Barack Obama gives Joe Biden his ‘blessing’ for White House bid

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As Biden Considers 2016 Bid, VP Duties Have Added Benefits.

Joe Biden has confirmed he is considering whether to run for president in his first publicly aired comments on whether he would seek the Democratic nomination.Vice President Joe Biden‘s deliberations over whether to enter the 2016 presidential race are increasingly becoming entwined with his official White House duties, underscoring the benefits of being second in command for the potential candidate.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday finds Biden with the highest favorability rating in either the Democratic or Republican field among all voters, and leading head-to-head match-ups against hypothetical GOP rivals.In May 2011, Vice President Joe Biden was in the White House Situation Room, joining President Barack Obama and his top national security officials for a crucial meeting.“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul,” Biden said. Biden held a conference call on Wednesday during which he made the case in support of the Iran nuclear deal to an ideal audience for any Democrat considering a run for the party’s nomination: members of the Democratic National Committee.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump maintains a commanding lead of the GOP field with 28% of Republican support, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 12%. After most officials present urged Obama to go for it, the president turned to Biden: “Joe, what do you think?” he asked, according to an account Biden gave months later. It was another family tragedy for the vice-president, who lost his first wife and his daughter in a car accident shortly after he was first elected to the US Senate from Delaware in 1972. Biden has been huddling with senior advisers to evaluate options for taking on Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who is front-runner in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and spent Wednesday in Iowa discussing issues facing rural America.

It was a historic triumph for America — not to mention a political bonanza for a president facing re-election, perhaps the most consequential decision of Obama’s presidency. Speculation that Biden might run ratcheted up on the weekend when he met with the Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a powerbroker among liberals. It is grappling with eroding poll numbers, government investigations into an unorthodox email server, and the prospect of losing the bellwether state of New Hampshire to upstart Bernie Sanders.

Clinton, speaking to reporters in Iowa on Wednesday, said Biden, a former Senate colleague, “is a friend of mine” for whom she has “a great deal of admiration and affection”. Ted Cruz are tied for third place with 7% each, representing a significant drop in support for Bush, who has raised more than $120 million for his presidential run. If the vice president does jump in, he would start in Iowa with a base of support that one Democratic activist described as “super-excited but limited”. Biden is making the trip to headline a Sept. 2 fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is working to retain the seat of Florida Sen. The survey is one that will be used to determine eligibility for next month’s CNN debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in which polls since July will be averaged and the top 10 placers fill the prime-time stage.

While stung by such talk, Biden also considers it unfair — particularly after recent events in places like Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have arguably matched his predictions. They call him “Joe”, worry aloud about his family and try to combine excitement about a potential run with genuine heartfelt personal concern with how Biden is coping with the death of his son. And when he’s ready to do it.” Before his decision to mount his second presidential run in 2008, the extended Biden clan met to share with the family patriarch their view that he should enter the race.

Trump remains deeply disliked by the majority of voters who are not his supporters; 26% of Republicans say they would never vote for him and 54% of all voters view him negatively. Clinton, who is still dogged by questions about her use of a private email server, now has 61% of Americans viewing her as untrustworthy and 51% viewing her unfavorably.

Asked an open-ended question about the first word that pops into their minds when they hear a candidate’s name, “liar” topped the list when the 1,563 registered voters were surveyed about Clinton. “Arrogant” was the top word for Trump and “Bush” for Bush. The nationwide survey was conducted from Aug. 20-25 and has a margin of error of ±2.5 percentage points, with 666 Republicans polled for a margin of error of ±3.8 percentage points and 647 Democrats for a margin of error of ± 3.9 percentage points. Biden opposed that intervention, which even Obama has suggested was ill-advised now that the north African country has fallen to anarchy and terrorism. Less clear is the view of Biden’s wife, Jill, who is “as much a deciding vote as anybody,” as one person familiar with the family’s thinking put it. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a favorite of the progressive base, and an upcoming gathering of Democratic donors at the vice president’s official residence were characterized as the moves of a candidate-in-waiting.

Obama sided with Clinton’s view, but experts are mixed at best on whether doubling down on the country — at a high cost in lives and money — had much impact. Biden might also point to his proposal, floated when he was a senator in 2007, for a “soft partition” of Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions — each one majority Shiite, Sunni or Kurdish — under the control of a weak central government. The September meeting of donors, for instance, is the same Rosh Hashana celebration the Bidens have hosted at their Naval Observatory home each year of his vice presidency, just like an annual Hispanic Heritage Month event that will follow. As the first debate approaches in October, Biden’s would-be rivals will have spent months engaging with voters and building campaign infrastructure.

While some question the effectiveness of an operation Biden would build in a considerably shorter time, his team appears undaunted, in part because of the advantages inherent in being a sitting vice president. (And one big task – fundraising – would in some ways be less daunting as the months go on. That has led Biden to say, as one aide put it: “You all mocked me, and look who’s laughing now.” Iraq is far from a neat issue for Biden, however. The vice-president is notoriously averse to fundraising and Biden supporters admit that his last presidential campaign in 2008 was wholly inadequate to the type of effort that is needed to win a modern Democratic primary.

A shorter time frame means fewer rallies to pay for and fewer months funding a staff payroll.) His aides view the thinking that it is too late, or that he is too much of an underdog, as wrong, just like so much other conventional wisdom this election. Obama assigned him the Iraq account at the start of his presidency, and Biden managed the country’s internal politics as the U.S. withdrew its troops — a withdrawal that Biden supported. (Clinton pushed for keeping a modest military presence in the country.) The rise of the Islamic State and the return of more than 3,000 U.S. troops to the country over the past year will make it hard for Biden to boast on that front. “He went along with our departure too easily,” says Michael O’Hanlon, an Iraq expert at the Brookings Institution, who also faulted Biden for strongly backing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who turned out to be a sectarian strongman.

Yet, regardless of what decision the vice-president makes and what his chances may be, it’s clear that Clinton isn’t taking any chances and won’t risk being upset again in Iowa. A talented political pro like Biden could quickly narrow the gap with Clinton, in a campaign climate that suits him as well as any in his career. “These primary battles are so much about momentum,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who led Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in Florida and recently joined the independent Draft Biden super PAC that aims to build support for a possible campaign. “I think it’s less a question of can you build the behemoth campaign that we had on the reelect or that the Clintons are doing now. After all, as Clinton told the crowd earlier in the evening “I am called a lot of things, as you may have heard from time to time, and quitter is never one of them.” While Clinton “was meeting socially with the prime minister of a country,” Biden said at the time, “I was sitting down and negotiating with them.

Throughout the summer, she has been plagued by the curse of the front-runner: campaigning guardedly, beset by fumbles magnified by her outsized standing in the uncrowded field, and contending with resentment from voters who want a real race. And several sources questioned whether foreign policy really would be central to a Biden-Clinton battle. “I think his argument is more likely to be that all his life he’s been fighting for the middle class, and here’s what he wants to do now,” said Robert Shrum, a former top consultant to several Democratic presidential candidates. Obama “will absolutely be collateral damage if they start attacking each other,” says the former White House official. “It won’t be a huge problem for him but it will certainly be annoying.” Also unclear is how much Democratic voters might hold Biden’s bin Laden decision against him. Veteran pollster Peter Hart said Clinton has been running a campaign that is “reluctant and cautious, rather than expansive and enthusiastic” – just like she did when she was way ahead in the polls in 2007. “Her best moments then were either when she was behind or when they were in the real heat of the battle. … Generally speaking, candidates are better off when there is a contested race.” Many Democratic voters prefer it, too. I can’t even imagine the grief and the heartbreak.” Her campaign is taking subtle steps that may be aimed at discouraging Biden from a run, scrambling to lock down key endorsements and donors while he remains on the sidelines.

That politician, Tom Vilsack, is also one of Biden’s colleagues at the top of the Obama administration, serving as Agriculture secretary. “I love Joe Biden, just like we all do,” Vilsack said. “He is a wonderful man. … But our friends and neighbors in Iowa need to know … we firmly stand behind Hillary, and we will till the last dog dies.”

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