Monday, August 31, 2015

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 8/28/2015

"Shields and Brooks on Biden’s presidential pondering, voter perceptions of Clinton" PBS NewsHour 8/28/2015


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including whether Vice President Joe Biden will join the 2016 presidential race, whether Hillary Clinton has stumbled as a frontrunner and why Sen. Bernie Sanders still seems like a long shot despite drawing huge crowds.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Vice President Joe Biden weighs a run for the White House.  Party loyalists criticize Hillary Clinton’s handling of her personal e-mail account.  And Bernie Sanders continues to draw huge crowds and pulls ahead in New Hampshire — just a few of this week’s news developments, as we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.

That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome, gentlemen.

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated columnist:  Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, we have been spending a lot of time talking about the Republican race for the last few weeks.  Let’s spend some time tonight talking about the Democrats.

Joe Biden, David, a lot of talk about whether he’s going to get in.  He’s been meeting with the head of the Teamsters union.  He met with the liberal darling Elizabeth Warren, Senator Warren.  He’s got people advocating for him now at this big Democratic gathering in Minneapolis.

Do you think he’s going to get in?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  No.



Well, first, God bless him for his resilience.  The guy loses a son, and still wants to serve the country and still is emotionally strong enough to do it.  I salute him.  And — but — and he’s a wonderful man, and he’s a great public servant.

But what the country is in the mood for is anti-establishment.  I think that’s one of the reasons Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are sailing into headwinds.  Bernie Sanders has it.  Donald Trump has it in spades.  Joe Biden doesn’t have it.

And so whatever the problem is with the Clinton campaign, Joe Biden also has that problem.  And so I think he will get a sense of that larger atmosphere, let alone the money and the organization and all that, and Hillary Clinton’s still formidable strength, really.  And so my guess — it’s a guess shared by a lot of Democratic insiders — is that he won’t do it.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Do you share the guess?


And, you know, and with great respect for David, but I don’t think anybody knows.  As David indicated, he wasn’t sure.  It’s the most personal decision imaginable.  And, as David touched on, with the death of his son Beau in May, it becomes even more personal.  It’s a family decision.  He’s a grandfather.

I mean, he really is.  What you see with Joe Biden is what you get.  And that is — David’s right.  It is not an anti-establishment, but America is craving authenticity in 2016.  And Joe Biden brings authenticity to it.  He’s also a happy warrior.  He also communicates with working-class voters a lot better than most Democrats do, and I think better than Mrs. Clinton, Secretary Clinton did, except in the late primaries in 2008.

So I think he probably had ruled it out, he had accepted it earlier, and Hillary Clinton had wrapped up endorsements.  She had money, she had support, and she stumbled.  Make no mistake about it.  And she looks vulnerable.  And there’s a surge of affection for Joe Biden, and I don’t think he’s made the decision.

I think he’s going to make it shortly.  His conversation with Elizabeth Warren, there was no offer, no ask.  They spent an hour and 50 minutes together.  And 90 percent of it was talking about issues, and 10 percent — 10 minutes or so about politics.
MARK SHIELDS:  The pros, Judy, are basically, as Secretary Clinton — the Democratic Party has as its whole card is empathy, and that is a sense on the part of voters that they care about people like me.

In 2012, there were four presidential qualities that the exit poll of voters on the Election Day.  They asked, who has vision to the future, who’s a strong leader, who has — who shares your values?  Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by 10 points.  Who cares about people like you, 81-18 Barack Obama.

Bill Clinton always had that.  Bill Clinton, when you questioned his candor, his forthrightness, or his behavior, there was always a sense he cares about ordinary people, there is a real commitment there.

She, in this latest Quinnipiac poll, national poll yesterday, you know…

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Hillary Clinton?

MARK SHIELDS:  Hillary Clinton.  Who’s ahead, who’s behind us doesn’t mean anything.

They asked, who cares about people, the needs of someone like you?  And she was 46 percent agree, 51 percent disagree.  I mean, that is a killer.  Joe Biden has a far more positive rating, as does Bernie Sanders.

I mean, with Hillary Clinton, the first woman candidate and a Democrat who has been — Children’s Defense Fund and health care and all the rest of it — that’s a real problem.  I don’t care how many endorsements you have got, how many superdelegates you have got.  That becomes a real problem.

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