Joe Biden spent a lot of time in the Senate — 32 years — and he says he’s never seen anything like the clout of two freshman minority senators, Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The vice president didn’t quite use the word “bully,” but he — in a backhanded way — noted last night how Cruz and Paul have managed to influence the direction of Republican politics.

“Think about this,” Biden said at a Washington fund-raising event for Massachusetts Senate candidate Ed Markey. “Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate? That is not hyperbole.”