After years of speculation and false starts, it appears that Thursday is the day when Joe Biden will finally announce...Keep reading...
Joe Biden unintentionally announces presidential run, quickly backpedals
Marc Nozell / CCL
Joe Biden is running for president — or is he?
The former VP told Democrats in his home state of Delaware on Saturday that he was “running” for president, but quickly corrected himself.
“I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United… — anybody who would run,” Biden said at the First State Democratic Dinner in Delaware.
Biden was speaking at a fundraising dinner for Delaware Democrats at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. The slip-up set off an eruption of applause from Democrats who immediately recognized the elephant in the room, leaving Biden to swiftly attempt to tamp down the excitement.
“I didn’t mean,” Biden said, making the sign of the cross over himself. “Of anybody who would run,” he emphasized.
But few will be convinced by Biden’s demure denial. “Uncle Joe” has been playing coy about his presidential ambitions for weeks, and he is expected to announce his candidacy soon.
Early polling shows him to be the frontrunner, trailed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), and Sen. Chris Coons (DE) said that Biden told him “he is all but certain he is going to run.”
Mistake, or not?
Was Biden’s slip just a mistake or a taste of Uncle Joe’s “aw, shucks, this isn’t really about me, it’s about the country” routine?
Biden has certainly been speaking like a presidential candidate, telling members of a firefighters’ union last week to “save [the energy] a little longer. I may need it in a few weeks.” He has said that he is the most qualified to run and the only Democrat who can beat Trump.
Furthermore, his defense of his “progressive record” certainly sounds like a response to critics who say he isn’t progressive enough to carry the mantle of a party that has lurched far-left in the past two years. If Biden does ru , he will join a crowded field of younger, diverse candidates, and he seems to be acutely aware of his place as an aging, white male centrist in a party that is moving in new directions.
“I know I get criticized. I’m told I get criticized by the new left,” he said. “I have the most progressive record of anybody running…anybody who would run.”
Some Democrats will surely question the claim that Biden, a centrist Democrat who is comfortable with the establishment, has the “most progressive record” in a crowded field of candidates that includes the likes of Sens. Kamala Harris (CA) and Elizabeth Warren (MA). Biden further fueled speculation over his 2020 run last week when he met with liberal upstart Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost her bid last fall to become the first black female governor in American history.
Lacking the diversity and progressive credentials of some of his competitors, Biden is projecting a message centered on dumping Trump, billing himself as a civil peacemaker who will restore the values the current president has supposedly destroyed. A fierce and frequent critic of Trump, Biden once said he would have liked to beat him up schoolyard-style over his comments about women.
For his part, Trump has said he would relish the opportunity to run against Biden, whom he called a “low IQ individual” after the weekend slip-up, tweeting:
Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for President. Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2019
Biden’s “aw shucks” piousness is also undercut by his newfound wealth. The Democrats speak as though he’s still a member of the middle class — telling supporters that he is “Middle Class Joe” — but he has made millions of dollars since leaving the White House from books and speaking engagements.
Despite his newly-minted millionaire status, Biden hasn’t forgotten his humble origins. The ideal Joe Average told the crowd Saturday that he “stopped his driver” on the way to the dinner so he could give “whatever was in my pocket” to a homeless woman. When the audience dutifully began to clap like seals, Biden insisted, “No, no, no. It’s not about me.” Aw, shucks!
Uncle Joe must have forgotten that old passage about not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. But it doesn’t seem like his tongue knows what his brain is doing either.
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