Joe Biden will announce his run for President tomorrow. He will be on CNN at 6:40 AM, then he will go back to chair the hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee --- which will showcase the depth of his long international experience. He will finish off the night on the The Daily Show, which he says is "one of the most dangerous things I will do."
He is not a favorite.
In a private interview Tuesday night in New York City, this articulate, attractive candidate told me that he is counting on the early primaries and expecting that Hillary and Obama will implode. "We are all in love with the idea of a black or woman president. I never thought I would live to see the day. But their support is thin, even if it is widespread."
Unsaid is the elephant in the room: 73% of Democrats say their party is likely to nominate a White Male. (Overall 80% of Americans say that the next President is likely to be a White Male.)
"The more people learn about them (Obama and Hillary) and how they handle the pressure, the more their support will evaporate."
The electorate is a "lifetime" away from making Hillary the 2008 choice. "I think she's incredibly formidable and the odds-on pick right now. But this is a marathon," said Biden.
The reality, he believes, is that Obama and Hillary and Edwards simply will not pass the Experience Test. Biden's theory is that, in these dangerous times -- in the end -- the American people are going to be looking for an adult, someone who can handle tough foreign policy issues. "This election is going to be about Iraq and the Mid East and whoever is elected is going to have to hit the ground running. The next President is going to have solutions immediately ready to put into action. I have that plan. I understand the problem. I have been working on this for a long time."
Biden noted that Hillary's answer to the Iraq question is that George has a moral obligation to get us out by the time the next president takes over. This is a clever retort, said Biden, but it didn't go over too well in Iowa according to the focus groups. We are at war and the people will look to someone --- a patriarchal figure who can deal with dangerous times, and complicated geopolitical issues around the world.
Hillary does not inspire that kind of confidence. Obama is not ready. Edwards has no foreign policy experience, which leaves Biden only man standing.
In 1987 Joe Biden was the leading candidate to win the Democratic 1988 nomination when an attack ad distributed by Michael Dukakis accused Biden of stealing passages from a speech by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock. Biden said it was an attribution error by a speechwriter. But the scandal drove Biden from the nomination battle, which Biden later said saved his life. Being out of the running gave him the time to consult his doctor about headaches. He had a brain aneurysm that required immediate surgery in February 1988.
Money is not going to be an issue. "They both are going to raise $70 million, but you don't need $70 million for Iowa --- 110,000 voters --- or New Hampshire or South Carolina. Howard Dean had $50 million, but Kerry beat him badly in Iowa. The people of Iowa are smart. They know what they want," said Biden.
$20 million will do, he figures. "I'm polling well in Iowa, and New Hampshire and even South Carolina. If I do well in Iowa, and either Obama or Hillary implodes, where will their support go?"