Report: Joe Biden’s Advisers Scrap Campaign Launch Video at Last Minute

Former Vice President Joe Biden arrives for a forum on the opioid epidemic, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Tensions among former Vice President Joe Biden’s advisers are rising ahead of the Thursday launch of his 2020 presidential bid, according to a new report, with a last-minute replacement of his announcement video and major worries about his fundraising needs.

The New York Times reports Biden will enter the crowded Democratic field with zero campaign dollars and will need to raise at least $100,000 per day until Christmas if he wants to match the amount of cash that rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had in the bank on April 1st. Members of Team Biden are said to be concerned that the 76-year-old may not be able to raise the type of money Sanders and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) did in the first days of their campaigns. Each candidate took in roughly $6 million within the first 24 hours.

“I don’t think the challenge is underestimated by the Biden team,” Rufus Gifford, President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign finance director, told the Times. “This is going to be tough. This is going to be a heavy lift,” Gifford added. “The Obama people are not a given, and they’re going to have to work for them just like everyone has to work for them.”

The Times reports that fundraising isn’t the only matter advisors are worried about. At the last minute, his camp has reportedly scrapped and is scrambling to replace the video announcing his candidacy.

Even before he formally enters the race, Mr. Biden is grappling with some internal tensions as he builds an organization: A launch video crafted by his new media consultant, Mark Putnam, was not favorably received by other advisers, and the former vice president’s longtime aide Mike Donilon devised an alternative video, according to two Democrats briefed on the dispute.

TIME magazine reported last week that others close to Biden are worried that his 2020 preparations have thus far largely been a failure. “I’ve never seen anything so half-assed,” one former Biden aide said.“They’re improvising and doing last-minute planning. The guy has been running for President since 1987 and can’t figure the basics out, like where to stand on his first day? This should make everyone very nervous.”

Biden is slated to announce his campaign on Thursday in the city of Pittsburgh, PA, backing out of Charlottesville, VA — an idea kicked around by aides in recent weeks, fraught with the risk of starting the campaign on a note of racial tension due to its association with the hoax narrative that President Trump called neo-Nazis marching in the city “very fine people.” In addition to the venue change, the campaign pushed back the launch date by one day.

Biden’s campaign was plunged into chaos last month after several women accused the former vice president of inappropriate touching. His first accuser, former Nevada Democrat Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, alleges that Biden kissed the back of her neck and sniffed her hair during a 2014 event. Biden released a video statement saying that he would be “much more mindful” of others’ personal space in response to several allegations of inappropriate touching — but did not explicitly apologize for his conduct. He later told reporters “I’m not sorry for anything I have ever done” and joked about consent — including for touching children — at an electrical workers’ union event.
Nonetheless, a Monmouth University national poll released Tuesday shows Biden leading the field with 27 percent support among likely Democrat voters, while Sanders ranks number two at 20 percent.

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