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Politics In The News: Is Joe Biden Nearing A Presidential Run?


As he considers whether to run, Vice President Biden met over the weekend with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She's not running, but has many passionate supporters. It is said the two discussed economic issues, presumably Warren's agenda for reining in Wall Street, although, inevitably, the meeting was about something more. We're joined, as we are most Mondays, by Cokie Roberts. Hi, Cokie.


INSKEEP: Does the fact of this meeting matter more than the substance of whatever they said?

ROBERTS: Well, it depends on what the substance was...

INSKEEP: (Laughter) OK.

ROBERTS: ...But I think that the fact of it certainly does have everybody in the political world buzzing. Joe Biden was supposed to be at home in Delaware all weekend. He suddenly showed up in Washington to hold this meeting. And as you say, she is a person that many progressives in the Democratic Party have been wanting to run for president, though many are now excited about Bernie Sanders. So the conversation could've been anything, from what you just said about substance, about getting her opinion about a possible Biden candidacy or a possible Warren candidacy to would she support him, or at least not oppose him, all the way to would she run with him on a ticket. I can certainly imagine a Biden supporter saying that's the way to do it. Go in as a ticket with Elizabeth Warren and then you have the woman thing solved.

He's been on vacation in South Carolina, which you just heard from. He has many supporters in the Democratic establishment there. And there've been a lot of people encouraging him to get in the race. They're worried about Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, especially some released by Quinnipiac University at the end last week from the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida where her unfavorability ratings are considerably higher than her favorability ratings. And she loses to Jeb Bush in two out of three of those states. Now, so does Joe Biden and the other Democrats lose by a whole lot, but there's some sense right now that Biden is just waiting to see how this all plays out. Can she ride out this bad patch created by the flap over her emails or is it permanently damaging? Today's Wall Street Journal has a headline - "Biden Leans Toward Run" - that's going to really stir the political pot.

INSKEEP: But how much longer can Biden really wait? He hasn't been in a position, for example, to raise a lot of money for himself.

ROBERTS: Well, that's right, and some think that the deadline's already passed with donors and organizers. The question is whether some of them would switch to him. And Joe Biden knows there's a difference between people saying you have to run and then actually putting money where their mouths are. He's run twice before, and he's a realist.

But the appealing thing about him, of course, is he's also a dreamer. And he said all along that he has to decide on his own timetable, that he'll do it by the end of the summer, which is fast upon us. I guess, Steve, the drop-dead deadline would be the first Democratic debate - October 13.

INSKEEP: One other question, Cokie Roberts, Hillary Clinton, as she walked out of a press conference last week, one of several efforts to get the email questions behind her, told reporters on her way out of the room only you people ask about this. Is that true? Is this only something the media cares about?

ROBERTS: Well, the public might not be concerned about all the intricacies of her personal server, whether she turned it over to the FBI willingly or unwillingly. But they are concerned about whether she's telling truth. And it brings up the whole specter of the Clintons and parsing and lawyers and what the meaning of is is. And I'm surprised she has, Steve, such a tin ear about all this. You know, she worked on Watergate and doesn't seem to have learned the fundamental political lesson get it all out there fast, don't seem to be hiding anything. But she's got a tin ear about other things. Right now the Clintons are renting a vacation property on the Hamptons where the price is reportedly $100,000. That's more than most people make in a couple of years. Maybe she doesn't think she's in trouble and can just do whatever she wants to do. We'll see.

INSKEEP: That's Cokie Roberts, who joins us most Mondays right here on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cokie Roberts was one of the 'Founding Mothers' of NPR who helped make that network one of the premier sources of news and information in this country. She served as a congressional correspondent at NPR for more than 10 years and later appeared as a commentator on Morning Edition. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts was a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.