Monday

November 18th, 2019

Insight

Biden leans on Obama, even without an endorsement

Jennifer Rubin

By Jennifer Rubin The Washington Post

Published May 1, 2019

Biden leans on Obama, even without an endorsement
 
  Bloomberg photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick
Joe Biden's greatest asset may be his service as President Barack Obama's vice president. Not only does that give Biden the real-world experience closest to the job he's auditioning for, but it also gives him the stamp of approval from Biden's old boss.

His latest ad, from the surprise 2017 ceremony for Biden's receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is an amalgam of Obama's praise and Biden's hopefulness.

If you didn't know better, you'd think Obama had endorsed Biden. In fact, Obama isn't picking anyone, leaving it up to the voters to select the nominee. However, his detailed and bountiful praise for Biden serves almost the same purpose. He even has a sentence in there reaffirming Biden's vitality. ("The best part is he's nowhere close to finished.")

Biden gets a popular president's not-quite-an-endorsement and a recounting of the issues he was responsible for during the Obama era. He reserves for himself talk about the future. "I am more optimistic about America's chances in the world today than I ever have been in my whole career. We've got to stand up. We've got to get out of our own way. We've got to lift our heads up," Biden says. "And remember who we are. We are the United States of America. There's not a single thing we can't do."


And now he has entered the race with a bang. CNN's poll puts him at 39 percent, Morning Consult gives him 36 percent and Quinnipiac finds him at 38 percent - all well above where he was before entering the race.

Biden is hitting all the right notes in the Quinnipiac poll: "56 percent say Biden has the best chance to beat President Donald Trump, followed by [Bernie] Sanders at 12 percent; 44 percent say Biden would be the best leader, with Sanders and [Elizabeth] Warren at 11 percent each; 23 percent say Biden has the best policy ideas, with Warren at 19 percent."

Biden's support among women (39 percent), nonwhites (42 percent) and older voters (48 percent), who have been more reliable primary voters, is especially impressive. (In all three polls Sanders has fallen back toward the pack with Warren and others.)

The greatest dangers for Biden might be complacency and the tendency to reminisce about the Obama years rather than looking ahead. But if those are the worst concerns, he's in pretty good shape, considering that we are nine months (an eternity in politics) from any ballots being cast. At this stage, we have a clear front-runner.

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