clearn.png
Monday August 19th, 2019 12:10AM

Biden to campaign as extension of Obama's political movement

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Joe Biden is finalizing the framework for a White House campaign that would cast him as an extension of Barack Obama's presidency and political movement. He's betting that the majority of Democratic voters are eager to return to the style and substance of that era — and that they'll view him as the best option to lead the way back.

The former vice president has begun testing the approach as he nears an expected campaign launch later this month. After remarks at a recent labor union event, Biden said he was proud to be an "Obama-Biden Democrat," coining a term that his advisers define as pragmatic and progressive, and a bridge between the working-class white voters who have long had an affinity for Biden and the younger, more diverse voters who backed Obama in historic numbers.

Biden's strategy will test whether anyone other than Obama can recreate the coalition that delivered him to the White House twice, but was something Hillary Clinton was unable to do in 2016. And it will thrust the 44th president's legacy into the center of the 2020 campaign.

Though Obama remains overwhelmingly popular among Democrats, an undercurrent of the party's primary contest is the push from some liberal Democrats to go far further than his administration in upending the federal health care system or addressing income inequality. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have led the charge, calling for more sweeping, systemic change, though neither has explicitly criticized Obama by name.

"The party has changed somewhat," said Paul Harstad, a longtime Obama pollster. "I think the party is looking for someone more aggressive than Obama in tactics and approach."

In some ways, Biden's embrace of Obama's legacy is to be expected. He spent eight years as Obama's No. 2, serving as a key congressional liaison and foreign policy adviser, and the two men remain personally close.

Yet Biden, a 76-year-old white man with more than four decades of political experience, is an atypical heir to Obama's legacy, particularly in a Democratic field with a historic number of minority candidates, as well as contenders who represent the kind of generational change Obama ushered in more than a decade ago.

That puts both Obama and many of his longtime advisers in an awkward spot.

Several months ago, Obama and Biden agreed that it would be best if the former president did not endorse any candidate early in the primary, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation, meaning Biden will be running as an "Obama-Biden Democrat" without Obama's explicit backing. The person with knowledge of Obama and Biden's discussion, as well as several Biden advisers, spoke on condition of anonymity in order to disclose private conversations.

Most of the original architects of Obama's presidential campaigns have no plans to work for Biden or endorse him early in the primary, and some have moved on to other candidates. Jen O'Malley Dillon, who held senior positions in Obama's campaigns, is running former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's White House effort, and Joe Rospars, Obama's chief digital strategist, is an adviser to Warren.

Though there is deep affection for Biden among Obama's team, many privately question his skills as a campaigner and fear a losing run will damage his reputation as a beloved elder statesman. Some Democratic voters share that concern.

"I think he should go out on a high. He was already a successful vice president," Claudia Graham, a 64-year-old from Sun City, South Carolina, said as she waited in line to hear O'Rourke speak at a town hall on Friday.

To Katrina Riley, a 69-year-old self-described moderate Democrat, Biden's long political resume would be a welcome change from President Donald Trump, who took office without having ever served in government or the military. Riley also associates Biden with a time she misses: "I'd like Barack Obama back," she said.

Biden advisers say it's more than nostalgia that positions the former vice president well in the 2020 campaign. They argue that despite a vocal left flank, the bulk of the Democratic Party is still in line with many of initiatives of the Obama administration, including the overhaul of the nation's federal health care laws and the Paris climate accord.

All the major Democratic White House hopefuls have pledged to return the U.S. to the international climate pact, which Trump withdrew from in 2017. The Obama health law, known as the Affordable Care Act, also has increased in popularity since Obama and Biden left the White House, with many Republican lawmakers now opposed to pushing for a full repeal.

Scott Mulhauser, who advised Biden during the 2012 campaign, said Biden's positions put him in "the sweet spot where most of the Democratic Party could be, but also a decent amount of moderates and I'm sure some Republicans."

But those stands do put Biden out of step with some corners of his party. Despite the increased popularity of Obama's health law, surveys show the idea of a government-backed "Medicare for All" system, which numerous Democratic candidates have proposed, is also backed by a vast majority of Democrats. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll taken last month, both Medicare for All and "Obamacare" were viewed favorably by about 80 percent of Democrats.

Biden advisers say they see clear evidence in both polling and the results of the 2018 midterm elections to bolster their contention that the party tilts more toward centrists like the former vice president than toward liberals.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey of Democratic voters, 53% said they want their party to move in a more moderate direction, while 40% said they preferred a more liberal approach. Though some of the high-profile members of the new House Democratic majority are liberals such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the party overtook Republicans on the backs of moderates who ousted Republicans in white, working-class districts.

Harstad, the former Obama pollster, said there's no doubt that Obama's legacy and policy record remain solid with Democratic voters. But he added: "Biden is not Obama."

___

Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa.

___

Associated Press writer Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

___

Follow Thomas Beaumont at http://twitter.com/tombeaumont and Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden to campaign as extension of Obama's political movement
Joe Biden is finalizing the framework for a White House campaign that would cast him as an extension of Barack Obama's presidency and political movement
8:23AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp down across US, Europe
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are down
8:22AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Seychelles president's underwater speech: Protect our oceans
Seychelles president in underwater speech pleads to protect world's oceans from climate change
8:01AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Vote in Finland called "the climate election"
Finns are voting in a parliamentary election in which reforming the nation's generous welfare model and tackling climate change have emerged as key issues
6:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump sanctuary city idea could help migrants stay in US
President Donald Trump's idea of sending immigrants from the border to "sanctuary cities" to exact revenge on Democratic foes might actually be helpful to the migrants, experts say
6:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ivanka Trump in Africa to promote women at work program
Ivanka Trump is leaving behind the White House battles over border walls and tax returns to pursue a very different goal in 2 African countries
6:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Debate over climate change dominates Finnish vote
Finns are voting in a parliamentary election in which tackling climate change has emerged as a key issue
6:16AM ( 2 hours ago )
Climate change debate dominates Finnish vote
Finns are voting in a parliamentary election in which tackling climate change has emerged as a key issue
5:11AM ( 3 hours ago )
Booker seeks campaign momentum, readies for national swing
Mired in the 2020 pack, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker has returned to Newark, New Jersey, the city where he made his political chops, for a campaign rally before a two-week tour around the country
3:55PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Elections
Sanders promises to win back Midwest states Trump captured
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders returned to the friendly terrain of Wisconsin, promising to build a coalition that will defeat President Donald Trump as he kicked off a swing through pivotal states
11:29PM ( 1 day ago )
Buttigieg, once cordial to Pence, now critical amid campaign
The cordial relationship South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had with Mike Pence when Pence was Indiana governor is coming under scrutiny
4:09PM ( 1 day ago )
Buttigieg, once cordial, now critical of Pence amid campaign
The cordial relationship South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had with Mike Pence when Pence was Indiana governor is coming under scrutiny
1:06PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
The Latest: Quito arrest part of Assange probe
Friends of a Swedish software developer arrested in Ecuador as part of a probe into Julian Assange's alleged efforts to stave off his eviction from the country's embassy are describing him as a soft-spoken geek
3:14AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Friends say detained Swede unfairly accused
Friends of a Swedish software developer arrested in Ecuador as part of a probe into Julian Assange's alleged efforts to stave off his eviction from the country's embassy are describing him as a soft-spoken geek
12:14AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Australia opposed to death penalty for Assange
Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Australia remains "completely opposed" to the death penalty amid fears that Julian Assange could be exposed to such punishment
11:30PM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
UK's anti-EU Brexit Party launches EU election campaign
British politicians on both sides of the Brexit divide are launching campaigns for an election that may never take place: the contest for U.K. seats in the European Parliament
11:59AM ( 1 day ago )
Finns to vote on how best to save their welfare state
Finns will be voting Sunday in a parliamentary election shaped by debates on how best to preserve their generous welfare model despite having one of the world's most rapidly aging populations
10:42AM ( 1 day ago )
Going beyond Barr, Trump claims 'illegal spying' on campaign
President Donald Trump says he believes Attorney General William Barr was correct in saying that spying did occur on Trump's 2106 presidential campaign
5:18PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp down across US, Europe
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are down
8:22AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Seychelles president's underwater speech: Protect our oceans
Seychelles president in underwater speech pleads to protect world's oceans from climate change
8:01AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Kamala Harris is latest 2020 Dem contender to release taxes
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has released 15 years of tax returns, including her returns for 2018
8:00AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Hundreds evacuated in Frankfurt so WWII bomb can be defused
Some 600 people were evacuated from their homes in the old city of Frankfurt so specialists could remove a World War II-era bomb that was discovered in the Main river
7:50AM ( 42 minutes ago )
US-Russia chill stirs worry about stumbling into conflict
The deep chill in U.S.-Russian relations is stirring concern in some quarters that Washington and Moscow are in danger of stumbling into an armed confrontation that, by mistake or miscalculation, could lead to nuclear war
7:48AM ( 44 minutes ago )