Biden Touts Sanders Efforts on Income Inequality — Says Hillary ‘Relatively New’ to the Issue

In an interview with Gloria Borger that aired on Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “AC360,” Vice President Joe Biden weighed in on the contest between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Biden attempted to explain why Clinton was struggling early on and touted Sanders “credibility” on the issue of income inequality.

Partial transcript as follow:

BORGER: Now we see that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are actually running neck and neck in Iowa and in New Hampshire. Why do you think Hillary Clinton is struggling?

BIDEN: Well, first of all, I have been of the view and I don’t know that you and I talked about it. I don’t want to say that for certain but we may have. I thought for the last six months they were neck and neck in both places. I never bought the idea that they were somehow that — remember when he was up by 15 points in New Hampshire and he was down by 15 points? That’s not the way this process works as you and i both know. I’m much older than you but you covered a lot of this and so I’m not surprised that it is viewed as neck and neck but I’m also will be surprised if the pundits turn out to be right. They hardly ever are in Iowa and New Hampshire.

BORGER: Why is she struggling? You say we consider she was an overwhelming favorite and –

BIDEN: Well, I think that’s part of the reason.

BORGER: He’s a democratic socialist.

BIDEN: Yeah, but, you know, if Bernie Sanders never said he was a democratic socialist, based on what he’s saying people wouldn’t be calling him a democratic socialist. That’s how he characterizes himself in sort of European terms, democratic socialist parties in Europe but –

BORGER: But why is she having trouble?

BIDEN: Well, I think that Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real and he has credibility on it and that is the absolute enormous consultation of wealth in a small group of people with a middle class now being able to be shown being left out. There used to be a basic bargain. If you contributed to the profitability of enterprise, you got to share the profit. That’s been broken. Productivity is up. Wages are stagnant.

BORGER: But Hillary’s talking about that –

BIDEN: but it’s relatively new for Hillary to talk about that. Hillary’s focus has been other things up to now and that’s been Bernie’s — no one questions Bernie’s authenticity on those issues.

BORGER: And they question her?

BIDEN: Well, I think they question everybody’s who hasn’t been talking about it all along but I think she’s come forward with really thoughtful approaches to deal with the issue, but I just think — and look — you know, everybody, you know, it’s the old thing, no one — everybody wants to be the favorite. No one wants to be the prohibited favorite. And so it’s an awful high bar to meet the absolute prohibit of favorite. I don’t think she ever thought she was the prohibited favorite. I don’t — I think it’s everything is sort of coming down to earth, just settling in but it’s not over.

Biden went on to add there’s no likelihood of him entering the contest, even if Hillary Clinton were to lose both Iowa and New Hampshire.

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