Monday, August 3, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Beau Told Joe to Run For President

"Biden’s plans for 2016 still a mystery; Entry into race could jolt field; decision expected before the fall" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  July 27, 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Undeclared candidate: Joe Biden, the force that could disrupt the Democratic field.


Any scrap of news sets off a new round of speculation: Last week it was a Quinnipiac University poll showing Hillary Rodham Clinton losing to various top Republican contenders by as much as 9 points in the swing states of Iowa and Colorado. (The same poll also showed Biden losing to the same Republicans in the same states.)

That's because she lost the debate.

On Tuesday a national Washington Post/ABC News poll showed 14 percent supporting Biden — putting him statistically tied with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (Clinton was at 62 percent.)

Time is obviously an issue. Biden’s organization in New Hampshire is dusty at best. In Iowa, some supporters have just plain given up.

On the money side, the Clinton campaign is moving quickly to lock down the big fund-raisers like HBO executive Michael Lombardo, who went with the Obama ticket last time.

But if one judges the vice president by his public schedule — there are suggestions that he may be testing a Rose Garden campaign strategy, quite literally. That was Biden wearing a purple tie, hands clasped in front of him, standing next to Obama in the Rose Garden shortly after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.

Keep that in mind.

The next day the vice president was by Obama’s side again, this time in South Carolina mourning the death of nine worshippers shot to death. He stood by the president on the first floor of the White House when Obama gave a statement about the Iran deal.

I thought they were supposed to be kept apart in case, you know, something happens to the other.

Last week Biden made a campaign-esque stop in Denver to highlight Democratic priorities. He visited the Community College of Denver’s New Manufacturing Center where he talked about the administration’s plan to reduce tuition costs.

Then, accompanied by Mayor Michael Hancock, he visited a local ice cream parlor and ordered a scoop of salted Oreo, a local favorite.

“I’m buying,” Biden declared when he arrived at the store.

(If any of this sounds familiar, Clinton has visited a slew of community colleges in New Hampshire and Iowa and also has been hitting the ice cream circuit. She’s stopped in the Granite State for ice cream at least twice with the press in tow.)

Maybe they won't cry about the screenings regarding coverage. Everybody gets ice cream, yaaaay!


Supporters say Biden would bring to the campaign trail some qualities Clinton seems to lack: an obvious love of retail politics, a love of engaging in the issues of the day, and a sense of spontaneity.

Just don't put your hands on any women's shoulders.

A pair of recent trips to Capitol Hill by the two exhibited the difference. The Clinton campaign swept through with an entourage that resembled a parade. Security kept her walkway clear, and those lining the route stood with back pressed against the walls.

Biden also travels around the Capitol with Secret Service agents, but his movements are so low-key that on a recent afternoon he nearly collided with a reporter who was checking her phone while walking. Biden paused to avoid bumping into her — stopping just long enough for other journalists to surround him.

That's good.

Suddenly the vice president was holding an impromptu press conference of sorts.


Mystery is over:

"Biden said to be exploring campaign for president" by Amy Chozick New York Times  August 01, 2015

NEW YORK — Vice President Joe Biden and his associates have begun to actively explore a possible presidential campaign, an entry that would upend the Democratic field and deliver a direct threat to Hillary Rodham Clinton, say several people who have spoken to Biden or his closest advisers.

Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Clinton, or who have grown concerned about what they see as her increasingly visible vulnerabilities as a candidate.

The conversations, often fielded by Biden’s chief of staff, Steve Ricchetti, have taken place in hushed phone calls and over quiet lunches. Most have grown out of an outpouring of sympathy for the vice president since the death of his 46-year-old son, Beau, in May. 

In a way, one could hope that he connects with the world's pain like JFK and RFK did. Might make him a pain in the butt as a president, maybe even forcing a removal.

On Saturday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported that Biden had been holding meetings at his residence, “talking to friends, family, and donors about jumping in” to challenge Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two nominating states.

One longtime supporter said the vice president has been deeply moved by memories of his son’s desire for him to run.

“He was so close to Beau and it was so heartbreaking that, frankly, I thought initially he wouldn’t have the heart,” Michael Thornton, a Boston lawyer and Biden supporter, said in an interview. “But I’ve had indications that maybe he does want to — and ‘that’s what Beau would have wanted me to do.’ ”

Biden’s path would not be easy. Clinton has enormous support among Democrats inspired by the idea of electing a woman as president, and her campaign has already raised millions of dollars. Biden, who is 72, has in the past proved prone to embarrassing gaffes on the campaign trail, and he would also face the critical task of building a field operation.

There is a way around that.

One Democrat with direct knowledge of the conversations described the outreach as a heady combination of donors and friends wanting to prop Biden up in his darkest hours, and recent polls showing Clinton’s support declining, suggesting there could be a path to the party’s nomination for him.

Dowd reported that as Beau lay dying, he “tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” His other son, Hunter, also encouraged Biden to run, she wrote.

Or the Bushes.

Confidants say Biden has not made up his mind, but they expect him to make something official by early September. He has not openly fueled speculation about a bid.

I think he has made up his mind; he's just waiting for the right time. Refuse his son's dying wish? No way.

A 2016 campaign would be the third time Biden, a longtime senator from Delaware, has sought the presidency.

Third time a charm?

The support Biden has garnered speaks to growing concerns among Democrats that Clinton could lose in Iowa and New Hampshire, as the populist message of one of her rivals, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, draws swelling crowds.

I hate to say it, but were elections clean, free, and fair.... 

“The reality is it’s going to be a tough, even-steven kind of race, and there’s that moment a lot of party establishment would start exactly this kind of rumble: ‘Is there anybody else?’ ” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist.

Like on the other side.

At the same time, the slow trickle of news about Clinton’s use of private e-mail when she was secretary of state, and the coming Benghazi hearings may be distracting some voters from her campaign’s core message: the need to lift the middle class.

“It’s not that we dislike Hillary, it’s that we want to win the White House,” said Richard A. Harpootlian, a lawyer and Democratic donor in Columbia, S.C., who met with Ricchetti before Beau Biden died. “We have a better chance of doing that with somebody who is not going to have all the distractions of a Clinton campaign.”

A Clinton campaign spokeswoman declined to comment.

In a Quinnipiac poll last week, 57 percent of voters said Clinton was not honest and trustworthy, and 52 percent said she did not care about their needs or problems. The same poll showed Biden with his highest favorability rating — 49 percent — in seven years, with 58 percent saying he is trustworthy and 57 percent saying he cares about them.

What kind of questions are those?


And the perfect endorsement? 

An Obama resignation. Then Joe would be a sitting president going into the primaries.

NDU: Joe Biden’s case for Joe Biden