Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden may be enjoying high polling numbers, but many former Obama officials are not giving him a free pass to the party’s nomination.
In fact, the former vice president has been experiencing some negative feedback from surprising sources, as former Obama staffers revealed when they weighed in on his campaign during a panel discussion on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Wednesday.
(Video: YouTube/Fox News)
Former Obama-era State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf minced no words when she told Fox News host Martha MacCallum that Democratic voters are actually ready for the “next generation” of leaders, and don’t necessarily want Biden back in the White House.
“As we talk to voters what I’m hearing from Democrats is they are ready for the next generation of leaders to step up. They want to look forward not back. They are looking for those new leaders,” Harf, who now works for Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton, said. “I think that explains a lot of what you are hearing from people. They are ready for that next generation to really take the mantle of the party.”
While affirming her “affection and respect” for Biden, Harf noted the many years that have transpired since he was on the campaign trail with former President Obama, who has not come out to endorse his two-term vice president.
“All of us who worked on those Obama-Biden campaigns, as all of us did, have a lot of affection and respect for him. We also have to remember the last campaign they ran together was 8 years ago,” Harf said.
Former Obama campaign political director, Laurie Watkins, told MacCallum she is not seeing enough “discipline” in the Biden campaign, noting his schedule has been “too light.”
Robin Biro, a former regional director for the Obama campaign was “not all that surprised” at the cool reception Biden has been receiving from former Obama players. He admitted that although it was great to work with Biden during the Obama campaigns, the Democratic frontrunner is now “not just going to walk right into this” without fighting for every vote, noting that he, himself, has not even decided who to support from the “huge field of candidates.”
MacCallum asked the panel their thoughts on whether Biden would last through the primaries, citing Obama’s former senior adviser David Axelrod who mused on the question in an opinion piece on CNN Wednesday.
“Well, he’s still the front-runner. But after his last, shambling week, the new question is ‘Can Biden hang on?'” Axelrod, a senior CNN political commentator who was chief strategist for the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns, wrote.
“One of Biden’s assets is that his nearly half-century in politics gives voters a sense of comfort and familiarity,” he added. “One of his greatest liabilities is that along with his nearly half-century in politics come countless votes and statements on a wide array of issues. Some have very different connotations in a new era and changing Democratic Party than they did when he made them.”
Axelrod has also raised eyebrows with open criticism of Biden on Twitter. Biden is quick to tout a “close” relationship with Obama, despite being unable to secure an endorsement from him:
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 9, 2019
Biro admitted he thought Biden’s campaign would “die of attrition” and that “his best day would be his first.”
MacCallum seemed surprised, telling the panel that it was puzzling that Biden would be so far ahead of the other Democratic 2020 contenders in the polls but face such negative, non-support from the former Obama officials. Harf pointed out that poll numbers are out very early and that the race is still a long way off.
“I think it’s worth remembering, Martha, voters don’t go to the polls to start picking our nominee until February. That’s nine months from today,” Harf said.
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