BREAKING NEWS : Indiana State Fair canceled this year due to COVID-19 impact Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : UPDATE - Allen County Coroner rules April fire on Rosemont Drive a triple homicide Full Story

Let's dispel with this fiction that Joe Biden isn't running for president

Officially, Joe Biden remains undecided about whether he will run for president for a third time in 2020....

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 9:54 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 9:54 PM

Officially, Joe Biden remains undecided about whether he will run for president for a third time in 2020.

But unofficially, the former vice president sounds like he is running -- no, sprinting -- toward the presidential starting line.

2020 Presidential election

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Joe Biden

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Politics

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

Donald Trump

Government organizations - US

US Congress

US Senate

"I'll be as straight with you as I can. I think I'm the most qualified person in the country to be president," Biden said at an appearance Monday at the University of Montana. "The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I've worked on my whole life."

That is not something you say right before you decide not to make a run for national office. Biden said Monday that he is still six weeks to two months away from making a final decision, but like, come on man. We know the deal!

Remember that Biden quite clearly wanted to run in 2016 but eventually concluded that the timing wasn't right, with the race coming so soon after the death of his eldest son, Beau, from brain cancer. But as CNN's Stephen Collinson noted at the time: "In tone, the remarks sounded like the kind of speech defending staunch Democratic values that he might have given had he reached the opposite conclusion."

What was clear then -- and is even more clear now -- is that the bug of running for president has not left Biden. His 1988 bid, in which he was considered a top tier contender, ended amid plagiarism questions. His 2008 campaign never really got off the ground -- eclipsed by brighter lights like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and, yes, John Edwards.

Biden would enter this race in a far different -- and better -- position than in either of his previous two bids. According to most early state and national polling, he is the race's front-runner -- albeit by dint of the fact he is the best-known candidate in the field. Still, that's a place Biden has never been before. And for someone who has spent his entire adult life aspiring to be president, that's a very hard prospect to pass up.

Which is why, almost certainly, Biden won't pass it up.

The bigger question I have is not whether Biden will run but whether the pitch he is planning to make to Democratic voters is the right one for this moment, against this President. Is being the "most qualified person" the way to sell yourself to Democratic voters desperately in search of someone who can beat Donald Trump?

Here's Biden, again on Monday, expanding on that "most qualified" idea:

"No one should run for the job unless they believe that they would be qualified doing the job. I've been doing this my whole adult life, and the issues that are the most consequential relating to the plight of the middle class and our foreign policy are things that I have -- even my critics would acknowledge, I may not be right but I know a great deal about it."

Which, on its face, is hard to argue. Biden was elected to the Senate at 29 years old. He's chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. He spent eight years as vice president. It's a long and impressive resume of work within the government.

But that last sentence also contains the two biggest potential problems for Biden when -- oops, if -- he runs in 2020: 1) He's not young and 2) His entire life has been spent in government.

Biden is 76 years old. He will turn 78 just a few weeks after the 2020 election. If he won, he would be, by far, the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president. (Trump currently holds that distinction -- at age 70.) And it's not just that Biden is on the older side. It's that the Democratic Party over the past few elections has shown how the face of its base is changing -- it's younger, less white, less male and more liberal. Biden is the opposite of all of those things.

Biden has ever really had one job in his life: Politician. The last two presidents -- Trump and Obama -- cast their lack of substantial political experience as a strength among voters who, well, hate Washington and everyone in it. There's an argument to be made that Trump's rocky -- to be kind -- time in office has convinced a majority of Americans that what is required in 2020 is someone who has been there and done that. But the fight between political innocence and political experience is one that still has to be fought out within the Democratic Party.

One thing I will give Biden: He's not only aware of his weakness (a huge advantage for any politician or, really, any human) but he is able to use humor to frame his flaws in the best possible light. Take this answer from Biden when asked on Monday night about his reputation as a "gaffe machine":

"I am a gaffe machine, but, my God, what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth. I'm ready to litigate all those things. The question is, what kind of nation are we becoming? What are we going to do? Who are we?"

Does that sound like a candidate who isn't sure about running for president?

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35712

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10037594
Lake3806202
Allen174371
Cass15927
Elkhart143529
St. Joseph132035
Hamilton118094
Hendricks118074
Johnson1120110
Madison59761
Porter55329
Clark52841
Bartholomew52238
Howard43734
LaPorte43624
Tippecanoe4214
Shelby39822
Jackson3942
Delaware38740
Hancock34928
Floyd32140
Boone31835
Vanderburgh2902
Morgan28324
Noble25121
Montgomery24417
Clinton2401
White2389
Decatur23031
Grant22123
Dubois2053
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1758
Greene17125
Dearborn17021
Monroe17012
Warrick16728
Kosciusko1661
Lawrence16524
Marshall1472
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Orange13122
Jennings1314
Scott1223
Franklin1158
Ripley1086
LaGrange1022
Daviess9516
Carroll933
Steuben872
Wayne865
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper701
Jay530
Clay522
Washington511
Rush503
Randolph503
Fulton501
Pulaski490
Jefferson471
Whitley443
DeKalb431
Starke393
Sullivan371
Owen341
Perry340
Huntington342
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson182
Parke180
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36792

Reported Deaths: 2300
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6112290
Cuyahoga4669247
Hamilton2739164
Marion267931
Lucas2296256
Pickaway209537
Summit1487181
Mahoning1463188
Butler93333
Columbiana88952
Stark75299
Lorain70960
Montgomery69516
Trumbull58451
Belmont43914
Warren39021
Medina36623
Miami36230
Tuscarawas3604
Ashtabula34537
Delaware34414
Portage33257
Lake31812
Fairfield3108
Clark3067
Wood30348
Geauga29533
Wayne28851
Licking26510
Mercer2207
Clermont2165
Allen21433
Richland2093
Darke18423
Erie18216
Madison1627
Washington11819
Crawford1174
Morrow1071
Ottawa10217
Greene1025
Putnam9514
Sandusky8512
Monroe7914
Auglaize763
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Hardin640
Huron601
Williams561
Union551
Muskingum521
Hancock511
Shelby463
Holmes463
Clinton451
Fulton450
Wyandot442
Coshocton400
Logan400
Fayette400
Preble391
Guernsey362
Defiance342
Carroll313
Brown301
Lawrence300
Champaign281
Highland261
Knox251
Seneca242
Vinton212
Ashland210
Perry191
Athens181
Henry170
Scioto170
Paulding140
Jackson140
Adams101
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Noble60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 85°
Angola
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 82°
Huntington
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
Few Storms Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events