Could former Vice President Joe Biden be the 2020 frontrunner who dies by a thousand cuts? To stop the bleeding, reports indicate that Biden’s onslaught of recent gaffes have become so problematic that his top allies are now considering whether or not to scale back upcoming public appearances.
“Allies to Joe Biden have been floating the idea of altering the former vice president’s schedule in an effort to reduce the gaffes he has made in recent days,” reports The Hill. “The allies, growing increasingly nervous about Biden’s verbal flubs, have said it’s an approach that’s been suggested to campaign officials on the heels of the former vice president’s stumbles.”
Indeed, Biden has practically been making a gaffe a week at this stage in the game. Last week alone, the former vice president committed two gaffes in just under 24 hours when he told a crowd of supporters he values “truth over facts” and then later told the Asian and Latino Coalition PAC “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
“We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools and have advance placement programs in these schools,” Biden told the Asian and Latino Coalition PAC, in comments reported by Fox News. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
As the audience began to clap, Biden appeared to catch himself and added to the list of “bright” and “talented” kids. “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids,” he added. “No, I really mean it. But think how we think about it.”
One source with intimate knowledge of Biden’s campaign team told The Hill this week that Biden needs to strike a balance to maintain his mojo. “He needs to be a strong force on the campaign trail, but he also has to pace himself,” the ally said.
But another Biden ally said that a scaling back of Biden’s public appearances would be a bad move. “I think you’ll see the same schedule and maybe even more Joe Biden,” the source said. “Everyone wants to see Joe Biden be Joe Biden. If he’s held back in any way, that’s almost the antithesis of who he is. I think it’s the wrong approach.”
Despite that, few can deny that Biden’s presence can be both a blessing and a curse. One major Democratic donor put it succinctly: “A lot of people are nervous that he’s lost some of his mojo. They’re getting nervous about him going toe to toe with Trump. But the problem is, there doesn’t seem to be an alternative.”
Democratic strategist Basil Smikle told The Hill that the presence of energetic names like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) present a major problem to Biden if he keeps committing gaffes. “In light of ascending candidates like Warren and Booker who seem to be getting a stronger voice, the gaffes give credence to voters on the fence about him even as Trump has normalized worse language in public discourse,” said Smikle.