Top Democrats increasingly believe Joe Biden is going to enter the presidential race, setting up a battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
The Democrats — including former administration officials, strategists and donors — say they foresee the vice president causing a problem for Clinton, who has recently suffered a series of setbacks because of the email controversy that has plagued her campaign.
While one former senior aide to President Obama predicts that much of the bleeding and hemorrhaging for Clinton has passed since she apologized for using a private email server while secretary of State, “it solidified a storyline that she’s untrustworthy and she’s got stuff to hide and that could hurt her.”
“She hasn’t had time to move away from the narrative,” the former aide said. “It reaffirms all this shit about her that no one needs.”
And as one strategist and Clinton supporter said: “People are still really nervous about the email situation. They just don’t want to be left in the lurch. With the Clintons, you just don’t know where the other shoes are and when they’re going to drop.”
And that has created an opening for Biden for those who are “looking for the best alternative” to Clinton, the strategist said.
Should he decide to run, the foundation for a campaign is already in place.
Steve Schale, a Florida-based Democratic strategist who helped Obama win twice in the Sunshine State, recently signed on as an adviser to the super-PAC that is trying to sway Biden to run for president. The group, Draft Biden already has three to five paid staffers in each of the early states and recently ramped up its digital advertising.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to think this thing isn’t pretty wide open,” Schale said in an interview.
In recent days, the vice president has said he is in no rush to announce a decision to jump into the race. In an interview published Monday with America Media, a Catholic news organization, Biden said he was carefully weighing the decision with his family.
“You have no right, as an individual, to decide to run,” Biden said. “Your whole family is implicated, your whole family is engaged and so, for us, it’s a family decision. And I just have to be comfortable that this will be good for the family.”
Biden made similar comments when he appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” two weeks ago. At the time, he discussed how his son Beau Biden’s death in May had taken a toll on the family.
A CNN poll released Monday showed Clinton expanding her lead nationally against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a fellow contender for the Democratic nomination whom recent polls show is leading Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
The national poll was interesting in part because it suggested Biden’s entry into the race could hurt Clinton
It showed Clinton winning 42 percent of Democratic primary voters compared to 24 percent for Sanders and 22 percent for Biden. Clinton’s edge expanded, with the front-runner winning a majority of supporters, with Biden out of the race.
“Things are obviously very fluid with [Sanders] doing as well as he’s doing. I think there’s a lot of room for the vice president to grow,” Schale said.
SOURCE: Amie Parnes