U.S. Politics

Vice President Biden Nails Down Exactly Why Trump Was Able To Beat Hillary Clinton

Vice President Biden Nails Down Exactly Why Trump Was Able To Beat Hillary Clinton

MSNBC Screengrab


In an ideal world where politics is centered around issues that matter, Hillary Clinton – not Trump – would be getting sworn in next week.

It’s been over two months since Donald Trump won enough electoral votes to defeat Hillary Clinton and become president, but there is still widespread disagreement about how it could possibly happen.

Many people blame Clinton for her flaws as a candidate, even though she won nearly 3 million more popular votes than Trump.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden rejected some of these theories and nailed down exactly why Trump was able to squeak by last November.


Biden said:

Look, he lost the popular vote, but for 175,000 votes in three states, it would be a different outcome. So there’s a thousand reasons why you could attribute our candidate’s loss … It could be what happened with the FBI, it could be a whole range of things. But, you know, this is one election where I don’t think the issues really intruded. The University of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg School, they did a study showing how few minutes were devoted to any issue. Look, I’ll lay you eight to five that you go to ask any foreign person who’s not in the news media and say, “What was Hillary’s position on free college? Can you explain it? What was Hillary’s position on helping people with child care?”  Those issues never got into the game … All the outrageous things that were said and done by [Trump] sucked all the oxygen out of the air, so there was never a discussion about the economic issues. It never got there … If you get a chance to have to talk about whether or not a candidate groped somebody or whether or not the other candidate’s position is how they fund college tuition, what’s gonna get in the news is whether or not somebody groped somebody.

Biden is exactly right that there is likely a slew of reasons why Hillary Clinton came up short, at least when it came to the three states – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – that decided the Electoral College. But the argument repeatedly made that Clinton didn’t adequately address the economic needs of middle-class Americans is simply not true.

As the vice president noted, she had a set of concrete, detailed proposals dealing with economic issues that she repeatedly talked about. In fact, as Vox pointed out last month, jobs and the economy were the top-mentioned words in Clinton speeches during the campaign.

The problem wasn’t so much that Clinton’s message was wrong; it’s that the press didn’t cover it, thus the voters who decided the election likely knew very little about the former Secretary of State’s policy proposals – and there were plenty of them that would have made life better for the average American.

In an ideal world where politics is centered around issues that matter, and not driven by 140-character tweets or foreign meddling, Hillary Clinton – not Trump – would be getting sworn in next week.

U.S. Politics

‘Racist’ And ‘Reprehensible’: How Joe Biden Just Took Trump Down (VIDEO)


Vice President Joe Biden followed up Senator Elizabeth Warren’s attack on Donald Trump with a sternly-worded condemnation of Trump’s attacks on the federal judge overseeing the Trump University fraud case.

“I find Donald Trump’s conduct in this regard reprehensible,” the vice president said.

After detailing how Trump had gone after the judge for ruling against him with ethnic slurs and the promise to use the power of the White House for revenge should he be elected, Biden noted such an action would “border on an impeachable offense.”

Biden said Trump’s taunting of the judge was a “direct threat” to “defy” the court if he were elected president, and a clear sign of a tyrannical mindset proving Trump “cannot be trusted to respect the independence of the Judiciary as a president.”

Specifically addressing Trump’s complaint that the judge cannot rule fairly because he is of Hispanic descent, Biden slammed Trump in unambiguous terms: “it is racist.”

It is the strongest condemnation to come from the executive branch on Trump’s behavior.

Biden also pointed out that despite Republicans condemning Trump, they are still holding up the nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court seat vacated after the death of Antonin Scalia. Biden specifically mentioned that even the Republicans who admitted Trump was being racist are still working on behalf of him being the one to choose the next justice.

The remarks come on a day of major Democratic unity, as President Obama announced that he was endorsing Hillary Clinton and would begin campaigning with her. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would endorse Clinton and Governor Martin O’Malley also announced that he would back the former Secretary of State. While Sen. Bernie Sanders did not yet concede the nomination, he met with President Obama and said he had spoken with Secretary Clinton and would be working with her to stop Trump’s quest to be elected president.

By Oliver Willis

U.S. Politics

Biden wants ‘uncomfortable’ racism debate

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Vice President Biden said on Thursday that Americans must confront “institutional racism.”

“No one wants to say that,” he told a National Urban League legislative policy conference in Washington, according to Politico. “I know I sometimes speak out too loudly, sometimes, but I make no apologies for it. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but these are uncomfortable times.

We’ve got to shake up the status quo a bit.

“You know, we see this institutional racism today in voting, in children’s education, in the very makeup of our neighborhoods, housing patterns, employment, transportation, access to transportation,” he added.

His speech focused on “the overwhelming problems of the legacy of institutional racism which we still live with,” Politico reported.

Biden said the 2008 economic recession had particularly hurt minorities and the impoverished.

“[The] freefall was particularly bad for poor folk and particularly bad for African-American and Hispanic poor folk,” he said.

“You have a disproportionate share of African-Americans living in cities who do not own an automobile,” he added.

“You can’t have a job if you can’t get there to the interview. So we’ve got to put a lot of money into transportation, meaning everything from streetcars to buses to rail transit, connecting inner cities to the suburbs.”

Biden also said that Americans “can’t pretend that children of different races have the same opportunities.”

“I’ll be here with you pushing the next president to level the playing field,” he said.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do,” Biden joked of his term’s upcoming end. “[I’ll need] career advice from some of you.”

Biden ruled out a third Oval Office bid last October, likely signaling the end of a political career that has spanned four decades.

He concluded that he did not have the time or emotional energy for a viable campaign after the death of his son, Beau Biden, following a battle with brain cancer last year.

By Mark Hensch

U.S. Politics

Hillary Clinton Is Apparently Eyeing Elizabeth Warren As A V.P. Candidate



While Donald Trump is considering Arizona’s former Governor (and anti-immigrant) Jan Brewer as a prospective vice presidential nominee, the Clinton campaign is eyeing his now arch nemesis – Elizabeth Warren.

Warren, who disappointed progressive outlets after refusing multiple times to run for president, has become a viable V.P. choice for both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton in recent months as the primary battle heats up. In recent weeks, the mounting feud between Warren and Trump over Twitter has become an all out brawl, with the Senator from Massachusetts coming out on top every time.

According to the Huffington Post, the Clinton campaign has noticed. Senior and close advisors within the frontrunner’s campaign have gone on the record (albeit anonymously) saying “very influential people in the campaign pushing for her” and that her ability to “get under his [Trump’s] skin” is thrilling. As one adviser told the Post:

“You want a running mate who can take the fight to the other side with relish. Geography does not matter, but attitude and talent and energy and bringing excitement to the campaign, Senator Warren does all that.”

Penny Lee, a former aide to Senator Harry Reid and now a Democratic consultant, summed up why having Warren on the ticket with Clinton would be so beneficial, and why senior advisors have been taking her seriously:

“She can help validate Clinton with progressives and remind them that despite their differences in the primary, the alternative of the Donald would be untenable.”

Outlets have speculated for months that Clinton’s V.P. nominee would be Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or Sherrod Brown, Senator from Ohio. Castro, however, has ruled out being Clinton’s V.P. While turning down the slot for second in command, Castro, who endorsed Clinton last year, has been an active surrogate for the campaign across the country.

Going into a general election, Warren could prove an asset not just for the progressive vote, but for independents and moderate Republicans, who referred to Warren in a 2015 study group as “smart,” “interesting,” “sincere,” “capable,” “knowledgeable” and “sincere.”

Drafting Warren to a Vice Presidential spot may bode well in a presidential election, but it could hurt the Democrats’ chances at keeping the senate.

But with Trump as the GOP prospect, maybe a Clinton-Warren ticket could be the explosive candidacy Democrats need.

by Ryan Denson

U.S. Politics

Joe Biden really wants Elizabeth Warren to be the next VP

Chip Somodevilla-Getty


Though Vice President Joe Biden has (for now) given up his presidential dreams, he’s hoping his pick for VP still has a shot. According to Politico, Biden is pushing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as Hillary Clinton’s best choice for a running mate and his replacement come 2017. Biden thinks Warren’s tough attitude toward big banks and support for re-imposing Wall Street regulations would be a good way to balance out the criticism Clinton is facing over her paid speeches to the banking firm Goldman Sachs.

Biden ultimately ruled out a presidential run because of his son’s untimely death, but an official tells Politico that Warren was Biden’s “only real choice” when he was still toying with the idea of launching a bid for the nomination. He even went so far as to ask the freshman senator if she’d consider the job, and Politicoreports that though Warren’s response may have been “noncommittal,” she was certainly “not displeased.”

“Elizabeth Warren is really a great leader, and someone who is dynamic and articulate,” Ted Kaufman, a friend and confidante to Biden who sat in on his early strategy sessions, said. “If you listen to what she says, it’s on point, it’s factual, it’s thoughtful. I think she would add a lot to Hillary’s ticket, to every ticket. The most important thing is governing. Warren is someone you’d like to have by your side when you’re making these tough decisions.”

Read the full story on Biden’s push for Warren and the chances that she’d consider the job over at Politico. Becca Stanek

U.S. Politics

Vice President Joe Biden Brings Oscars To An Emotional Halt With Powerful Message (VIDEO)


In an powerful moment for a night that is usually designated to honoring celebrities and movies, Vice President Joe Biden took to the stage at the 88th Annual Academy Awards to deliver a message about sexual assault.

Biden recently took a break from organizing a national initiative to cure cancer to help launch a program that asks young people to fight against sexual assault by standing up and intervening if they see a situation “where consent cannot or has not been given.”

Taking the microphone at the Academy Awards ceremony, Biden was greeted with a standing ovation from the attendees. The applause was so intense, in fact, that Biden had to settle people down with a joke, telling the collected group of megastars, “I’m the least qualified man here tonight.”

During his brief remarks, Biden made it clear that victim-blaming had no place in our society.

“Let’s change the culture so that no abused woman or man ever feels they have to ask themselves ‘What did I do?’ They did nothing wrong.”

The vice president was joined by Lady Gaga, who helped make a documentary on the subject of date-rape on college campuses. The two promoted a website called ItsOnUs.org that will help spread the message of what people can do to help stop sexual assaults in universities around the country. Afterwards, Lady Gaga performed a song she had written for the documentary. At the conclusion, she was joined by survivors of sexual assault. The performance brought the house down and reduced many in the audience to tears.

After the performance, Biden tweeted a photo of himself and Lady Gaga.

And to those cynics who might believe a speech during the Oscars won’t accomplish anything, consider this: From the instant it was mentioned, the ItsOnUs.org website was brought to a crawl under the weight of the traffic. That’s a lot of eyes on an issue that is far too often swept under the rug and ignored.

U.S. Politics

Joe Biden Aide: Don’t Count The VP Out Of 2016 Race Just Yet

Sipa USA / Douliery Olivier


After months of growing calls for him to run, the vice president’s tide began turning this week after the first Democratic debate, which softened concerns about front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton while obscuring any obvious rationale for Biden to run. But in a letter to former Biden staffers late Thursday, one of Biden’s closest advisers traced the contours of the argument Biden would make, and suggested a decision to run could be imminent.

“If he runs, he will run because of his burning conviction that we need to fundamentally change the balance in our economy and the political structure to restore the ability of the middle class to get ahead,” former Sen. Ted Kaufman said in an email to a list of Biden alumni. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

Kaufman, who served as Biden’s chief of staff for two decades before replacing him in the Senate, has been at the vice president’s side for months, brought back into the immediate fold after Biden’s son died in May. He and two other aides have formed a protective and tight-lipped ring around Biden as he ponders a 2016 campaign.

“If he decides to run, we will need each and every one of you — yesterday,” Kaufman said, alluding to the breakneck speed at which Biden would have to ramp up a campaign after waiting this long to enter. Kaufman said he is confident Biden understands “the practical demands of making a final decision soon.”

Although Biden’s small team has been drafting a campaign blueprint and screening likely staffers for months, the letter to Biden’s former Senate, White House and campaign aides marked the most direct call to date for support for a potential campaign. It came as a growing number of Democratic leaders, including Clinton’s campaign chairman, expressed frustration with Biden’s delays and questioned whether it was already too late.

Yet even in the face of such skepticism, Biden has remained actively engaged in feeling out a potential campaign, placing calls this week to key Democrats in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, said several individuals familiar with the conversations. These individuals weren’t authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity. Still, they insisted that Biden had not yet made a final call.

In the letter, Kaufman didn’t identify specific policies Biden would propose if he ran. But in describing the approach the vice president would take, the letter drew an implicit contrast with Clinton, who has been criticized by some as a candidate for appearing calculated or overly choreographed.

“A campaign from the heart. A campaign consistent with his values, our values, and the values of the American people,” Kaufman said. “And I think it’s fair to say, knowing him as we all do, that it won’t be a scripted affair — after all, it’s Joe.”

“He believes we must win this election,” Kaufman added, previewing a likely argument that Biden represents the best chance Democrats have to protect President Barack Obama’s legacy. “Everything he and the president have worked for — and care about — is at stake,” Kaufman said.

Biden hasn’t spoken publicly about his deliberations in weeks, dodging shouted questions from reporters during public events this week. Kaufman said Biden’s top consideration was “the welfare and support of his family,” a reference to doubts Biden expressed in September about whether he and his family were emotionally ready to run while still grieving the death of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

It was unclear whether Biden’s renewed signal of interest would be enough to keep his name in serious contention — or for how long. The first filing deadlines for primary states are about two weeks away, and Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders both raised more than $25 million in their last three-month stretch, illustrating Biden’s immense disadvantage.

“The indecision becomes a problem for people,” said Sam Tenenbaum, a Biden supporter and longtime Democratic donor in South Carolina. “They’re sympathetic, but I think you’ve got to make up your mind.”


H/t: DB

U.S. Politics

CLOSER – Joe Biden Meets With Elizabeth Warren Ahead Of Possible Presidential Campaign: Report

Joe Biden | AP


Biden is reportedly reaching out to potential people who could support his White House bid.

Vice President Joe Biden privately met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in Washington on Saturday amid speculation that he is preparing to launch a campaign for the White House, CNN reported.

The purpose of the meeting is not known, but The New York Times reported on Friday that Biden was reaching out to potential campaign donors. Biden has said that he will make a decision on a run at the end of the summer.

Warren is seen as an influential Democrat. Clinton also met with Warren in December before launching her presidential campaign, and sought policy suggestions on several issues, including income inequality, according to The New York Times.

While Warren had publicly urged Clinton to run for president, the Massachusetts senator has stopped short of endorsing Clinton’s progressive credentials.

U.S. Politics

Three Reasons Joe Biden Should Definitely Run for President

Image Credit: AP


The trial balloon went up on Sunday morning, when New York Times columnist and noted Clinton family antagonist Maureen Dowd reported that Vice President Joe Biden is “talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in” the 2016 presidential race.

Three days later, that balloon is looking more like a hydrogen-powered blimp. To start, a senior aide to Biden’s late son, Beau, has joined the push as an adviser to the Draft Biden Super PAC, a group dedicated to luring the vice president into the primary. His name is Josh Alcorn, and he has a talent for corralling campaign cash. If Biden were to join the fray at this late hour, stocking a feasible war chest would be his most immediate priority. Between April 12, when she entered the race, and June 30, Hillary Clinton raised $45 million. She began running ads in Iowa and New Hampshire on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The darkest clouds, however, are not on the horizon. They are here, right now. The vice president is a grandfather many times over, and with Beau’s passing in May he has kept his public schedule relatively sparse. On Tuesday, for instance, Biden will take one meeting with a visiting dignitary, according to his White House schedule. A day before and over the past weekend, he was in Wilmington, Delaware, absent from any political events.

Still, the speculation continues apace. Because Biden could silence it with a word, there is real reason to believe he is seriously weighing his options. At 72 years old, this is it — there is no next turn. In her column, Dowd relates a deeply personal anecdote that suggests there could be more in play than a simple electoral calculation.

Toward the end of Beau’s life, Down writes, he “was losing his nouns, and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

The narrative here, especially for a political press thirsty for more drama in the Democratic primary, is irresistible. But how would a Biden run really go? Here are three reasons the vice president might as well take a shot:

Even with the people likely to vote for her, Hillary Clinton is not very popular.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday, only 37% of voters enjoy a positive view of Clinton, even as 59% say they plan to vote for her in a Biden-free primary.

Source: Uri Schanker/Getty Images

Though the vice president is hardly a newcomer to the national stage — he has run for president twice, in 1988 and 2008, and served in the Senate for 36 years before being sworn in alongside President Barack Obama in 2009 — he is not quite the cultural icon that Clinton is. That means more room to maneuver politically and something closer to a “fresh start” with voters who don’t pay close attention to the daily grind.

Even then, Biden has a reliable base of national support. In their round-up of major national polling, RealClearPolitics finds the vice president with nearly 14% backing among Democrats, despite his absence from the campaign trail. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll surveying all voters, Biden has a 49% approval rating to Clinton’s 40%. Fifty-one percent disapprove of Clinton; only 39% have a negative view of the vice president.

For liberals who might currently favor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) but worry about his ability to take on a Republican in the general election, Biden provides a tested alternative to Clinton — not exactly a “progressive alternative” in the mold of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but someone who has twice been elected to within that proverbial heartbeat of the presidency.

He has an advantage with liberals on foreign policy.

Republicans are on the record with their reviews of Clinton’s time running the State Department. Hint: they don’t think she did a great job. Donald Trump, for instance, told NBC News, “there has never been a secretary of state so bad as Hillary. The world blew up around us. We lost everything!” Hysterical flourishes aside, Trump, the Republican primary frontrunner for a reason, touches a nerve here.

Clinton was the top U.S. diplomat during a time of historic unrest and fracture in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Even putting the ruthlessly demagogued Benghazi tragedy aside, Clinton’s support for the U.S. intervention in Libya, which successfully deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi but created a riotous, violent power vacuum currently being filled by a number of extremist groups, could become a liability in a primary contest.

Source: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Then there is the U.S. troop “surge” in Afghanistan, the foreign policy point on which Clinton and Biden diverged most famously. Upon arriving in office in 2009, Biden immediately registered his opposition to any plan that would deliver more troops into the cauldron. But Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates successfully lobbied Obama and, in 2009, he announced that 33,000 more Americans were headed to Afghanistan. Two years later, they were withdrawn on schedule but amid worsening Taliban violence and a series of deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers by Afghan trainees.

Clinton is not without her successes. She backed Obama’s successful 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan while Biden, according to Situation Room scuttlebutt, counseled the president to take more cautious steps. But in a Democratic Party wary of Clinton’s hawkish streak, the raid’s value is diminished.

On the question of the Iraq War and the vote that did so much to sink Clinton in 2008, Biden cannot pursue the same path as Obama, whose opposition to the invasion set the tone for his campaign. But in the aftermath, Biden has shown a more nuanced understanding of the regional dynamics. His 2006 op-ed in the New York Times,largely ridiculed at the time, called for Iraq to be split among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds in the form of three “autonomous regions.”

Fast forward nearly a decade and the Iraqis have, in effect, done that themselves. Civil war has cleaved the country into three parts: a de facto Kurdish state in the north; a Sunni Islamic State group-held western region; and the withering Shiite stronghold in Baghdad.

If he can win the Democratic primary, Biden matches up well with Republicans.

A recent poll from Quinnipiac shows Biden performing almost identically to Clinton when pitted against the GOP presidential frontrunners. In a potential matchup with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Biden prevails, 43% to 42%. Clinton loses that contest by a point, 42% to 41%. Voters were similarly divided when asked to choose between the Democrats and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Source: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

While those numbers are all well within the poll’s margin of error, the message is clear: Biden is already primed to be a formidable candidate in the general election, and that’s without the benefit of having made a single campaign stop, speech or commercial spot. Clinton, on the other hand, has been a declared candidate for more than three months and an undeclared contender for much longer than that.

Hurdles ahead: The Joe-mentum is gathering, no doubt, but the vice president would not enter this race without considerable political baggage. A sympathetic figure today, in the aftermath of his son’s untimely death, he would inevitably be subject to the same brand of often merciless scrutiny now being directed at the vast field of even semi-legitimate White House hopefuls.

On Monday morning, Politico published a long piece about the young then-Senator Biden’s decision to effectively bail on his pro-busing colleagues when the issue roiled the upper chamber in the mid-1970s. Whether Biden was being pragmatic — many Northerners, including his constituents in Delaware, were vehemently opposed to enforced integration programs — or simply unwilling to take on a righteous fight is hard to say.

Whether he’ll be asked about it is not.

Gregory Krieg

U.S. Politics

Hillary Clinton to attend S.C. funeral service for Rev. Pinckney

FLORISSANT, MO - JUNE 23:  Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters on June 23, 2015 at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri. Clinton's visit to the St. Louis suburb neighboring Ferguson, Missouri focused on racial issues.  (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Clinton joins dozens of lawmakers, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. | Getty


Hillary Clinton will attend the Charleston, S.C. funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney — a state senator who was killed in the church shooting last week — on Friday, a campaign aide confirmed to POLITICO.

The Democratic presidential front-runner will join dozens of lawmakers, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, at the service, which she was initially slated to miss. She canceled a campaign fundraising event in Philadelphia in order to make the funeral.

Clinton was in Charleston on the day of the shooting, which killed nine African-American churchgoers on June 17, though she left the state earlier in the evening after a pair of campaign stops and a fundraiser in town.

Obama is scheduled to deliver Pinckney’s eulogy on Friday, and multiple members of the congressional leadership teams are expected to be in attendance.