Former Vice President Joe Biden mused about the potential for a future White House run and reflected on the 2016 race during an appearance at the SALT conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Speaking about Hillary Clinton’s surprise November defeat to Donald Trump, Biden said, “I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate.”
It was an unexpected admission from Biden whose party brought out an all-star roster to rally support for Clinton in the final days of a brutal campaign last year. Clinton’s bid for the White House has been criticised for its heavy focus on casting Trump as unfit for office, rather than making strong arguments for her candidacy.
Clinton was also stymied by a protracted FBI investigation into her use of a private email server, which gave Trump and his supporters easy rhetorical ammunition, right up to Election Day. For her part, Clinton has blamed former FBI director James Comey, among others, for her defeat.
Despite that, Biden conceded in his remarks Thursday that “Hillary would have been a good president.”
The former vice president offered commentary on President Barack Obama’s two terms in office that also appeared to serve as an undercover critique of the current administration. Biden noted that Obama served eight years in office “without a single scandal … not one.” The audience erupted in applause.
Biden called Obama “absolutely, totally competent” and said he took his job “extremely seriously,” but acknowledged that the former president had made some mistakes.
Biden, who was seen as a strong potential opponent to Trump in 2016, said of a possible 2020 run: “Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably not.”
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