismissed Moulton's suggestion that he would be an always dependable vote for Speaker John Boehner and the GOP leadership, pointing to frequent votes against Mitt Romney and other former Republican governors in Massachusetts.
Christopher Stockwell, an independent, is also on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Biden, during his stop in Massachusetts, also was scheduled to attend a private fundraiser in Boston for Democratic candidate for governor Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general.
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