Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is leaving New Hampshire behind.
The former vice president made a surprise decision to tuck tail and run ahead of the results from the nation’s first primary on Tuesday in the race for the White House, following a dismal performance in Iowa last week.
(Source: CBS Boston)
“We’re going to head to South Carolina tonight,” Biden told reporters Tuesday morning at a Manchester Dunkin’ Donuts. “And I’m going to Nevada… we’ve got to look at them all.”
Biden’s campaign is reportedly planning a “launch party” in South Carolina where he is expected to get a more favorable reception. But his abrupt decision to leave New Hampshire means a primary night party in Nashua, where he was originally scheduled to appear, will now go on without him Tuesday.
NEW: @JoeBiden is going to skip his party tonight in New Hampshire, headed to South Carolina. “Look we got a lot of good friends here in New Hampshire but this race ain’t over until you’ve got a significant portion of the electorate that haven’t voted yet,” he told us just now.
— Sarah Mucha (@sarahmucha) February 11, 2020
Biden was asked about the message his departure would be sending to New Hampshire voters.
“My message is that I’ve got to get to South Carolina,” he said. “I’ve gotta get to Nevada after that. I’m going to South Carolina and then to Nevada. And I’ve said from the beginning we’re gonna do that.”
He also did not think his decision would have a negative impact on undecided voters who were on the fence between voting for him or rivals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Adding to the uncertainty is the dramatic collapse of Joe Biden, who led here as recently as a month ago. Biden has already departed the Granite State, leaving his erstwhile supporters scrambling to pick a second choice. pic.twitter.com/qimTcEqkhl
— Virgil Texas (@virgiltexas) February 11, 2020
“The rest of the nation is out there. There’s an awful lot of electoral votes to be had,” he said. “And we’re going to see. But I think we’re going to do well in Nevada and South Carolina. And we’ll go from there.”
BREAKING: Joe Biden cancelled his New Hampshire primary party appearance, as planned,
& is headed straight for South Carolina.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) February 11, 2020
After the disastrous caucuses in Iowa, Biden told voters at a New Hampshire event last week that the dismal results for his 2020 campaign were being felt.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We took a gut punch in Iowa,” he told supporters in the Granite State.
At Friday’s Democratic presidential nomination debate, the 2020 hopeful who was once considered the frontrunner in the race, said “I took a hit in Iowa and I’m probably going to take a hit here.”
Biden attempted to be optimistic on Tuesday, saying he was still “mildly hopeful” and was angered by a Fox News question about him possibly “writing off” New Hampshire.
“I’m not writing off New Hampshire. I’m going to campaign like hell here in New Hampshire, as I’m going to do in Nevada, in South Carolina and beyond,” he said. “Look, this is just getting going here. This is a marathon.”
Joe Biden stops at a polling location in Manchester, NH with donuts and coffee for supporters. pic.twitter.com/npm2NNe9kb
— The Hill (@thehill) February 11, 2020
But his early exit, as was the case in Iowa when he left before the results were expected to be in, is not winning over critics – and even past supporters.
“If Biden does very poorly in New Hampshire, going forward those voters in Nevada and South Carolina are going to look at that electability argument in a very different light because to be electable, you need to win elections,” University of New Hampshire pollster Andrew Smith told Fox News.
And over at NBC, Andrea Mitchell lamented that the former vice president is “almost on fumes” and that his campaign is “beginning to have that feeling of a loser.”
“They’ve always said they didn’t expect Iowa and New Hampshire to be winning states for them. They’re trying to get to Nevada and South Carolina,” host Savannah Guthrie said on “Today” Tuesday. “But did they expect this kind of dismal finish in Iowa and what’s shaping up to be not a great finish here in New Hampshire?”
“Not at all. They could place fifth, certainly fourth, and the fact is they’re beginning to have that feeling of a loser,” Mitchell responded, noting the decline in African-American support indicated in a recent Quinnipiac poll.
“Joe Biden is almost on fumes really. This is a real problem for their campaign,” she added.
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