Hillary Clinton: “No evidence” Joe Biden could steal her 2016 support

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Clinton on Biden: I just want him to reach the right decision for him.

ANKENY, Iowa — Hillary Clinton on Wednesday afternoon said she “could not even imagine the grief and the heartbreak” Joe Biden has suffered from personal tragedies in his life, a preview of just how difficult it could be for Clinton to attack the vice president if he decides to challenge her for the Democratic presidential nomination. The possibility that Vice President Biden may jump into the 2016 presidential campaign is convulsing the network of wealthy Democrats that financed President Obama’s two White House bids, galvanizing fundraisers underwhelmed by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s performance.

— Upstart presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is about to make a direct pitch to the Democratic Party establishment: Consider me, not Hillary Clinton. A wide swath of party financiers is already convinced that Biden will make a late entry into the race and a sizeable number are now contemplating backing him, including some who have already signed on with Clinton, according to more than a dozen top Democratic fundraisers around the country. Will they again, with something else on the line? (NYT Photo) In some future August, President Hillary Clinton may kick back with a beer and swap tales about how that very month in 2015 proved that no story is too small to get blown out of proportion during the slow-news dog days.

Sanders huddled with advisers at his home here Wednesday to chart what he describes as the second phase of a campaign that has exceeded all expectations but still lacks the infrastructure and support from the party elites that could help him compete with Clinton on a national level. He said he will issue a slew of detailed policy proposals, including for a tax system under which corporations and the wealthy would pay significantly more for initiatives that would benefit the poor and middle class, and will pour resources into voter outreach in early nominating states.

Clinton still maintains a deep and loyal donor base, and her financial dominance would present a huge challenge for Biden if he entered the campaign this fall. A Biden-scrambled race for the nomination could make a run more attractive to a dozen or more Democrats, most of whom have said they’re not running and some of whom have already endorsed Clinton. Sanders also will appear with other White House hopefuls this week at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee and will urge party leaders to embrace him as a candidate who can attract new voters and energy, just as President Obama did eight years ago. “Smart members of the establishment will perceive where the excitement is, where the energy is, where the enthusiasm is, where the potential voter turnout is,” Sanders said in an interview.

He and I were colleagues in the Senate, I worked with him as First Lady, I worked with him obviously in President Obama’s first term, and I have a great deal of admiration and affection,” she said. “I think he has to make what is a very difficult decision for himself and his family. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, said he recognizes the challenges ahead for him — including broadening his support among African American voters, who will be crucial in states such as South Carolina. Of the 770 fundraisers who bundled checks for Obama’s 2012 reelection, just 52 have signed on so far as a “Hillblazer” bundler for Clinton or have hosted a fundraiser for her, according to a Washington Post analysis. Top Democratic money players — many of whom requested anonymity to describe private conversations — said discussions among senior Obama fundraisers about Biden’s possible bid have taken a serious turn in the past few days.

For instance, some are called “bundlers,” the kind of Democrats who can write big checks and pick up the phone to encourage similarly wealthy types to write checks, too. Longtime Democratic strategist Tad Devine, who was among the participants in Wednesday’s meeting here, said Sanders has the potential to assemble “not necessarily the same coalition, but the same kind of coalition” as Obama did in 2008. Just loves Joe Biden,” said Dornbush, whose father served as then-President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the Netherlands. “And so they would be very open to sitting down with him and having the conversation, if not writing him a check.” “That having been said, people will want to look him in the eye and see that in fact he has the fire in the belly, because that was just crystal clear when we all had that conversation with then-Sen.

Sanders’s huge campaign rallies have been heavily attended by younger voters, and during his long political career in Vermont, he has demonstrated an appeal to lower-income voters from both parties. As recently as February, when initially contacted by Reuters, seven of them were undecided, though all have since thrown their support – and fundraising machines – behind Clinton.

On Tuesday, volunteers at Sanders’s campaign headquarters, in a third-floor office suite off a downtown pedestrian mall here, were dutifully entering contact information from sign-in sheets into a database. Among governors, there’s John Hickenlooper of Colorado and New York’s Andrew Cuomo (who has a famous name if not much of a record), a pair of former Virginia governors, Sens.

Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin declined to comment on donor interest in a Biden campaign, saying in a statement, “Hillary Clinton is grateful to the hundreds of thousands of people who have stepped up to support her campaign and made her first quarter in the race a historic one.” But the issue is expected to be a major topic when Clinton bundlers gather in New York next week for a meeting with campaign officials that was scheduled last month. The campaign is spending heavily in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — all of which have contests in February — and starting to evaluate strategies for a dozen states that have primaries or caucuses on March 1. Another focus of “phase two,” according to Sanders and his aides, will be a series of detailed position papers and policy speeches that go well beyond his hour-long stump speech.

It’s late in the cycle for new entrants, but not too late: A CBS News analysis finds that of the nearly 770 top Obama fundraisers from 2012, as few as 51 have committed to bundling big money for Clinton. And new candidates would be arriving just in time for the debate season, beginning Oct. 13 in Nevada and followed by others in November, December and January, with two more in either February or March. Hope he will join us all in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.” Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon, a former ambassador to Chile under Bill Clinton who is raising money for Hillary Clinton now, said the late date would make it hard for Biden to build a sizeable war chest, since donors can only give a maximum of $2,700 to a candidate per election. But the candidate said he owes it to voters to lay out what he would do as president: “These are terribly serious times, and the American people deserve to be treated as intelligent people.” Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said it will be instructive to watch how voters respond to Sanders’s tax proposal, particularly in the first primary state. “There are a fair number of well-educated, fairly prosperous Democrats here,” Scala said. “It will be interesting to see, when he gets down to tax brackets, which voters he’s impacting.” Sanders started the race better known in New Hampshire, which is next to Vermont, than in any other early nominating state. Here’s Schindler: It is true that deciding what is unclassified versus confidential, the lowest level of government classification, can be subjective.

Democrats are reasonably content with Clinton: In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 72 percent of Democratic-leaning voters said they were satisfied with their choice of candidates, and 24 percent very satisfied. While Vermont is 95 percent white and Sanders has little experience reaching out to minority voters, he recently made a high-profile hire of a national press secretary who is African American and is taking other steps to build support in minority communities. One of them is Joshua Alcorn, the former chief of staff to the vice president’s late son Beau, who is now serving as senior adviser to the Draft Biden super PAC. After inspecting just 40 “unclassified” emails that Clinton provided to investigators, the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined that two of them should have been designated top secret/special intelligence.

They contained information based on intercepted foreign communications, and included what spies call “sources and methods.” In case it isn’t obvious from the label, that doesn’t mean scheduling details — whom the secretary of State met for lunch, for instance. Sanders “makes as much sense as anyone I’ve been listening to lately,” said Usherson, 66, after an event in Berlin, N.H. “The main things that have been irking me the last several years, he’s hitting on.” Asked for examples, Usherson cited the financial meltdown that led to the recession and the war in Iraq. In Conway, N.H., Frank Jost, a manager of a nonprofit organization, was among those who came to check out Sanders but said they had previously been leaning in another direction. “I would probably be considered a supporter of Hillary, but Hillary has some issues right now,” said Jost, 55.

Clinton originally said that she did not use her private email account to exchange classified information, but she has since retreated to saying that none of her emails had been marked as classified. Because top secret information travels on entirely separate systems throughout the federal government, it is virtually impossible that a Clinton staffer blithely or unknowingly pasted a top secret paragraph into an unclassified email. But there is one thing that can shift attention from the email saga, inject energy into the Democratic side of the presidential race and strengthen Clinton or the eventual nominee: A stalking horse, of course. Remember, the excuse has evolved from “no classified material, nope, never” to “OK, nothing marked classified.” Clinton has gone from someone planning weddings and passing along cobbler recipes to perhaps being a “passive recipient of unwitting information.” The Biden part of this story will fade faster than the email part.

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