Posts Tagged Joe Biden

Biden Decides Not to Seek Democratic Party Presidential Nomination

Job Biden Rose Garden
Vice President Joe Biden won’t seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, ending months of deliberation and speculation and left the path open for Hillary Clinton.

The long process of grieving over the death of his son Beau has closed the window on any chance of mounting a presidential campaign, Biden said in a hastily arranged announcement Wednesday from the White House Rose Garden. President Barack Obama and Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, stood at his side.

“I couldn’t do this if the family wasn’t ready. The good news is the family has reached that point,” Biden said. “Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.”

Biden made the decision last night following months of deliberation and consultations with a close circle of advisers, according to a person close to the vice president. His announcement clarifies the choice before the party’s voters even as Clinton faces a challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and two other Democrats who are trying to position themselves as an alternative to the former secretary of state.

Clinton called Biden after the vice president’s announcement at the White House, her spokesman said, and in a statement, she called Biden “a good man and a great vice president.”

At 72, Biden has likely run his last campaign for elected office. He may be considered for secretary of state or other presidential nominations or appointments should Democrats prevail in next year’s general election. Biden served as a U.S. senator for 36 years and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 and 2008 before becoming Obama’s running mate.

He said he would continue to advocate for his policy priorities in the 2016 race, including limiting the influence of wealthy people in campaigns, reducing higher-education costs, bolstering middle-income families and reworking the tax code.

“I will not be silent,” Biden said Wednesday. “I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence, as much as I can, where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”

On the eve of his announcement, Biden spent the day at a tribute to former Vice President Walter Mondale and had a private lunch with Obama. At the tribute, he praised Mondale and former President Jimmy Carter for empowering the vice presidency and turning it into more of a partnership and casting his own relationship with Obama in those terms.

As he has at other recent events, Biden sought to frame his legacy and try to set some terms for the Democratic race. During a panel discussion, Biden recast how he counseled Obama about the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He said he wasn’t against the strike, as Clinton and even Biden himself had previously suggested. Instead, he said Tuesday that had sought to buy Obama time and space to decide while privately supporting a raid.

Biden spoke repeatedly about how close he and Obama are and how no other Cabinet official had the same bond. And he emphasized his view that any Democrat who considers Republicans to be the enemy is naive, an indirect jab at Clinton who said at last week’s Democratic debate that she considered Republicans among her enemies.

Looking ahead to the campaign, Biden said the Democratic nominee should carry the banner of the Obama presidency into the general election.

“This party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy,” Biden said in the Rose Garden. “Democrats should not only defend this record and protect this record, they should run on this record.”

Biden always left open the possibility of running in 2016 when Obama’s second term was up. The vice president saw his eldest child, Beau, a military veteran who served as Delaware’s attorney general and planned to run for governor, as the successor to his political legacy and a future presidential contender.

Biden said today that he would spend the remainder of his vice presidency pressing for legislation “to end cancer as we know it today.” “I know there are Democrats and Republicans on the Hill who share our passion to silence this deadly disease,” he said. “If I could be anything, I would have wanted to have been the president who ended cancer, because it’s possible.”

Biden and his aides were confident he was better poised for a presidential bid after seven years as Obama’s understudy than in his two previous attempts, and felt that he better represented Democratic Party ideals than Clinton and could be less divisive in a general election. But was Biden emotionally ready for the toll of a campaign?

“Its obvious to me that the pain is very deep within him,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said in an interview at the Capitol shortly after Biden’s announcement. “I think he did the right thing.”

Biden was up against societal forces of change and a hunger in the Democratic Party for the first woman president to follow the first black president. He also faced a formidable opponent in Clinton, a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, who was amassing talented operatives, major donors and an organizational structure as Biden focused on and later grieved for his son.

Nor did there seem to be a hunger among voters for Biden to enter the race. In a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll, Biden placed a distant third behind Clinton and Sanders.

Biden lacked a strong base of support in Iowa, the first caucus state and the place where his 2008 bid died. If he were to run, his success would hinge on winning South Carolina. Even then, his path likely would have required sizable portions of the Democratic establishment to abandon Clinton.

Biden’s third place showing in most polls has “more to do with how strong her and Bernie’s hold is on their voters,” said Joe Trippi, a chief strategist for Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean in 2004 and John Edwards in 2008. That, he added, would have made it harder for Biden to go on the attack against his potential rivals.

“He’s going to go out at an all-time high, and everybody’s heart is with him all the way,” Feinstein said.

“To a great extent the die is cast” in the Democratic nomination, she added. “It’s one thing if our nominee or if Hillary, for example, were going down. She isn’t, she’s going up.”


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Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb Drops Out of Democratic Party Presidential Race

Jim  webb drops outFormer U.S. Senator Jim Webb said on Tuesday he intended to drop out of the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and explore an independent run for the White House.

Webb, whose struggling campaign barely registered in opinion polls, said he would spend the next few weeks talking to people and groups who have urged him to mount an independent candidacy.

“I am not going away; I’m thinking about all my options,” Webb, 69, told a news conference, acknowledging that his more conservative political views were out of line with Democratic Party leaders and primary voters.

The former senator from Virginia said Americans were “disgusted” with the highly partisan nature of campaigns and he believed there was growing room for an “honest broker” who could bridge the political divide.

“Americans don’t like the extremes to which both parties have moved in recent years and, quite frankly, neither do I,” he said.

Webb’s departure will have no impact on the Democratic race by four active candidates, led by front-runner Hillary Clinton. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to decide soon whether he will jump into the primary contest preceding the November 2016 election.

Webb was not an active presence on the campaign trail, and his participation in the first Democratic debate last week was notable for his repeated complaints about his lack of air time more than for any policy statements.

The decorated war hero, who served in the Vietnam War and was secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan, is known for outspoken critiques of U.S. foreign policy and unswerving support for American troops serving overseas.

But his views on gun rights, taxes and other social issues were much more conservative than most Democratic contenders.

Webb said he was aware of the history of poor performance of other independent candidates in recent presidential races but thought 2016 could be different.

“Because of the paralysis in our two parties, there is a time when conceivably an independent candidacy actually could win. And those are the questions we’re going to be asking,” he said.

Webb was elected to the Senate in 2006 but left after one six-year term. He is the author of 10 books, and an Emmy award- winning journalist and filmmaker.

In early July, when W ebb announced his candidacy, he argued that fair debate is often drowned out by the huge sums of money funneled to candidates, both directly and indirectly.

“We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process,” he said at the time. “Our elected officials need to get back to the basics of good governance and to remember that their principal obligations are to protect our national interests abroad and to ensure a level playing field here at home, especially for those who otherwise have no voice in the corridors of power.”

This electoral ailment, to which Webb apparently hoped to be the antidote, appears to have been the death knell of his campaign.

He has had trouble raising enough money to pose a legitimate threat to either Clinton or Sanders. A recent filing, reported by Politico, revealed that Webb had raised only $696,972.18 and had $316,765.34 cash on hand. Contrast that with the $29,921,653.91 raised by Clinton or the $26,216,430.38 raised by Sanders.


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Hillary’s Support Continues Downward Slide in Polls

Hillary  clintonJust days before she will take the stage in the first Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton’s lead over rival Bernie Sanders has narrowed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Clinton’s support among Democratic voters fell 10 points within less than a week.

From October 4 to October 9, Clinton saw her support tumble from 51 percent of Democratic support to just 41 percent.

Her nearest competitors, Vermont Senator Sanders and Vice President of the U.S. Joe Biden, who has yet to decide whether he will run, both made gains. Support for Sanders jumped from just over 24 percent to 28 percent, and Biden rose from 16 percent to a even 20 percent in the same time period.

This is not the first time that Clinton’s support has taken a steep nosedive. Just last month, Sanders edged within eight points of the former secretary of state — Clinton at 39 percent; Sanders at 31.

Clinton, who was the Democratic front-runner when she announced her bid for the White House in April, has faced increasing scrutiny over her email use, including a personal computer server set up at her home in New York, and faces several inquiries in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Clinton has apologized over the email issue and has said she had turned over all her work emails from her time as the nation’s top diplomat for the State Department to review and make public, which it is doing in batches.

In the same October 9 polling, other Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination, former governors Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley, as well as former Senator Jim Webb, all received less than three percent of Democratic support respectively.

The October 9 survey includes 624 respondents and has a credibility interval of 4.5 percent.


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Biden Looks Set to Miss First Democratic Presidential Debate

Joe Biden Campaigns In South FloridaVice President Joe Biden has extended his window for deciding whether to jump into the 2016 presidential campaign, several Democrats say, allowing the contest to play out even longer before he answers one of the biggest questions hanging over the race for the White House.

He is not preparing for the first Democratic debate on October 13 in Las Vegas and is not expected to participate, people close to him say, because he feels no pressure to reach a decision by then. He is likely to reveal his plans in the second half of October.

For more than two months, Biden has been studying the mechanics of what it would take to launch a candidacy. He and his team have been inundated by mounds of research and battle plans, but his original end-of-summer deadline passed without him reaching a conclusion.

Campaign managers in key early-voting states have already been identified. Dozens of major donors have stepped forward. Domestic and foreign policy advisers are waiting in the wings.

The speculation about Biden’s future has reached a fever pitch, fueled by Democrats searching for an alternative to Hillary Clinton or a backup plan in case her candidacy falters. But with every passing week, many Democrats close to Biden are hardening in their beliefs that he will ultimately decide against challenging Clinton and the rest of the party’s field.

He has stopped short of asking his advisers to actually pull the trigger on any of their plans-in-waiting, including setting up the legal structure of a campaign organization and taking steps to qualify for ballots in Michigan, Texas and other states with early deadlines.

Biden has said he would only run if he was certain he had a path to victory, several Democrats who have spoken to him say, a hurdle that he increasingly believes is within reach. But he is still unsure whether he and his family are ready for the campaign’s emotional toll, these Democrats say, which he has said is the chief benchmark for running.

Yet in conversations with nearly two-dozen Democrats close to Biden, the same caveat emerges: He simply hasn’t made up his mind. His closest circle of advisers is small enough to fit around his kitchen table and Biden is keeping limited counsel on this decision, which is why several people close to him urge caution against prejudging his final decision.

Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, who has known Biden for decades and served alongside him in the Senate, said he believes the vice president is growing closer to a verdict. But he said the timeline isn’t as imminent as it once seemed.

“If you would have asked me several months ago, I would have said he should decide by the beginning of October,” Carper said. “But as time goes by, his numbers continue to improve and more and more people want him to run. I don’t think he has to do something this week. This month? Yeah.”

While Clinton has gone to great lengths to give the vice president space to make his decision, some of her loyalists quietly wonder whether the growing chatter about a Biden candidacy has contributed to an erosion of support in recent weeks. Some even go as far as suggesting that Biden could be playing the role of a spoiler.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton supporter, said Biden still deserves time to announce his intentions. He said he did not believe Biden’s process has damaged caused Clinton political damage.

“I don’t think he’s trying to artificially take more time than he needs,” Kaine said in an interview this week. “You have to respect his timing, but as days go by, some things get harder for him, practical things like getting on the ballot.”

The prospect of Biden jumping into the 2016 race has been a lingering question,  and, at times, a punchline from late-night television shows to his appearances this week at the United Nations.

The Biden decision is the biggest uncertainty on the Democratic side of the presidential race. His deliberations, which have unfolded in an unusually public fashion over the last two months, have drawn more people to his side through the Draft Biden movement, which has exploded with interest in early-voting states and across the country.

Some donors who have met with Biden have walked away absolutely convinced he is running, while other longtime friends seem equally certain he will not.

But Biden has been uncharacteristically quiet about his decision, according to several people who chatted with him in recent weeks at the Naval Observatory, his official residence. He rarely weighs the pros and cons of a run in public, they say, but seems more eager to be surrounded by familiar faces as he continues to grieve his oldest son Beau, who died of cancer only four months ago.

The best guide to Biden’s thinking, several people close to him say, can be found by carefully studying his own words, rather than listening to the growing chatter about the possibility of his candidacy. In two televised interviews last month, he voiced skepticism about whether he was ready to plunge into another bid for the presidency.

“It’s just not there yet and it may not get there in time to make it feasible to be able to run and succeed, because there are certain windows that will close,” Biden said in a September interview, “But if that’s it, that’s it. It’s not like I can rush it.”


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Hillary Tries to Thread The Needle Over Debate Criticism

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton told reporters that she would participate in additional presidential debates if the party’s national committee sanctioned them, opening the door to more public contests between the Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has repeatedly called for more than the six debates than the Democratic National Committee has sanctioned and used a speech before the committee in August to blast the decision as biased towards Clinton. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has joined O’Malley in those calls.

“I debated a lot in 2008 and I would certainly be there with lots of enthusiasm and energy if (the DNC) decide to add more debates,” Clinton said during a press conference in Portsmouth. “And I think that’s the message a lot of people are sending their way.”

The comment is a departure from what Clinton has said about debates in the past. When asked by reporters in August about the debate schedule, Clinton said she would not comment on scheduling.

The debate issue has dominated much of what O’Malley, who is polling in the basement and is struggling to establish himself in the race has talked about for the last few weeks.

“Is this how the Democratic Party selects its nominee, or are we becoming something else, something less?” he asked the DNC in August. On a radio show after his remarks, O’Malley called his party the “Undemocratic Party.”

The DNC announced earlier this year that there would be six sanctioned debates on its side, with the first coming in October.

DNC officials have said it is highly unlikely that the party sanctions any more debates, even with O’Malley’s complaints. It is also unlikely, they said, that the party will loosen their rules that stipulate any candidate who participates in a debate not sanctioned by the DNC will be barred from future contests.

Sanders has not been as vocal as O’Malley about debates, but has called for the DNC to sanction more of them.

“I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits when we have debates,” Sanders said in August. “And I want to see more of them.”

At the DNC meeting in August, Sanders said he would support debates sponsored by “groups that representing different constituencies,” including trade unions, gay rights groups and women’s organizations.

The back-and-forth between Clinton and other Democratic candidates about debates is a flip of the back-and-forth between the former first lady and then-Sen. Barack Obama.

In 2008, Clinton repeatedly called on Obama to sanction more debates.

“I think it’s a shame that Senator Obama will not agree to debates in Indiana and North Carolina,” Clinton said in 2008. “I’ve accepted any and all debates in both states because most people really want to see us. We’ve only had four debates between the two of us, and now it is down to the two of us. I think that voters are right to want to have a debate.”



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Hillary, Her Email and The Scandal That Just Won’t Go Away

HillaryDemocratic Front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says her use of a private email system at the State Department wasn’t the “best choice” and acknowledged she didn’t “stop and think” about her email set-up when she became President Barack Obama’s secretary of state in 2009.

The Democratic presidential front-runner said in an interview with NBC News that she was immediately confronted by a number of global hotspots after joining the new Obama administration as its top diplomat and didn’t think much about her email after arriving at her new job.

“You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world,” Clinton said. “I didn’t really stop and think what kind of email system will there be?”

But Clinton did not apologize for her decision when asked directly, “Are you sorry?” Instead, she again said she wishes she had “made a different choice” and that she takes responsibility for the decision to use a private email account and server based at her home in suburban New York.

She added it was a choice that should not raise questions about her judgment.

“I am very confident that by the time this campaign has run its course, people will know that what I’ve been saying is accurate,” Clinton said, adding: “They may disagree, as I now disagree, with the choice that I made. But the facts that I have put forth have remained the same.”

Republicans criticized Clinton’s unwillingness to apologize for the decision and said it underscored polls which have shown large numbers of people questioning her trustworthiness. “What’s clear is Hillary Clinton regrets that she got caught and is paying a political price, not the fact her secret email server put our national security at risk,” said Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

The Washington Post reported Friday night that the Clintons personally paid a State Department employee, Bryan Pagliano, to maintain the private email server she used while secretary of state. Earlier this week Pagliano told a House committee investigating Clinton’s use of the email server that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called to testify.

The subject of emails led off a wide-ranging NBC interview that included Vice President Joe Biden’s interest in a potential Democratic primary bid, Clinton’s plans to address the Iran nuclear deal and her views of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Following a summer in which both Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination, drew large campaign audiences, Clinton sought to cast her candidacy as one rooted in tackling the problems “that keep families up at night.”

When asked about Donald Trump, Clinton suggested that Trump, the leading GOP candidate at this juncture, did not have the temperament to lead the nation and conduct foreign policy. “Loose talk, threats, insults, they have consequences. So I’m going to conduct myself as I believe is appropriate for someone seeking the highest office in our country,” she said.

“Because I think you can come with your own ideas and you can, you know, wave your arms and give a speech, but at the end of the day, are you connecting with and really hearing what people are either saying to you or wishing that you would say to them?” she said.

Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs responded: “Bernie is doing more than attracting large crowds. He has a concrete set of proposals to take on the billionaire class and rebuild the disappearing middle class. That’s what people are responding to.”

Clinton’s interview comes as current and former aides are testifying before a congressional panel investigating the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks. The committee has also delved into Clinton’s email practices at the State Department. She is scheduled to testify publicly before the panel next month.

Clinton in August handed over to the FBI her private server only after a subpoena was issued. The private server was used by her and her staff to send, receive and store emails during her four years as secretary of state. Clinton has said she set up her own system instead of using a State Department account for the convenience of using a single Blackberry device.

But her comments that she didn’t stop to think about setting up a private email server in her home belied the careful planning and technical sophistication required to set up, operate, maintain and protect a private server effectively — especially one responsible for the confidential communications of the U.S. government’s top diplomat as she traveled the globe.

Even homebrew servers typically require careful configuration, Internet registration, data backups, regular security audits and a secondary power supply in case of electrical problems.

In the interview, Clinton said, as she has in the past, that she “should have had two accounts, one for personal and one for work-related.”

Thousands of pages of her emails publicly released in recent months have shown that Clinton received messages that were later determined to contain classified information, including some that contained material regarding the production and dissemination of U.S. intelligence.

But Clinton reiterated that she did not “send or receive any material marked classified. We dealt with classified material on a totally different system. I dealt with it in person.”

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Biden Democratic Choice If Growing Email Scandal Forces Hillary Out

Hillary Rodham ClintonU.S. Democratic voters would choose Vice President Joe Biden as their preferred candidate for president in 2016 if current frontrunner Hillary Clinton shows signs of faltering, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

More than 38 percent of Democrats polled said they would vote for Biden in the Democratic Party nominating contest, if polling indicated that Clinton would lose to a Republican candidate.

Thirty percent of Democratic voters said they would back liberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders should Clinton, a former secretary of state, run into trouble, according to the tracking poll conducted from Aug. 28 through Sept. 1.

Fewer than a quarter of voters said they would stick by Clinton. The survey suggested that while Clinton’s support is broad, voters are far from committed, which could indicate risks for her if Biden were to jump into the race.

Biden has been consulting with advisers over whether he should launch a 2016 presidential bid. With the first Democratic presidential primary debate planned for Oct. 13, Biden is under pressure to make a decision within the next few weeks.

A total of 499 people who identified themselves as Democrats took part in the poll, which had a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.

Clinton remains the top choice for Democratic voters, with more than 44 percent favoring the former first lady, according to Tuesday’s Reuters/Ipsos polling data. Sanders had the support of a quarter of those surveyed, and Biden almost 17 percent.

But Clinton’s lead narrowed in recent days as her polling numbers fell below 50 percent in August and as Sanders, a self-described socialist, drew a bit closer.

Sanders’ campaign has focused on wealth inequality and the economic struggles of the middle class. He has drawn large crowds and has appeared to gain traction especially among students, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

Every few days it seems, there is another signal that Vice President Joe Biden might be getting ready to do something that would have seemed unthinkable at this time last year, challenge the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

In the latest indication that a major political bombshell could be coming after Labor Day, Biden said this during a conference call with Democratic Party members when someone asked if his future plans included a third run at the White House.

“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul,” Biden said. “And right now, both are pretty well banged up.”

Still grieving the recent death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer, Biden acknowledged that he is making this important decision in consultation with family members.

“I’m not trying to skirt your question. That’s the truth of the matter, but believe me, I’ve given this a lot of thought and dealing internally with the family on how we do this,” he added.

There is rampant speculation in political circles that Biden could decide to “do this” by late September or early October.

Voters in various polls have said they lack trust in Clinton as she struggles with a controversy over her use of a private email server for official business during her tenure as the top U.S. diplomat.

The FBI is investigating the security of the private server and any classified information on it. Clinton says she did nothing wrong and only used the private account out of convenience.

An August interview survey of 22 voters who had participated in Reuters/Ipsos polling and supported Biden found many of them describing the vice president as “honest,” “genuine” and “trustworthy.”


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