Joe Biden lashes out at reporter for questioning size of Iowa crowd

August 22, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden is clearly the front-runner among the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders in the vast majority of polls, and on paper, he is certainly the presumptive nominee to take on President Donald Trump. But in reality, Biden’s campaign has not been going particularly well.

Biden’s lead in the polls has been shrinking, he utters a new ridiculous gaffe or two nearly every day, and the crowds he’s drawing to his events are nothing to get excited about. And it was that issue with crowd size that led to Biden’s latest blunder: the former VP was put on the spot by reporters after he bragged about drawing bigger crowds than any other Democratic candidate in Iowa on Tuesday.

Biden called out

Fox News reported that Biden had just returned to the campaign trail after nearly a week off — ostensibly for rest, most likely to save him from inevitably committing more gaffes — when he began to brag about the size of the crowds he’s drawn to his stump events.

The boast came after the former vice president expressed concern over reports that some other candidates — such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — had recently begun to draw crowds numbering in the several hundreds to thousands.

“What I’m trying to do is go around from town to town. And I’m drawing as big of crowds — bigger than anybody,” Biden replied. “Have you seen anybody draw bigger crowds than me here in this state?”

At least one, if not more, of the reporters and others gathered around Biden responded with an audible “yes” to his question about bigger crowds, likely to Biden’s chagrin.

Fact-checking

One of those who was unafraid to do a live fact-check on Biden’s claim was Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, who pointed out that Warren had drawn a crowd of at least a thousand at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, in January.

Doocy noted in a report afterward that Biden appeared less than pleased to have been called out, and he claimed that Biden had even singled him out moments later to make his displeasure known.

The reporter said Biden told him directly: “I mean, I know you, I know you’re going to go after me no matter what I’ve got. Yeah, you and it’s OK. Good. I’m a big boy. I can handle it.”

But a “big boy” who can “handle it” wouldn’t be snarkily lashing out at a journalist for insisting on accuracy, especially when the facts clearly show that Biden is drawing crowds in the dozens, while Warren is increasingly bringing in audiences that are considerably larger.

Warren gains ground

As things stand now, the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Biden with 28.8% support and a comfortable lead of nearly 13 points over his closest rivals, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Warren, who were second and third with 16% and 15.4% support, respectively.

Consider, however, that Biden’s lead just a few months ago was nearly 30 points, and his level of support has steadily diminished, while Warren’s has been consistently increasing. That might explain why the supposedly calm and stable candidate has such a short fuse with reporters who call him out over claims that are easily proven false.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.