WHAT ABOUT BIDEN 2020?

DAVID LEONHARDT

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The New York Times

Not good, Mr. Vice PresidentLast week, I urged Joe Biden to run for president, arguing that Democrats would benefit from a diverse field and that Biden’s experience made him unique among the potential candidates. If he ran a strong campaign and seemed right for the moment, he could be the best person to take on President Trump. If Biden didn’t run a strong campaign, he wouldn’t win the nomination anyway.Yesterday brought a reminder that Biden doesn’t have a good history of running presidential campaigns.Alexander Burns of The Times broke the news that during last year’s midterm campaign, Biden accepted $200,000 to a give a speech in Michigan during which he praised Fred Upton, a Republican House candidate locked in a rough re-election campaign. The $200,000 came from a local group with ties to Upton’s family. Biden’s comments ended up in advertisements that helped defeat the Democratic candidate.The episode seems accidental, not corrupt. Biden apparently made the comments off the cuff, motivated by Upton’s work on a bill to support cancer research. And it certainly shouldn’t be a political crime for people to praise members of the other party.But given the money Biden received, he should have been more thoughtful. Instead, he reminded a lot of Democratic voters about a problem with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign: her paid speeches. Biden also offered a reminder that his previous two presidential campaigns — in 1988 and 2008 — struggled from the very start. If he runs this time, he will need to become less careless.

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