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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Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines threatened to kick U.S. troops out of the country, adding that if he remains president for more than one term he will move to terminate all military deals with America. Last week, Duterte called for a separation between the two countries, though other government officials immediately said he did not mean that literally.