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Biden's 2020 bid reshapes White House race

39 Comments
By James Oliphant and John Whitesides

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden entered the 2020 Democratic presidential field on Thursday as an instant front-runner, drawing momentum away from other leading candidates and putting new pressure on underperformers to find ways to stay relevant.

Biden, 76, a longtime U.S. senator who served two terms as then-President Barack Obama's No. 2, announced his bid in a video describing the high stakes of the race to take on Republican President Donald Trump in next year's election.

"We are in the battle for the soul of this nation," Biden said. "I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and let that happen."

Trump responded in a post on Twitter, saying "welcome to the race Sleepy Joe" and slamming Biden's intelligence.

Biden joins U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described "democratic socialist," atop the 20-candidate field. With Biden positioned to be Sanders' chief rival, the resulting clash could lay bare the conflict in the Democratic Party between its moderate and progressive wings.

Although Biden has yet to lay out policy proposals as a candidate, he backs many causes valued by progressives, including raising the minimum wage, combating climate change, banning assault weapons and free public college. He has not come out in favor of a Medicare for All plan advocated by Sanders and others.

Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia, says it remains unclear whether Biden can build on his loyal base of support. If that happens, it could come at Sanders' expense.

Given his long-standing support from African-Americans and his partnership with Obama, Biden could also affect the candidacy of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California, who is widely regarded as a serious contender for the nomination.

Biden's entry also threatens to derail the rise of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has benefited from a surge of media coverage in recent weeks. And it further presses candidates such as former housing Secretary Julian Castro of Texas, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who have failed so far to register with voters, to come up with ways to stay in the game.

"In many ways, this settles the race down rather than shaking it up," said Jeff Link, a Democratic strategist in Iowa who worked for Obama's presidential campaign in 2008.

But Biden faces his own challenges, including questions about whether he is too old and too centrist for a party yearning for fresh faces and increasingly propelled by its more vocal liberal wing.

Biden failed to gain traction with voters during previous presidential bid in 1988 and 2008. As speculation about his third effort mounted, Biden came under fire for his propensity for touching and kissing strangers at political events, with several women coming forward to say he had made them feel uncomfortable.

Biden struggled in his response to the concerns, at times joking about his behavior. But ultimately he apologized and said he recognized standards for personal conduct had evolved in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

"Joe Biden is going to regret this decision," said Matt Gorman, a former official at the National Republican Congressional Committee, an arm of the Republican Party. "His candidacy will not only rehash his very long record in public life, but allow his opponents to subtly argue he is too old and too moderate to be the Democratic standard-bearer."

Obama said in a statement that he has long said selecting Biden to be his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made.

Biden on Thursday told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, that he has asked Obama to not endorse him. “Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits,” Biden said.

On Thursday, Biden held up the example of the 2017 attack at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that killed a counterprotester as a defining moment for the nation.

"It was there ... we saw (Ku Klux) Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open ... baring the fangs of racism," Biden said, criticizing Trump's remarks at the time that there were "very fine people on both sides."

There was no moral equivalence between racists and those fighting such inequality, he said.

"In that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime," Biden said.

Biden will travel across the country in the coming weeks, kicking off his tour with a visit on Monday to Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania, not far from Biden's home state of Delaware, is a key battleground state and former industrial hub that backed Trump in 2016. The Republican president is seeking to capture the state again even as Democrats saw wins there in the 2018 congressional elections.

Biden's long history in the Senate, where he was a leading voice on foreign policy, will give liberal activists plenty to criticize. He is the only candidate in the field who voted in support of the Iraq War in 2002.

As Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, he angered women's rights activists with his handling of sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas by law professor Anita Hill during the justice's 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Biden phoned Hill earlier this month to express regret about what she"endured" testifying against Thomas. Hill told the Times that the call left her unsatisfied and that she could not support his presidential bid.

He also has been censured over his ties to the financial industry and for his authorship of a 1994 crime act that led to increased incarceration rates.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which backs U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said Biden's centrist record could be a hindrance.

"If Joe Biden positions himself as the political insider from yesteryear who says big ideas like universal childcare, student debt relief and a wealth tax on ultra-millionaires are not possible, he would be an easy foil," said Adam Green, the group's co-founder.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments

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Dems nominating who is in effect another Clinton is a recipe for defeat (not that Clinton would have been a bad president). This is just sad: Biden was an admirable senator and VP for some five decades and deserves respect, but he will be hit hard here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Biden was always going to suck the air from the room, and deflate the candidacies of his primary opponents. It'll likely come down to Biden v Sanders for the nomination.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Biden just going to get his feelings hurt when all the other Dem candidates start leaking bad things about him.

He seems like a decent man with moderate ideas that most people could actually accept. But thats not what the Dems want right now, bad timing.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Biden is too old, and too associated with the hegemony in place today; we need new blood.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think a new collusion investigation should be started, this time against the Democrats, as they seem to be doing whatever they can to help get Trump re-elected.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I admire and respect VP Biden - he's one of the few politicans that truly cares about people. Ask anyone who has worked with him, Democrat or Republican, and they'll tell you what a compassionate, caring person he is- and that includes Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell.

But I think Joe should pass on running this time for two resaons;

He is widely admired and respected for his service and career...go out on a high note....

Age is a factor - it's time for a younger generation...

You'll be remembered as a statesman and a gentlerman - let that be your legacy...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Biden is too old, and too associated with the hegemony in place today; we need new blood

Age is a factor - it's time for a younger generation...

It'll likely come down to Biden v Sanders for the nomination

I can't wait for either to name AOC as their running mate.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wasn't the saying all the time: the older, the better?

I think that goes also (and at least) for Biden.

More manners, widely accepted by left and right, knowing what he is talking about and dealing with.

He would definitely be a great challenger.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kestrel

Creepy Joe will be remembered for his years of "touching" public service.

It seems that Mr. Biden has made remembering his public service just a bit more difficult as his papers covering the period of his Senatorial career will not become available to researchers until December 31, 2019.

From Washington Free Beacon:

“Biden stipulated when he donated the papers that their release could come "no sooner than two years after [Biden] retires from any public office," according to the library [University of Delaware]”.

Mr. Biden left public office on January 20, 2017. He quite reasonably retained the option to postpone access, but failure to release them now that his hat is in the ring could draw criticism from other candidates. However, I think there’s only a teensy-weensy chance of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Biden has a much more difficult row to hoe this time than his two previous runs for president. He is an old school democrat who represents a bygone era when they proudly professed to be liberals; meaning, big government was the only way to move America "forward". Now, he must present himself to a dwindling democrat voting base as a candidate who, like all the others in the DNC clown car, must profess his abject hatred for America if he has any chance of getting nominated. Time will tell if he can hold his nose tight enough to do that.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Biden has a much more difficult row to hoe this time than his two previous runs for president. He is an old school democrat who represents a bygone era when they proudly professed to be liberals; meaning, big government was the only way to move America "forward". Now, he must present himself to a dwindling democrat voting base as a candidate who, like all the others in the DNC clown car, must profess his abject hatred for America if he has any chance of getting nominated. Time will tell if he can hold his nose tight enough to do that.

What a load of BS....

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Dems nominating who is in effect another Clinton is a recipe for defeat (not that Clinton would have been a bad president). This is just sad: Biden was an admirable senator and VP for some five decades and deserves respect, but he will be hit hard here.

Spot on. even though Biden is also a huge gaffe machine and just can’t help himself, he leaves a treasure chest of policies that he’s flipped and flopped over through the years, both socialists and the Republicans are going to hammer him hard, not to mention you can tell his heart is not in this, this is serious train wreck waiting to happen. When it comes, it’s going to come heavy and merciless.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I can't wait for either to name AOC as their running mate.

A vice-presidential candidate must meet the same qualifications as a presidential candidate.

Since she'll not be 35 by Jan. 20, 2021, she's ineligible.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sleepy Joe

Not one of his best. Time to find some conspiracy trash in the National Enquirer. Any links to the JFK assassination?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not one of his best. Time to find some conspiracy trash in the National Enquirer. Any links to the JFK assassination?

over 40 years later n public office they don’t need to. Trump just has to sit back and watch him get pummeled by the socialists first then Trump can go for the jugular.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

over 40 years later n public office they don’t need to

Why ‘they’? I’d say regurgitating rancid conspiracy trash from the tabloids is very much Trump’s game.

Anyway, I thought his supporters liked it. They certainly never criticized him here for doing it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The far left radical socialist wing of the democrat party will chew up moderate, reach-across-the-aisle Biden and spit him out in record time.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why ‘they’?

Because the socialists want to win and they can’t do that being nice to Biden with 20 liberal socialists? No, they have to go full in an expose his hilarious gaffes and missteps on so many issues over the years if they want to get ahead in this race, should be fun to watch.

I’d say regurgitating rancid conspiracy trash from the tabloids is very much Trump’s game. 

Naw, I would say the media and CNN by the way ratings looking kinda queasy recently.

Anyway, I thought his supporters liked it. They certainly never criticized him here for doing it.

If he’s wrong, but I’m more worried about liberals not criticizing the Democrats and their daily blunders which is evident and apparent the WH is slowly slipping from their grasps.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If the Trump supporters believe their candidate is so strong for the coming election why do they even need to worry about who the opposition will be, which in the end will be a single candidate.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If the Trump supporters believe their candidate is so strong for the coming election why do they even need to worry about who the opposition will be, which in the end will be a single candidate.

Zichi, no one is worried, we’re all laughing, Biden is everything all the socialists don’t want. Old, White, a centrist, not going to happen.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Zichi, no one is worried, we’re all laughing, Biden is everything all the socialists don’t want. Old, White, a centrist, not going to happen.

You must be confusing America with some other country. There's no socialist party? Your need to attack him senses fear in breath.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@bas Old, White, a centrist, not going to happen.

Identity politics redux. Hi pot kettle.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How about telling us the policies Trump will win on, like the Wall, Obamacare, NK, increasing teacher pay, rebuilding the bridges and infrastructure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You must be confusing America with some other country.

No.

There's no socialist party?

I’m sorry, the Socialists that are trying to sell themselves off as Democrats, my bad.

Your need to attack him senses fear in breath.

Not fear, you can’t be afraid or fear something you think is outrageously funny.

Identity politics redux. Hi pot kettle.

The Liberals were the ones that created identity politics. I’m just going by what their standards are, not mine. Lol

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

How about telling us the policies Trump will win on, like the Wall, Obamacare, NK, increasing teacher pay, rebuilding the bridges and infrastructure.

The Economy and border security and I know. The Democrats will be running on identity politics and on healthcare and the environment, but they will never talk about how to decrease the cost in premiums and overall health care and we don’t even want to talk about the economy because for the Democrats what that means is more taxation in regulation. Not to mention they still cannot get over and control themselves and put aside their obsession with this president and trying to look for something to hang him on with this obstruction nonsense, they are already shooting themselves in the foot.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@bass I’m sorry, the Socialists that are trying to sell themselves off as Democrats, my bad.

Would they be like the neo-fascists trying to sell themselves off as Trump supporters?

Hi pot kettle

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Would they be like the neo-fascists trying to sell themselves off as Trump supporters?

Hi pot kettle

Not really, because most neofascist are socialist, it’s in the word. Capitalism is not one of them. Lol

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The Liberals were the ones that created identity politics. I’m just going by what their standards are, not mine. Lol

Well I don't think when I dial back my memory to the Trump campaign who slagged off all of his opponents and continues doing it today.

I’m sorry, the Socialists that are trying to sell themselves off as Democrats, my bad.

That's a dumb comment and would be like saying,

"Fascists that are trying to sell themselves off as Republicans, my bad.

I asked you about Trump policy?

The Economy and border security and I know. 

You didn't get far before you reverted back to his opponents? Your obsession with opposition seems has strong as you are claiming the democrats are.

Once again, what are Trump's policies going forward.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well I don't think when I dial back my memory to the Trump campaign who slagged off all of his opponents and continues doing it today.

Biden should be a breeze. Look through the rolodex of gaffes.

I asked you about Trump policy?

And I already answered.

You didn't get far before you reverted back to his opponents? Your obsession with opposition seems has strong as you are claiming the democrats are.

No, I’m not obsessed with anyone, I’m just seeing what the fact is and if Biden gets into the race, he’s going to be pulled apart from both sides from the socialist and from Trump and the Republicans.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

And I already answered.

Really, your sentence was a full eight words.

"The Economy and border security and I know."

Guess, Trump should ask you to be his campaign manager. Sorry to say, but you said nothing worthwhile what Trump's policies will be moving forward. I didn't mention anything about his personality, not even once. Why is it so difficult to discuss your own candidate without reverting back to the opposition?

Your constant claims of socialism are real fake news.

In the last Trump campaign he was going to build a Mexican funded border wall. He was going to shut the border down but only succeeded in shutting the government down for the longest period in history and brought pain and suffering to those who couldn't pick up their pay checks?

He was going to resolve NK like no president before him but now he has reached a stalemate with his rocketman friend.

Then there was the Obamacare, which was just about on the top of his shopping list but only has he failed to remove it, he couldn't even think of anything to replace it with.

On a personal there was his statement about he would be too busy too play golf but spend less time in the Oval office than any previous president and more time on the golf green too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Since Trump has been in the WH he has not only lost staff with the greatest turnovers, lost policies, lost his wall and healthcare, but also quite a lot of his hair which I expect is only natural for someone his age. He has a large bald patch. I think being president is a massive strain whoever is in the job.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not really, because most neofascist are socialist, it’s in the word. Capitalism is not one of them. Lol

Total gibberish.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, Joe will have a big leg up if the Faux News Crew turn on Donnie...

“I’m disappointed in the behavior of the president,” Napolitano said in his video. “His job is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold and enforce federal law. Not to violate it.” 

He said if Trump violated the law to save a life, he could have a moral defense.

“But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable,” he wrote on the website.  

Well said Judge Napalitano...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/andrew-napolitano-criminal-trump_n_5cc26532e4b081706966eb7f

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not really, because most neofascist are socialist, it’s in the word. 

It literally isn't.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Joe would have to come out with some stance different than others that appeals if this is going to work. He's a nice enough guy but the times have shifted. President Sanders is the natural progression needed before President AOC

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We are in the battle for the soul of this nation," Biden said.

True!

"I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. 

Uh, no, Joe, the aberrant moment in time was the eight years during when you and Obuma were running things.

The ironic thing is, apart from Tulsi Gabbard, who most likely will not get nominated as she makes too much sense, Biden is, incredibly, the best Democratic candidate. Democrats have really screwed themselves for 2020.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Trump's trade sanctions against China lead to less exports of American soya leaving the farmers needing loans to stay afloat. These are some of his voter base but may vote differently next time round.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The ironic thing is, apart from Tulsi Gabbard, who most likely will not get nominated as she makes too much sense, Biden is, incredibly, the best Democratic candidate. Democrats have really screwed themselves for 2020.

In comparison to Repubs who are saddled with someone who attempted to obstruct justice on 10 occasions, can't pronounce "origins", and is too senile to remember his father wasn't born in Germany....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can't wait for either to name AOC as their running mate.

A vice-presidential candidate must meet the same qualifications as a presidential candidate.

Since she'll not be 35 by Jan. 20, 2021, she's ineligible.

I agree, but I'm sure the DNC will find a way to change the rule so she CAN be eligible as a running mate. AOC is the "darling" of the new far left socialists and will demand the change, just as they are demanding elimination of the electoral college that enabled Trump to beat Hillary.

It's going to be fun to see the Democrat Party implode as the far left socialists factions battles the traditional liberal factions. All Trump has to do is stand back and let them shoot themselves in the foot and mouth.

The 2020 Democrat primaries and Convention will be a repeat of the 1968 Democrat campaign (with the exception of an assassination). It's going be a nasty primary and the AOC radical faction will split the party and alienate the moderates and traditional party liberals.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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