- Sanders has appeal Clinton lacks on some issues, Biden says
- Trump could win, vice president says, adds he won't enter race
Vice President Joe Biden handicapped the 2016 U.S. presidential race and said Democrat Bernie Sanders has “credibility” on income inequality among the party’s primary voters that Hillary Clinton lacks.
“I think that Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real and he has credibility on,” Biden said in a CNN interview aired Tuesday when asked why Clinton, the early frontrunner, is struggling against Sanders in polls of states holding early contests for the Democratic nomination.
Biden, in another interview Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, said Republican Donald Trump has a real chance to be the ultimate winner of the presidential contest. But even if that scenario appears more likely, Biden said he doesn’t see himself reversing his decision to forgo a campaign and jump in as a late entrant into the race.
“I’ve learned never to say no, but I can’t imagine one. If I win the lottery maybe,” he said, adding that he was joking and hadn’t bought a Powerball ticket.
On income inequality, Biden said Clinton has “come forward with some really thoughtful approaches to deal with the issue.” But he added, “it’s relatively new for Hillary to talk about that. Hillary’s focus has been on other things up to now.” Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Sanders, a Vermont senator who identifies himself as a democratic socialist, has more resonance with voters on the issue at a time when the “basic bargain” with the middle class is “broken” as “productivity is up, wages are stagnant,” Biden said on CNN.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest later said Biden was trying to compliment both Clinton and Sanders.
“The vice president was giving credit where it’s due to Senator Sanders,” Earnest said in an interview Tuesday on Fox News. “Joe Biden was suggesting that she’s got some good ideas to capitalize on the progress we’ve made.”
Biden said Trump, who is leading among Republican Iowa caucus participants according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, has a chance of being the next U.S. president.
“Yes, I think it’s possible,” Biden said on “Today.” If Trump wins, “I hope he gets a lot more serious about the issues.”