- Former President Barack Obama is worried that his former Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t have the same “intimate bond” with the Iowan electorate that Obama had, according to a new report in Politico.
- While Biden’s campaign team is stacked with many former Obama officials, Obama himself is avoiding “putting his thumb on the scale, even when it comes to former officials in his own administration.
- The former president has told people around him that he would not endorse Biden and the former vice president would have to “earn it,” Politico reported.
- Biden has lost his previous stature as the runaway frontrunner and is lagging behind other candidates in polls of the first two primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
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While former President Barack Obama has largely stayed out of the 2020 election fray, he’s expressed concerns that his former Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t have the same “intimate bond” with the Iowan electorate that propelled Obama to the White House back in 2008, according to a new report in Politico.
Politico’s extensive deep-dive into Obama’s post-presidency reveals that Obama, who will likely not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary at all, is looking at the current field with cautious optimism and some trepidation.
While Biden’s campaign team is stacked with many former Obama officials, Obama himself is avoiding “putting his thumb on the scale,” even when it comes to former officials in his own administration.
Politico reported that Obama naturally has a more “familial” relationship with Biden, but the former president has told people around him that he would not endorse Biden and the former vice president would have to “earn it.” The former president reportedly told another candidate that he was able to form a connection with Iowans and added, “and you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
Recently, the outlet said, Biden’s camp has been “disappointed” in Obama not speaking out in support of Biden amid the GOP’s relentless attacks against Biden and his son Hunter, which are currently at the centre of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
A person Politico described as close to both Obama and the Biden campaign said, “I do think there’s frustration when Joe Biden and Hunter Biden get attacked by Republicans on the Ukrainian thing and they say, ‘Obama and his administration looked the other way back when this was happening,’ and Obama doesn’t say anything. The Biden people ask, ‘Why won’t Obama say something?'”
Less than three months out, Biden is struggling in Iowa and New Hampshire polling
While Biden is still a strong candidate at the top of the Democratic primary field and holds resounding support among African-American, working-class, and older voters, he has lost his stature as a frontrunner and is lagging behind other candidates in the first two primary states: Iowa and New Hampshire.
According to Real Clear Politics’ average of Iowa polls, Biden is currently in fourth place in Iowa polling at an average of 16.3% behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 17.7%, Sen. Bernie Sanders at 18.3%, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 24% on average.
And in RCP’s tracker of New Hampshire polls, Biden is tied for second place with Buttigieg behind Warren.
While Biden has faced challenges from the progressive left candidates Sanders and Warren, Buttigieg poses a new threat as he makes a play for Biden’s dominance of the moderate lane in the Democratic primary.
According to The New York Times, Buttigieg and Warren are tied for opening the most field offices in the four early primary states. And according to Insider’s SurveyMonkey Audience Polling of the 2020 Democratic primary, 35% of Biden supporters would also be satisfied with Buttigieg as the nominee.
Buttigieg’s biggest strength lies in fundraising, an area where Biden has struggled during his entire political career and especially this cycle. He brought in $US25 million in 2019’s second quarter – beating all the other candidates – and raised $US19.1 million in the third fundraising quarter that ended on September 30.
Buttigieg now has $US23 million in cash on hand compared to just $US8.9 million for Biden, and has been using his cash advantage to make significant investments in the Hawkeye State, opening 22 Iowa field offices and recently hiring almost 100 new staffers in the state.
An October report in Bloomberg News further revealed the weaknesses of Biden’s ground operation in Iowa, where he is able to invest fewer resources compared with his top rivals in those states. Bloomberg found that aside from Biden’s money issues, his state director didn’t live in the state full-time, and Iowa Democrats said Biden himself had acknowledged his campaign’s ground game in the state had been lacking.
When it comes to fundraising, The New York Times reported that Buttigieg “has won over many former Obama-era ambassadors as a 37-year-old fresh face for the party” away from Biden, further hastening the former vice president’s financial woes.
Bradley Tusk, a former campaign manager for Michael Bloomberg who recently hosted a fundraiser for Buttigieg, told The Times that in attendance were “a lot of those people you would have thought would be Biden people,” adding that “the feeling in the room” was “that Biden has already lost.”
Biden’s own campaign team has suggested that given his incredibly strong poll numbers among voters of colour, Biden doesn’t need Iowa and New Hampshire to win the nomination. But since Biden is so heavily running on his own electability, second or third-place finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, or both, could severely diminish Biden’s standing going forward.
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