Biden 2016: The Warren Rendezvous

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 23, 2015 5:15 PM
Biden 2016: The Warren Rendezvous

The August deadline for Vice President Joe Biden’s 2016 decision is most likely out the door by this point. While the window for the decision has been extended, commentators warn that October 1 probably marks the point of no return. By that time, things would be tight to get things moving for the vice president. The Associated Press noted that a hypothetical Biden campaign would need a minimum of two full months obtaining signatures to be placed on the ballot in the early voting states and have delegates in place as a result. Interest into Biden’s 2016 ambitions reached new levels when it was reported that he secretly met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the Naval Observatory on Saturday (via Associated Press):

The unusual weekend huddle with Warren, a Massachusetts senator, took place at the Naval Observatory, the vice president's official residence, said an individual familiar with the meeting. An Obama administration official said Biden had traveled at the last minute to Washington for a private meeting and planned to return to Delaware the same day. Both of the individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

Biden's meeting with Warren was the latest sign that the vice president is seriously considering entering the race, and that he's increasingly discussing it with Democratic leaders outside of his small cadre of longtime advisers.

A rising star in the party, Warren was the subject of an intense lobbying campaign by a group called Draft Warren that sought to persuade her to enter the race. Warren ruled out running in 2016, and a super PAC similarly named Draft Biden later emerged and has been laying the groundwork for a potential Biden candidacy.

Warren, a vocal advocate for economic fairness and Wall Street reform, has notably refrained from endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders or the other candidates. She retains the vocal support of many in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, making her endorsement one of the most highly sought in the primary.

Biden's quick trip to Washington wasn't on his official public schedule, which listed him as remaining in Delaware through Sunday. He's spent the past several days at his home in a secluded, wooded suburb of Wilmington spending time with family — but also meeting with his longtime political aides to assess what it would take to launch a viable presidential campaign against well-funded Democratic opponents with a huge head start.

The vice president has some vestiges of grassroots support, which is evident in the Draft Biden movement. He also has support among party fundraisers, though he obviously won’t be banking as much cash as Mrs. Clinton. Nevertheless, it could be enough to win South Carolina, which is where he's going to make his stand in the 2016 Democratic primaries. At the same time, as I’ve stated before, placing all your eggs in one basket didn’t turn out so well for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. While Giuliani had problems with the Republican base–his presidential bid was going to fizzle out eventually–Biden has less politically-centered obstacles. He's older, a two-time presidential loser, and he’s going to be challenging the Democratic Party’s legacy of putting the first female president–not matter how much of a disaster she is–into the White House. Yet, observers note that Biden’s strong support with labor unions could make things more difficult for Clinton, especially in Nevada which comes first (definitely more so there).

Still, there’s no rush for staff, though Politico mentioned that a Biden candidacy could make way for some Clinton defections. We’ll see about that, but only small core group of people will be in on whether Biden 2016 actually becomes a living creature soon (via Politico):

Only a few people are involved in the real decision-making: Biden’s longest and closest political adviser, his sister Valerie Biden Owens, his son Hunter, chief of staff Steve Ricchetti, former political adviser Mike Donilon and former top aide Sen. Ted Kaufman. However, only Ricchetti, Donilon and Kaufman were at the Wilmington meeting [Warren rendezvous], debating the ups and downs of getting in and how to make a race happen.

Kaufman declined to comment. Donilon did not return a call for comment.

The group last week began exploring early primary-state travel and identifying a handful of potential big-dollar donors who could bankroll a race via a super PAC. But Biden has not made an official decision, and has yet to discuss the race with top people at the White House or President Barack Obama.

The article also reinforced why Biden would probably try to get into the fray through South Carolina, as he’s never done well in New Hampshire and the window to do anything serious in Iowa by the time he makes a decision would probably be closed. He also reportedly has strong support there. It also mentioned how Biden could win by connecting with the Palmetto State’s black Democratic voters, who aren’t as strong with Clinton (compared to Obama), nor are they really catching onto Sanders.

 Warren did meet with Hillary Clinton prior to the announcement her 2016 candidacy At the same time, as CNN's John King noted, her trustworthiness/honesty numbers have sunk to abysmal levels, which is why Biden probably thinks there's a spot for him at the table.  The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe also mentioned how Biden could sit right in the middle of the Clinton wing and the "feel the Bern" Sanders supporters, which could siphon support from both making this primary a little more interesting.