The New York Times published a front-page feature Friday of Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., entitled “Biden Campaigning With Ease After Hardships of the Past” by Elisabeth Bumiller. Her article examines what makes Biden tick, as well as his past controversies, public gaffes and personal tragedies, all of which Biden says he draws upon for inspiration in his current campaign.
Despite being seen as a long-shot Democratic candidate, Biden expressed confidence in his current position, saying “I wouldn’t trade places with anybody right now, in or out of the race.”
Bumiller writes: “Mr. Biden has survived so much personal and political catastrophe that not much about this race — not his distant standing in the polls nor his own missteps — seems to get him down. It is the last, great ride of his White House ambitions, and this time, unlike 20 years ago, he seems determined to make it right.
“This has been the easiest campaign I’ve ever run in,” Mr. Biden said cheerfully in an interview in a van at the Iowa City Airport … “I know what I believe, I know what I want to do, and I’m just comfortable saying it, and laying it out there.”
ABC News’ “World News with Charles Gibson” also profiled Biden on Thursday. In the interview, Biden was moved to tears as he recalled the deaths of his first wife and daughter in the same year he was sworn into the Senate at age 29.
But, Biden’s candid and blunt speaking style has sometimes gotten him into hot water — a subject raised during the Des Moines Register debate in Iowa on Thursday.
Debate moderator Carolyn Ashburn asked: “Senator Biden, you in your campaign have had a number of occasions to correct or clarify things you’ve said relating to race, including your remarks about Senator Obama being, quote, ‘clean and articulate’; your comment about Indians working a 7-Eleven; and recently to The Washington Post, in which you spoke about race, while describing disparities between schools in Washington, D.C., and Iowa. Do these gaffes or misunderstandings or however you would characterize them indicate you’re uncomfortable talking about race or are people just being too sensitive?”
At the end of his remarks — in which he acknowledged that “it may be possible because I speak so bluntly that people misunderstand” — his rival candidates applauded, calling “Here, Here.”
Like the other candidates, Biden also responded to a question of what he could realistically accomplish during in his first year as president.
Meanwhile, back in the battleground, the Biden campaign this week launched a TV ad in Iowa called “Action,” in which he emphasizes that the next president must have real experience, know more than his advisers, and be able to take on the current challenges.
“Being president is not the same thing as running for president. When this campaign is over, political slogans like experience and change will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act. The Biden plan to end the war in Iraq has already won bipartisan support. When Pakistan erupted in crisis, I spoke to Musharraf before Bush did. You don’t have to guess what I’ll do as president. Just look at what I’ve done.”
But, the dark horse candidate may not be so distant, if “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews’ prediction this week proves true that Biden is the “third-best bet” for the nomination proves true.
Biden has Iowa campaign events lined up all weekend, including an appearance on CNN’s “Late Edition” on Sunday.