Biden needs to get New Hampshire over with and move on if his campaign is to survive

In a surprise, former first lady Jill Biden goes up to a heckler approaching her husband and prevents him from getting closer.

SHARE Biden needs to get New Hampshire over with and move on if his campaign is to survive
Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Campaigns In New Hampshire Ahead Of Primary

Presidential candidate Joe Biden campaigns in New Hampshire ahead of its primary.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

MANCHESTER, N.H. — It’s a little after 8 a.m. on Monday, and even though President Donald Trump’s primary eve rally in this chilly and rainy city is 11 hours away, there are hundreds of people in line at the SNHU arena, a testimony to the resolve of Trump’s base.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden, the former vice president, whose central argument is that he alone in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field is strong enough to defeat Trump, is braced for a dismal Granite State outcome Tuesday.

After a fourth-place finish in Iowa, Biden needs to get New Hampshire over with and move on if his campaign is to survive.

JILL BIDEN BOUNCES HECKLER

In the evening, while Trump filled the 10,000-plus-seat arena, about 1.5 miles away Biden delivered his closer at the small St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral gym to a few hundred backers. It was not a strong showing of interest in Biden.

There was a surprise: As an iPhone-wielding heckler approached Biden — ex vice presidents do not have Secret Service protection — former second lady Jill Biden strode up and without hesitation put her hand on his arm, pushed back and blocked him from getting closer. Other security then escorted him out.

Biden in his remarks noted that Trump was in Manchester and joked the president was “following him around.”

Then he got down to business. “I need your help,” Biden said. “Stick with me 24 hours more and I promise you we’re going to do just fine, heading south and across this country. We’re going to win this nomination.”

Biden was referring to the next set of primaries in explaining how he could survive what could be a fourth-place finish.

“We’ve said from the outset of this campaign that we believe the path to the nomination for Joe Biden runs through Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told reporters Monday morning at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News.

The latest Boston Globe/WBZ/Suffolk poll has Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the lead, followed by ex-South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday busts Biden’s bragging rights that he is ahead in national polls.

The poll includes Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Sanders gets 25% to Biden at 17%; former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 15%; Warren at 14%; Buttigieg at 10%; and Klobuchar at 4%.

The Biden campaign offers several reasons why he is in such a tough fight. He is an underdog in New Hampshire because rivals from neighboring states — Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, from Massachusetts — have an advantage.

That theory is blown away with the potential success in New Hampshire of two Midwest contenders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

Another factor for Biden’s problems is that Iowa and New Hampshire do not play to his possible strengths. The first two states lack racial diversity.

“From the outset, our campaign has argued that, you know, no candidate has been the Democratic nominee for president since 1992 without the support of African American voters,” Bedingfield said.

“And Joe Biden is currently the candidate who has that support, who I think has the longest relationships and connections in the African American community.”

These states are “part of a package [in] that they are intentionally the first four because they give an opportunity for people from different parts of the country and for diverse voices to be part of the process,” she said.

African Americans make up a major South Carolina voter bloc.

The February states can make or break some candidacies in terms of momentum and fundraising. Their influence is outsized: the four states yield 155 delegates, or only about 5% of the number needed to be nominated.

Super Tuesday on March 3 has 1,357 delegates up for grabs, with the rest of the month pumping out 1,091 delegates. The Illinois primary is March 17. It takes 1,991 pledged delegates to win on a first ballot, according to the Democratic National Committee rules.

There is no real handicappingthe prospects of Biden or anyone else because of the late entry of billionaire Bloomberg.

BLOOMBERG FACTOR

Bloomberg could appeal to the moderate and crossover voters Biden is looking for.

He is skipping the first four states and focusing on the delegate-rich March states. Bloomberg has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a ground game and ads.

Biden and the other 2020 hopefuls have spent months in very personal campaigning in the early states in homes, churches and school gyms. That’s impossible to replicate after March, with so many states in play.

In Illinois, Biden has a string of elected officials backing him. But that playing field could be leveled because Bloomberg already has a commanding physical presence in Illinois.

His campaign has opened offices in Belleville, Springfield and Rock Island. In Chicago, Bloomberg has a state headquarters at 325 N. La Salle St. plus offices at 1130 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. and 740 E. 87th St.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg adds offices at 5607 W. Division St. and 2640 N. Narragansett Ave.

There is also the issue of whether Biden is hurt by his son, Hunter. Trump’s impeachment and acquittal last week was triggered by the revelation that he was pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son. Hunter Biden was hired for a lucrative position on the board of a Ukraine energy company.

Republicans want to keep Hunter Biden in the news.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked the Treasury Department for Hunter Biden related documents for their review of potential Obama-era conflicts.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity showed up at the Biden event, open to all press. He was asking people about Hunter, which he featured later on his show.

Kathy Heben, 70, from Manchester, a retired college business professor, said Hannity told her he wanted to know whether “her children would be offered a job getting paid (a) substantial amount of money and having no experience whatsoever in the field.”

Bedingfield said the Biden campaign has seen “no evidence that anything that Trump has said has changed the way that people think about him.

Heben she was originally “gung-ho” for Biden. After seeing Buttigieg and Klobuchar, she’s now undecided. Said Heben, “I’ve got to make up my mind tonight.”

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