Former Obama strategist David Alexrod wonders in a CNN op-ed published Tuesday whether former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent gaffes and flip-flops — a “shambling week” — represent a “bad omen” for the 2020 frontrunner’s campaign.
The article comes after Axelrod warned Biden changing his position on the Hyde Amendment “raises questions about his own performance and his own steadiness and his campaign’s performance.”
“I think that this was a parable about Biden that goes to question marks about his candidacy,” he advised last week on CNN’s New Day. “His rollout was flawless in my view and he’s had a very solid spring, but this underscores questions that people have had about whether he can go the distance.”
Over the weekend, the seasoned Democrat operative mocked Biden for celebrating “Best Friends Day” with a tweet touting his relationship with Obama. The criticism is especially noteworthy, as Biden was once Axelrod’s boss in the White House, where the latter served as Senior Adviser to President Obama.
Axelrod’s op-ed, titled “For front-runner Biden, bad week or ominous omen?” reads in part:
[H]e’s still the front-runner. But after his last, shambling week, the new question is “Can Biden hang on?”
When Biden was asked twice by a woman on the campaign trail whether he would support the repeal of Hyde, he gave her an unqualified yes. But when video of the exchange surfaced last week, his campaign said he had “misheard” the question and still supported the ban.
Twenty-four hours later, after drawing fire from opponents and pleas from supporters, Biden reversed field again and announced his opposition to Hyde.
Compounding the awkwardness of this flip-flop-flip were the post-mortem stories in which Biden’s staff at first appeared to take credit for his change of mind and then said he made the decision himself in the car en route to the dinner at which he announced it.
Politicians flip and flop. That is not news. And every campaign survives occasional bumps in the road that are breathlessly reported yet rarely decisive. Still, this episode revived larger questions about the front-runner, who has twice failed to survive Iowa in previous bids for the presidency.
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