This must be Joe Biden’s idea of a charm offensive:
Drop the charm, keep the offensive.
The former vice president has already made headlines by publicly clashing with potential Iowa supporters leading up to the state’s Feb. 3 caucuses, but an encounter Tuesday in the Hawkeye State sets a whole new standard for political campaigning.
Biden actually told the man he should “go vote for someone else.”
After this, there might be more people taking that advice.
The latest incident of Biden potentially alienating voters was captured on video, as he was challenged by Ed Fallon, a former Iowa state lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in 2006.
Unclear if Biden understands how campaigning and elections work… https://t.co/2uPLtLzX22
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) January 28, 2020
So Biden wasn’t just being rude to any old voter, he was antagonizing exactly the kind of Democratic voter that’s likely to decide the party’s primary contest. If this is Biden’s idea of retail politics, it’s a good thing he doesn’t run a store.
“I’m going to support you if you win the nomination because we’ve got to get rid of Trump, but what are we going to do about climate change?” Fallon asked.
“You say you’re against pipelines, but then you want to replace these gas lines. That’s not going to work.”
The man should “go vote for someone else,” Biden answered, before wrongly guessing the man was a supporter of Biden’s chief rival at the moment, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Now, leave aside the internecine Democratic differences over how to best bankrupt the American economy that’s been thriving during President Donald Trump’s years in office, just to fight a “climate change crisis” that might not even be real.
What comes across from the video is a Joe Biden who doesn’t brook dissent easily — which makes him fight right in with the Democratic Party — but also as a man who thinks repelling potential voters is a winning campaign strategy.
What also comes across is a man who has no compunction about putting his hands on a stranger in what’s pretty clearly an unfriendly manner. And it’s obviously not the first time Biden’s willingness to get personal with his touching has come up during the campaign.
Fallon’s description of the incident on Bold Iowa — with the headline “Biden didn’t need to do this to me” — would be very bad news for any candidate:
“And despite his repeated calls for unity, Biden rejects my offer to support him in the general election. That really shocked me,” Fallon wrote. “What was even more shocking was how Biden pushed and poked me, and then took hold of my jacket with both hands as he lectured me.
“I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it one more time: Joe Biden is the Democratic candidate LEAST likely to beat Donald Trump. His demeanor on the stump will inevitably come back to bite him, perhaps repeatedly. His propensity to violate personal space is a huge non-asset in politics, and his frequent gaffes are prime fodder for opponents and the media.”
And that’s a Democrat talking.
The social media reaction is likely giving Biden’s campaign heartburn, too:
Gave him a little bit of that old man attitude. I cringed hard when he grabbed his jacket, would have aggressively brushed his hands off me.
— Adam Benoit (@ThatGuyOhHim) January 29, 2020
Someone should tell Biden to stick to handshakes. No more shoves, pokes, or slaps; and definitely no more sniffing and caresssing.
— Brownian Motion (@cobrownell) January 29, 2020
The liberal newspaper the U.K. Guardian took notice of the occasion with a Twitter thread that asked “Why does Joe Biden keep losing his cool with voters?”
People with dementia are prone to irritability.
— Dominic Snyder (@DominicJSnyder) January 29, 2020
He would not be able to handle the general and definitely not the presidency. He loses his cool at the slightest pushback. Even a simple question sends him into a spiral. #BidenIsUnfit
— Bernie Brobody (@AndaleMierda) January 29, 2020
And this one is priceless:
I dunno, Biden 2020 Go Vote for Someone Else is pretty catchy.
— Hanlon’s Razor (@MagitekerDev) January 29, 2020
All in all, it wasn’t exactly what a political campaign needs a week before a crucial presidential contest.
According to RealClearPolitics polling average, Sanders is leading the Iowa race with 24.2 percent, followed by Biden at 21 percent, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 16.8 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14.7 percent and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar with 9.2 percent.
The rest of the field, including Fallon’s man Steyer, was under 5 percent.
So, Biden is clearly within striking distance in Iowa — unfortunately, if this video is anything to go by, he’s also withing striking distance of Iowa voters.
Not a lot of charm in that.
But plenty that’s offensive.
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