On Thursday afternoon, Biden was in Boston, where he joined the picketing of the Stop & Shop supermarket chain by the United Food and Commercial Workers, in his third appearance with a union crowd in the past six weeks. Workers there, as when he addressed the Fire Fighters union in March, held up “Run Joe Run!” signs. “Bankers, Wall Street and CEOs didn’t build this country,” he told them, as he spoke about the dignity of workers, health care and good wages. “You did!”
Biden and his team have been eagerly taking in nearly every public poll that has him in first place, convinced those numbers will only grow, despite many Democratic operatives, on opposing campaigns and beyond, who believe he’ll start leeching support almost as soon as he declares. Biden’s doubters are convinced that he seems better as a theoretical alternative than someone people would actually support, especially when they start looking at his record closely.
Already, the scrutiny has started, with attention to his opposition to school busing in the 1970s, as well as his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee during the Anita Hill hearings in 1991, which many women have never forgiven him for, and which he’s stumbled in trying to explain since—“I wish I could have done something,” is how he put it in late March, infuriating people who pointed out that he was in charge of the process.
And besides, what’s come out so far, in the press and from other campaigns, is only the beginning of what Biden will have to explain. “There is a concentrated [opposition research] dump on him and will continue to be,” one person close to Biden said earlier this month, reflecting on the touching accusations and expecting more. But after a few days of intense coverage, which eventually included about 10 women speaking out, the news cycle—and the outrage cycle—tumbled forward. That may change with his announcement.
Biden has been keeping a light public schedule in the last two weeks, as his deliberations reached a logical conclusion. On Tuesday, he was in South Carolina to deliver a eulogy for his old friend, former Senator Fritz Hollings. In his remarks, Bidensaid that Hollings had taught him about “recognizing that we can learn from the past and build a better future.” On the cusp of a campaign in which he’ll aim to make his long record in politics a strength, not a weakness, Biden said Hollings had been an example of how “what a man will do in public office is best told by what he’s done.”
Now we’ll get to see what Biden’s actually able to do.
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