Hil­lary Clin­ton is qui­etly at­tempt­ing to dis­cour­age Joe Bi­den from 2016 bid


Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s cam­paign, in ways both sub­tle and blunt, is send­ing a mes­sage to U.S. Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den about his po­ten­tial 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign: This won’t be easy.

As Bi­den pon­ders a chal­lenge to front-run­ner Clin­ton for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion, she has rolled out a string of high-pro­file en­dorse­ments in the early vot­ing con­tests of Iowa and South Carolina and sched­uled an on­slaught of fundrais­ers across the U.S. in the ef­fort to throw cold wa­ter on a pos­si­ble Bi­den bid.

Donors who have pub­licly ex­pressed sup­port for a Bi­den run have been con­tacted by the Clin­ton team, ac­cord­ing to donors and Demo­cratic strate­gists who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions. Even Clin­ton her­self has made a few calls, they said, to ex­press her dis­ap­point­ment.

While Clin­ton and her team speak warmly of Bi­den in public, they have taken steps to show their dom­i­nance over the party’s es­tab­lish­ment and U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s po­lit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture in hopes of qui­etly dis­cour­ag­ing the vice pres­i­dent from en­ter­ing the race.

The ef­fort comes as Clin­ton and the Demo­cratic field of can­di­dates pre­pare to ad­dress mem­bers of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit- tee on Fri­day dur­ing their sum­mer meet­ing in Min­neapo­lis. The night be­fore her for­mal ad­dress, Clin­ton made her case in pri­vate brief­ings to at­ten­dees. Mean­while, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from a su­per po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee back­ing Bi­den plan to woo del­e­gates in his ab­sence.

“I have great deal of ad­mi­ra­tion and af­fec­tion for him,” Clin­ton said of Bi­den dur­ing a stop in Iowa on Wed­nes­day. “I think he has to make what is a very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for him­self and his fam­ily. He should have the space and the op­por­tu­nity to de­cide what he wants to do.”

While Bi­den con­sid­ered his op­tions, Clin­ton’s team re­leased a se­ries of memos Thurs­day night that de­tailed their or­ga­niz­ing work in early vot­ing states. “For months, we were the only cam­paign on ei­ther side of the aisle with of­fices and staff reach­ing out to vot­ers,” wrote Clay Mid­dle­ton, her state di­rec­tor in South Carolina. “This head start has pro­vided an or­ga­niz­ing ad­van­tage.”

Clin­ton’s cam­paign has taken other steps in South Carolina, where Bi­den has deep ties, to show­case her clout. She re­cently picked up the en­dorse­ments of two for­mer gover­nors, Jim Hodges and Dick Ri­ley, who served as ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary dur­ing Bill Clin­ton’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. Her cam­paign’s chair­man, John Podesta, ap­peared at an event in the state last week.

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