Biden Warns Democrats Not to Skip to 2016

The vice president’s admonition comes even amid a swirl of speculation about his own future.

Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting at the Capitol Hilton February 27, 2014 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Adam Wollner
Feb. 27, 2014, 9:36 a.m.

While talk of who will run to suc­ceed Pres­id­ent Obama has been front and cen­ter re­cently, his vice pres­id­ent is­sued a warn­ing to their party Thursday: Don’t over­look the midterms.

“I know every­one wants to talk about 2016. That’s life­times away,” Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden — a po­ten­tial pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate him­self — told a group of state Demo­crat­ic chairs at the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee’s winter meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton. “Think what hap­pens “¦ if we do not suc­ceed in 2014. Just think of what is at stake for all that brought us in­to this pro­cess to be­gin with.”

Biden said ob­serv­ers should be more bullish about the Demo­crats’ chances in the Novem­ber elec­tions. Al­though con­trol of the House ap­pears un­at­tain­able for the party this cycle and Re­pub­lic­ans are ex­pand­ing the Sen­ate map, Biden said Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates are at an ad­vant­age, as long as they clearly lay out what they stand for and do not apo­lo­gize for it.

“I am so tired of hear­ing about the de­mise of the Demo­crat­ic Party.”¦ Give me a break,” Biden said. “I can’t think of a time … where the ma­jor­ity of the Amer­ic­an people agreed with us on every ma­jor is­sue we’re for.”

And Biden is will­ing to do his part to en­sure that mes­sage gets out, say­ing said he has agreed to cam­paign in more than 120 dif­fer­ent races this year. “I’ll cam­paign for or against you, whichever helps you most,” he said.

Biden did ac­know­ledge a prob­lem Demo­crats are already fa­cing in 2014: money. Out­side groups such as Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity have already spent tens of mil­lions of dol­lars on at­tack ads in key Sen­ate races across the coun­try, far out­pa­cing Demo­crats.

“So what are we wor­ried about? What we’re wor­ried about the Koch broth­ers and their friends bring­ing in mil­lions and mil­lions and mil­lions of dol­lars,” Biden said. But he ad­ded, “Money can’t buy an elec­tion when you’re selling a bad set of goods.”

Biden ad­vised the audi­ence not to fo­cus on 2016 just yet, but he has done little to quell spec­u­la­tion about his own pres­id­en­tial am­bi­tions, giv­ing in­ter­views to ma­jor news or­gan­iz­a­tions such as CNN and Time, and ap­pear­ing on pro­grams such as the Today show and Late Night with Seth Mey­ers over the past month.

In an ap­pear­ance on The View on Tues­day, Biden said, “It’s as likely I run as I don’t run” for the White House, and he said that wheth­er former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton — the likely front-run­ner on the Demo­crat­ic side — chooses to enter the race will not af­fect his own de­cision.

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