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.