Hillary Clinton is gearing up for war against Joe Biden.
Though Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has refrained from bashing Biden in public, the competition between the former First Lady and the current vice president has the makings of a steel-cage match. Clinton’s email scandal is starting to have real legal implications for her, and Bernie Sanders is holding his own in New Hampshire. Clinton’s inevitability is gone. The door is open for Joe.
Biden’s presence looms over the race. The White House offered him explicit support. The Hill cites top Democrats predicting that he’ll jump in soon. Jimmy Fallon did a “Pros and Cons of a Joe Biden Presidency” bit, while the vice president himself told Stephen Colbert that he was considering a run but was putting family and emotional considerations first following the death of his son Beau.
Here are the signs that Clinton-world is freaking out, and that a Clinton-Biden matchup would be downright vicious:
Clinton ’16 chairman John Podesta is a paranoid man when it comes to this campaign. He was recently caught at a liquor store fretting on the phone that Jeb Bush’s people were going to out-fundraise him. But now he’s paranoid about Biden.
Podesta threw some shade at Biden last week in a super PAC donor meeting.
“Mr. Podesta suggested that the Clinton campaign has a strong operation in Nevada, a caucus state just after Iowa and New Hampshire, and he questioned whether Mr. Biden would be able to build a strong organization at this late date,” The New York Times reported.
Podesta is a longtime Clinton loyalist. When Bill Clinton held a press conference outside the White House the night he got impeached vowing to fight back against Republicans, his chief of staff Podesta was there by his side. Podesta’s work running the Center for American Progress over the past fifteen years has laid the financial and intellectual groundwork for progressive-left activism. It must be hard for him to see that progressive infrastructure – first in 2008 when Obama ran and now during Sanders’ campaign – turn against the Clintons. The last thing he wants to see is Joe Biden, the old Delaware senator and two-time presidential also-ran, usurp Hillary’s throne.
Clinton Camp Leaking Oppo
Politico reported, based on sources in the Clinton and Biden camps, that the Clinton campaign is eyeing Biden with suspicion. Biden suspects that some stuff about his past record was leaked by the Clinton camp to the press for negative coverage. Clinton operatives, of course, are well known for distributing opposition research, as they did in the 2008 primary against Barack Obama.
Speaking of opposition research, it was Politico, a publication known for its Clinton campaign access and corresponding pro-Clinton bias, that ran a bizarre, barely-reported story Monday declaring that Biden has an “Anita Hill” problem.
Biden presided over Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Thomas got confirmed even though his former employee Anita Hill made herself famous for launching unconfirmed allegations of workplace sexual harassment at the conservative-leaning judge. Now Politico says that could hurt Biden.
“Biden almost apologetically gave Thomas the benefit of the doubt, critics say, and that stance helped put Thomas on the Supreme Court,” Politico reporter Edward Isaac-Dovere wrote in the weird speculative article. “Ever since, for many women and blacks, Hill’s name conjures an image of a black woman struggling under attack by a dozen powerful white men asking aggressive questions and questioning her character. If Biden decides to run for president, his path to the Democratic nomination requires him to stand in the way of the woman who could be the first female president — and issues of sex and gender will be on the table whether either side likes it or not.”
That, my friends, is called a media hit job.
Biden’s recent meeting with Democratic bundler and Clinton supporter Robert Wolf highlights a very important issue: Clinton’s bundlers are vulnerable to being stolen by another candidate.
By the end of last month, only 52 of 770 Obama re-election bundlers were already working as bundlers for Hillary or had raised money for her. That’s less than seven percent.
Clinton only has 125 bundlers listed as $100,000-or–more “Hillblazers” right now on her website. And at least one of them, Imaad Zuberi, is at the center of a Justice Department investigation because he didn’t disclose consulting fees that he got from Sri Lanka.
If the bundlers get nervous about the Clinton email investigation, Biden already has the White House pedigree and Obama-world connections to swoop in and get their support.
Howard Dean Is On The Warpath
Howard Dean is a Clinton campaign surrogate. The former Democratic National Committee chairman also does not think highly of a potential Biden campaign.
“Does he want to run for president and lose?” Dean told a reporter at the Massachusetts party convention.”History is not so kind to vice presidents who have lost…He’s never been above 3 percent in Iowa in his entire political career and he’s run twice before. I like Joe Biden. I’m not trying to trash him.”
No, of course not.
Barney Frank Is Also On The Warpath
“There’s something about him that doesn’t look presidential. It would be a mistake for him to do that.”
Claire McCaskill, It Seems, Is On The Warpath, Too
Senator Claire McCaskill is a Hillary Clinton surrogate. And she said mean things about Biden:
Trump Thinks Biden Will Be The Guy
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump predicted that the Clinton campaign would collapse and that Joe Biden would be his eventual Democratic opponent in the general election.
“It just looks like Hillary is going to not be able to run. It looks to me like that’s what’s going to happen,” Trump told Breitbart News’ Matthew Boyle in an exclusive interview, noting that he thinks Biden will be the nominee.
“I think it’s unlikely if you look at what she’s done,” Trump said. “What she’s done is ten times worse than what General Petraeus did—far more sensitive documents, top-of-the-line sensitive documents, far more of them. What she did is ten times worse. It destroyed him, so I don’t see how she’s going to possibly be able to run. It’s pretty conclusive right now, too.”
Almost eight years ago exactly, in September 2007, Democrats were actually having debates. And Joe Biden proved that he was able to take off the gloves and attack Hillary Clinton to her face. Specifically, Biden said that Clinton and other Democrats on the stage would not be able to pass health-care reform like the bill that eventually became Obamacare.
“But let’s be frank about this. What’s changed to make you think that Hillary’s going to be able to pull together 15 percent of the Republicans to join her” on health care, Biden said, referring to Clinton’s failed 1993 attempt to pass universal health care legislation.
There is a man named Dick Harpootlian, and he has one of the most significant political records in the history of the Democratic Party. Because Harpootlian, former South Carolina party chair, supported Barack Obama in the 2008 primary. And Harpootlian came out and publicly accused Bill Clinton of playing racial dirty politics when he compared Obama’s campaign to the Jesse Jackson campaigns of the 1980’s. Harpootlian said that Clinton was trying to “suppress the vote.”
Obama’s victory in the South Carolina primary – against the backdrop of Bill Clinton calling into a radio show to accuse Obama of “playing the race card on me” – swung the nomination away from Hillary Clinton. Two days later, though Bill Clinton begged him on the phone not to, Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama. Barack Obama went on to select Joe Biden as his running mate, and Obama-Biden governed for eight years while Clinton watched mostly on the sidelines.
When it came time for Biden to reach out to supporters in advance of a possible run, just a few weeks ago, Joe Biden called up his golf buddy Dick Harpootlian.
“I think the only way Democrats maintain control of the White House will be Joe Biden,” Harpootlian said.
Biden has his own friends and his own strategy. And some of those friends don’t care for the Clintons.
Biden Always Wanted It
Lest we forget, Joe Biden ran for president in 1987. 28 years ago this month, Biden dropped out of the Democratic primary race amid a plagiarism scandal. The press excoriated him for apparently borrowing some lines in a speech by British Labour Party politico Neil Kinnock.
28 long years later, Biden is closer than he’s ever been to reversing that mistake and finally laying claim to the Democratic Party presidential nomination. The temptation must be unbearable.