Boston Herald, “Advisers Say Joe Biden’s Team Was Ready for Prez Race,” October 22, 2015
By Chris Cassidy
Vice President Joe Biden’s would-be political campaign had the money, the field organization and the staff to launch a competitive run for the Democratic nomination — it just didn’t have Joe Biden himself, his advisers told the Herald.
“I really thought up until this weekend that he was running,” said longtime Biden strategist Larry Rasky. “And I’m kind of sad that he’s not. I think he made the right decision at the end of the day because emotionally he wasn’t 100 percent there. This isn’t the kind of thing you can do half-heartedly.”
Citing the healing process following the death of his son Beau Biden, the vice president ruled out a White House run during a speech in the Rose Garden yesterday.
One Biden adviser told the Herald the vice president’s political team had an effective structure in place to quickly launch an organization and identify donors, even with the short timetable between now and the early nominating contests next year.
“The money was there. … Everything was moving in the right direction,” said the adviser, who dismissed the idea the decision hinged on a major Hillary Clinton campaign implosion. “He wasn’t going to get in the race because of her problems. He was going to run on the legacy of the Obama administration and because he felt he was the right person.”
But another Democratic insider said Biden realized he lacked any clear lane to the nomination that wasn’t already occupied by Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Where was the room for him to actually win the nomination?” the Democrat said. “I think they realistically took a look at it — it’s a huge undertaking to create a presidential campaign and raise money and go through endorsements and put together policy issues. … At the end of the day, you have to ask, ‘Do I want to live and breathe this every day for the next 15 months?’ ”
Many pundits scored the Biden news as a victory for Clinton, whose national poll numbers typically strengthen when Biden is not included as a candidate.
But that’s not true in New Hampshire, where Monday’s Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll showed Sanders’ 8-point lead actually grow to 10 points over Clinton when Biden is not factored in.
“Sanders wants to move the party to the left, and New Hampshire is great for that,” said Franklin Pierce political science professor Frank Cohen. “It’s a great place to be an issue candidate.”
If Biden endorsed anyone in the primary — still a big if — he’d almost certainly back Clinton, said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia.
“Biden’s people suggested that one reason he didn’t challenge Clinton is because he did not want to be seen as an obstacle to electing the first woman president,” said Sabato, who predicts the VP will endorse the former first lady.
“If a Democrat wins the election, we might see him do a victory lap as secretary of state,” said Chris Galdieri of St. Anselm College. “It’s possible.”
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