Minnesota Congressman Dean Philips ruffled a lot of feathers when he announced his plans to run against Joe Biden in the Democratic primary.

On Saturday, he pushed back against claims that he is responsible for Joe Biden’s problems, comparing his campaign to that of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who challenged Jimmy Carter’s re-election in 1980.

From CNN:

Phillips is escalating his long-shot presidential primary challenge to President Joe Biden, vowing to invest as much of his multimillion-dollar fortune as it takes to win.

His defiance comes in the face of overwhelming rejection from his fellow Democrats, a reaction so fast and furious Phillips believes he’s torpedoed his own congressional career.

“I think in 2020, (President Biden) was probably the only Democrat who could have beaten Donald Trump. I think in 2024, he may be among the only ones that will lose to him. And that’s why I’m doing this,” Phillips told CNN in a lengthy interview Saturday.


Phillips says he’s likely tanked his future in Democratic politics by taking on Biden in what his critics say is a quixotic presidential primary challenge. But the angry reactions from his own party seem to motivate him.

Biden’s “approval numbers are historically low, rivaling only Jimmy Carter, who got slaughtered, of course, in that election,” Phillips said, referring to President Carter’s general election loss in 1980 after he faced a primary challenge from Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. “[Carter] had a Democratic primary challenger because he was going to get slaughtered in the election. It’s the same circumstance again. Ted Kennedy did not cause Jimmy Carter’s problems. I did not cause President Biden’s problems.”

And Phillips launched a direct attack on one of the core messages of Biden’s reelection campaign: “Bidenomics is not working. It is actually the opposite. It represents inflation, high prices,” he said.

If after March 6 – known as “Super Tuesday,” when dozens of delegates are up for grabs – Phillips hasn’t come out ahead, he says, he’ll get out of the race and campaign for the Democratic nominee.

And he says he won’t run as a third-party candidate.

“I’m running in a primary. I’m not doing what Cornel West is doing, not doing what Jill Stein is doing, not doing what Joe Manchin might do,” Phillips said. “If the president beats me in New Hampshire and Michigan, all around the country, that’s good. He looks strong. If I force the president to have to get out and campaign basically for the first time — because he didn’t have to campaign in 2020 — and he appears well, and he debates and he’s strong, makes a good case, that’s good for him.”

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