The No. 2 guy in Washington barnstormed into Charleston Thursday and left with a pile of cash for his boss.

Vice President Joe Biden spent three hours attending an exclusive, 10-person dinner of South Carolina Democratic supporters -- each of whom paid $35,800 per plate -- with the proceeds benefiting President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Those who attended the dinner, held in a second-story meeting room of the Charleston Place Hotel, said Biden was engaging as he spelled out the administration's take on the political situation in Washington, focusing mainly on the White House's economic recovery efforts.

"He gave a very insightful look on how the White House functions and how they are going to function over the next 14 months," S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said.

"Freedom don't come cheap," Harpootlian also said about the cost of the event.

Harpootlian declined to identify other attendees. Some of those who were at the dinner also declined comment when approached afterward.

State Republicans were quick to pounce on the appearance, issuing a statement shortly before Biden landed in Charleston and was driven in a motorcade downtown on Interstate 26.

"Barack Obama and Joe Biden's taxpayer-funded re-election campaign continues," state GOP Chairman Chad Connelly said. "Let's hope Biden's luxury jet fuels up in Charleston, because that's the only economic growth this administration will have brought to South Carolina."

Before the dinner, Biden met separately with some state party diehards inside the hotel, including senior state Sen. John Land, D-Clarendon, who said he was invited to show up but did not take part in the main event.

"I'm going to work for the Obama-Biden ticket in South Carolina as hard as I can, or anywhere else they want me to," Land said.

While South Carolina might be fertile ground for a fundraising event, Obama faces a tall hurdle in trying to win what has been a consistently red state for three decades. The John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket led the Democrats in 2008, 54 percent to 45 percent.

Republicans also made a point Thursday of the White House decision not to insert itself into the National Labor Relations Board lawsuit over Boeing's new jet assembly plant here.

"If Barack Obama and Joe Biden cared any about hard-working South Carolinians, they'd denounce the NLRB's attacks on Boeing's new Charleston plant," Connelly said. "Yet neither has said a word. Today's trip is just more of the same from the worst president and vice president in American history."

After his Charleston stop, Biden headed to Miami, his schedule said, flying out at about 8:15 p.m.

Some motorists were briefly inconvenienced Thursday as the official motorcade made its way in and out of the city. Local police departments had extra officers called in, and as the motorcade approached, police shut down access to Interstate 26 and to its overpasses.

Traffic flowing from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was briefly shut down as well.