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The Biden Watch
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The Biden Watch

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

As a practicing Catholic and as one of the few individuals who had the opportunity to speak directly to the Pope during his time in Washington, it is worth pondering whether Joe Biden perhaps asked the  Pope for his advice about whether to run or not. It seems so far that everyone else has been giving him their advice so for a religious Catholic perhaps it was from the Pope that perhaps he sought guidance as well.

No one doubts that Biden would like to be President and there are numerous indications already that many—even within the Democratic Party–dislike Hillary. While there is certainly considerable flirtation or even genuine interest in Bernie Sanders, almost no analysts suggest that if even he were the nominee he could be elected. Biden understands the challenges he faces in terms of organization, fundraising, and hostility, but the issue will ultimately be whether the personal emotional toll on him and his family is something he genuinely want to undertake again.

There are, however, some curious indications that he may be leaning towards making a run. It seems that either there are leaks or spies because there seems to be so much energy being expended by the Clinton campaign to suggest the dangers to him were he to run. Even the Republican machine is trying to alarm him against making the run. There is also a serious possibility that internal polling is suggesting the seriousness that a Biden challenge would present to her campaign. Painting his historical negatives and suggesting the level of the dirt which might be used against him; scaring him off with the amount of money already raised; recognizing the ground game Clinton already has in place; suggesting the types of attack which will be used against; and even noting that there already is an organized Biden negative operation, might make a less optimistic soul than Biden back-off.

On the other hand, however, perhaps the fact that all of this energy has been exerted by the Clinton campaign to convince Biden not to run, suggests the extent Hillary may genuinely seek to persuade him not to run for fear what his entry would do to her own campaign. This is especially true as she faces the first debate where Sanders will aggressively attack her from the left and then at the end of October the congressional Benghazi hearings. She certainly would prefer to take on only Sanders (and O’Malley) than need to fight off Biden as well. It would seem for Biden ultimately beyond the personal issues, his only practical consideration remains is when are the cut-off dates for some of the caucus and primary states.  

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