Can you believe it? The clown that can’t keep his hands off of women and the faux Indian socialist could be pairing up for a White House run. We really are in the age of the low information voter when these two are seriously considering running and people are seriously considering voting for them. NUTS!
Joe Biden has been making his 2016 deliberations all about his late son since August.
Aug. 1, to be exact — the day renowned Hillary Clinton-critic Maureen Dowd published a column that marked a turning point in the presidential speculation.
ELIZABETH WARREN RANTS:
According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her, painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because “the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”
It was no coincidence that the preliminary pieces around a prospective campaign started moving right after that column. People read Dowd and started reaching out, those around the vice president would say by way of defensive explanation. He was just answering the phone and listening.
But in truth, Biden had effectively placed an ad in The New York Times, asking them to call.
Before that moment and since, Biden has told the Beau story to others. Sometimes details change — the setting, the exact words. The version he gave Dowd delivered the strongest punch to the gut, making the clearest swipe at Clinton by enshrining the idea of a campaign against her in the words of a son so beloved nationally that his advice is now beyond politics. This campaign wouldn’t be about her or her email controversy, the story suggests, but connected to righteousness on some higher plane.
Biden has portrayed his decision about a 2016 run as purely emotional, a question of whether he and has family have the strength. That’s a big part of it. But it’s not all of it.
By every account of those surrounding Biden, Beau is constantly on his father’s mind. But so are Clinton’s poll numbers — and his own, as the vice president notes in private details, such as the crosstab data that show him drawing more support from Clinton than Bernie Sanders. So is the prospect of what it would mean to run against a candidate who would make history as the first female nominee, and potentially first female president. So is knowing that the filing deadlines are quickly closing in and that he almost certainly has to decide in roughly the next week to make even a seat-of-the-pants campaign possible.
“Calculation sort of sounds crass, but I guess that’s what it is,” said one person who’s recently spoken to Biden about the prospect of running. “The head is further down the road than the heart is.”
And that’s how it’s been for a while.
At the end of August, while friends were still worrying aloud that he was in the worst mental state possible to be making this decision, he invited Elizabeth Warren for an unannounced Saturday lunch at the Naval Observatory. According to sources connected with Warren, he raised Clinton’s scheduled appearance at the House Benghazi Committee hearing at the end of October, even hinting that there might be a running-mate opening for the Massachusetts senator.
Biden and Warren were alone that afternoon, and those around them have been particularly secretive about the meeting. Warren’s spokesperson didn’t return requests for comment.
“His bet is that disaffection with Hillary will allow him to peel away some of her donors and operatives,” former Obama adviser David Axelrod, who’s spoken about the race with the vice president, told The Associated Press last week, trying to sum up the approach.
A month later, NBC News had sources saying Jill Biden, who’s been struggling with the decision and had been reported to be torn or even opposed, now wouldn’t stand in the way. Several Biden loyalists said they felt as though she’d been used by the people who’ve been working with the vice president’s overall blessing to add fuel to the speculation.
All of this maneuvering aside, people who are close to the process are surprised at how undetailed and improvisational the planning remains more than two months after Biden trial-ballooned this campaign via Dowd — a known Clinton antagonist, but who also has a history with Biden dating back to her time as one of the most aggressive reporters chasing the plagiarism scandal that ran him out of the 1988 race. (Dowd didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
Read more: POLITICO