WASHINGTON — After former Vice President Joe Biden’s poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats in Congress who want to support a moderate candidate are reassessing who they think would be best to beat President Donald Trump in November.
With Biden having placed fourth and fifth in the first two presidential contests, some Democrats are voicing concern that there won’t be a nominee who can appeal to the entire country, despite the moderate positioning of Pete Buttigieg and Sen.
Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich.
“I think he’s got a real campaign and a real message around unity, job growth, trusted leadership and making government work.”
Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said he didn’t want to talk about individual candidates, but he added: “If Bloomberg‘s the nominee, I’d support him. I loved when he said, when somebody asked him, ‘Does the country want two billionaires running against each other?’ and he said, ‘Who is the other one?’ So that tells you, one, how well he knows Trump, and second, how smart he is, and I’ll leave it at that.
Mike Braun, R-Ind.
Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
, who visited Trump at the White House this week, told NBC News: “I actually said this to the president the other day, ‘Do you regret getting rid of Joe Biden so early?’ And he said, ‘Well, you know ..
“The fact that they are wealthy in and of itself shouldn’t disqualify them, but it doesn’t qualify them for office, either,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
But newly elected liberal Reps.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
They specifically brought up the recent surfacing of an audio clip of Bloomberg defending New York‘s stop-and-frisk policing policy, which was unearthed by a podcaster who supports Sanders — which Trump, despite supporting the policy himself, has seized on in criticizing Bloomberg.
“I think our housing crisis was precipitated, or rather accelerated, under his leadership,” she said. “And frankly, you know, we all know stop-and-frisk.
That was my family, and that was my community, and that was my neighborhood. And we know that this was a policy that decimated a lot of families.
“By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95 percent, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner,” he said, adding, “I regret that, and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on black and Latino communities.”
Biden, for his part, left New Hampshire early for South Carolina, where he’s counting on his strength with black voters to redeem his struggling campaign in the state’s primary at the end of the month.
“I hear all these experts and pundits and tell them it ain’t over, man,” he told supporters there. “We’re just getting started.
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A Biden ally, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.
, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told MSNBC on Wednesday that Biden “has not projected out into the future the way people would like for him to do.”
And while Clyburn said he still thought Biden was, “as of this moment, the leading candidate in South Carolina,” he also added, “I do believe as we go into South Carolina it is a five-way contest right now.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, former chair of the Democratic National Committee. “And I am confident that our caucus and Democrats across the country and many Republicans will unite to oust this infection that has invaded the White House.