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This is the weekly campaign blogger post for Joe Biden.

Between its current fundraising push and the FEC matching funds, the Biden campaign finally has the resources to put up some solid ads. If you live in Iowa, you've probably already seen these:

The campaign blogger posts for Joe have tended to focus on four things: my personal reasons for supporting Joe, new policy initiatives, Iowa momentum (such as rising polls (now at 8%) or his myriad of endorsements), or his winning debate performances. I want to add something to that mix today: national and New Hampshire momentum. More specifically, great newspaper coverage.

About a week ago, Jerome wrote, "Newspapers are dead, and their endorsements don't mean squat." I disagree. Newspapers are certainly in decline, but there are plenty of folks in the hospital, even in the ICU, who aren't dead yet. Yesterday, Todd pointed out that the Des Moines Register's endorsement does seem to have made an impact, but there's more to it than that. People may not vote the way their local daily tells them to, but many want to vote for a candidate who is viable, and they do allow the paper to tell them which candidates fit that description. You'll never hear a voter say, "I support Joe Biden because the Storm Lake Times endorsed him!" but you might hear someone say, "Gee, a newspaper endorsement and the state House Majority Leader? I guess his campaign is stronger than I thought - maybe I should give him a second look." And while it is true that circulation isn't what it used to be, there are still more newspaper readers than there are bloggers or cable news watchers. Per Wikipedia, DailyKos has an average of 519,000 daily visitors, while 2.3 million souls suffer through Bill O'Reilly each night. The three networks beat out the newspapers, but the fact is that USA Today still has 2.3 million readers each day - and that's just in print, I don't know what the online numbers are. Newspapers continue to have more of an impact than blogs or cable news, and their coverage does shape the story.

Until that day, I'll remain excited about positive newspaper coverage, which Joe Biden has been receiving a lot of lately. The Des Moines Register may have endorsed Hillary, but you can tell it was close:

Even in our last major round of deliberations, we kept coming back to the question, Why not Joe Biden?

Many of the arguments we have made on behalf of the tested leadership of Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain apply to Biden as well. He knows how to get legislation passed. He, too, has deep foreign-policy expertise. We're inspired by his fierce defense of civil liberties. His work on legislation to combat domestic violence has no doubt prevented injuries and saved lives. He might, indeed, make a good president.

In my state of New Hampshire, I wait with bated breath for the Concord Monitor's endorsement, as they wrote a glowing article about Joe after he met with their editorial board:

Bush and most of Biden's competitors for the presidential nomination in his party share the tendency, he said, to view each problem abroad in "splendid isolation." Biden called this view "incredibly naïve" while speaking Monday to editors and reporters at the Concord Monitor. He said that the world has changed since the 1990s and that America's credibility abroad has suffered under an administration that has failed to consider other countries' viewpoints.

Several times, the Bush administration could have better protected America's interests by working harder to reach a consensus with its allies, he said. If the president had brokered an agreement with Turkey to allow troop passage before invading Iraq, Biden said, the domestic insurgency that followed Baghdad's fall could have been stymied. If the president had established a policy toward Russia with Europe when President Vladimir Putin began to move toward authoritarianism, his rise could have been curtailed. And if Bush would endorse Biden's plan to support local governance in Iraq, the country could stabilize.

"We don't try to connect the dots," he said. "There has been a tendency to think you can deal, in isolation, with single countries."

Update 10:32 PM: That's a great Concord Monitor article, but this is the one I actually meant to quote. Oops.

Biden, who will soon begin his 35th year as a U.S. senator, is a pragmatist. He is quick to separate the ideal from the achievable. In this season of promises, that's refreshing. His approach to health care, the top domestic issue, is by some standards, modest. It calls for insuring every child - children are cheap to insure than adults - and subsidizing the catastrophic care whose costs terrify the uninsured and underinsured. To move toward universal coverage, Biden would allow anyone to join the federal employee health plan on a sliding scale based on income.

Biden's health plan is hardly perfect. But he's right when he says it could avert the kind of massive pressure from insurers and other vested interests that could otherwise kill meaningful reform. Biden's right about a lot of things. He has only an outside shot of becoming president. But his opinions on the issues are worth hearing. End Update.

And while the Union Leader endorsed McCain, they still ran a good article about Biden this week on their front page:

Though he's clearly not interested in the top State Department job, he twists the notion that he's qualified for it into a positive for his presidential campaign.

"Are you prepared to vote for anyone for President at this point in time in our history who's not capable of being secretary of state? Would you consider appointing any of my opponents as secretary of state? Just think about it." ...

He is currently ranked as one of the least wealthy United States senators. But, Biden said, there's a "liberating aspect" to his non-millionaire status: "I don't owe anyone anything."...

Yes, yes, that's all early state stuff, and I promised you national momentum. First of all, Biden was last week's Democrat of the Week, along with Patrick Leahy, at Huffington Post for his outspoken stance on the CIA tapes scandal. And here's a story from yesterday's LA Times page A1:

This political volunteer knows about waiting.

For more than 20 years, she has nurtured the dream of a Biden presidency.

Goodmann is a longtime foot soldier for Biden on Iowa's eastern frontier. She was there when he sought the presidency in 1987. Two decades later, she campaigns for him again in her hometown....

"Jostling with windmills," she said. "I've been there before and won."

The AP today:

[Biden] draws enthusiastic crowds to his events and last week began his first sustained TV ad campaign. He was approved for $857,000 in matching funds this week by the Federal Election Commission, helping to ease the financial pressure on his cash-strapped campaign.

Operatives for rival candidates say privately they've detected substantial pockets of support for Biden in some rural areas and in the ethnic, heavily Catholic industrial towns along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa. Complicated caucus rules mean those pockets could produce enough delegates for Biden to have an impact.

With polls showing Bill Richardson's support appearing to fade and Chris Dodd still struggling to catch on, Biden's advisers are hoping for a strong fourth-place finish and say they can even envision coming in third. Their outside hope is for Biden somehow to overtake Edwards, who draws much of his support from the same blue-collar and rural voters Biden is trying to woo.

And finally, The New Republic:

For a man who has chaired two Senate committees, who has endured horrific personal tragedy, who thwarted Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination and has appeared on about 10,000 Sunday talk shows - who has paid his dues - Biden doesn't seem trapped by the grim specter of his poll standing. He seems to be having ... fun. The kind of face-to-face interaction that the trail offers - a chore for many candidates - is what seems to make him feel alive. (In this sense Biden is much like Bill Clinton, and nothing like Hillary.) After his remarks at the Benchwarmer, he schmoozes every voter as though that person alone will decide the caucus outcome. He spends close to five minutes explaining to one man why he dropped out of the 1988 presidential race, what Bork had to do with it, and how the decision may have saved his life (because Biden later discovered he was suffering from brain aneurysms)...

Earlier in the evening, Biden had offered his crowd an assurance: "I have the same passion and enthusiasm I had for this the day I walked on the Senate floor 35 years ago." As he stands amid a dwindling circle of voters, clearly prepared to chat until nobody's left, in the pursuit of a goal that barely seems attainable, you get the feeling he must really mean it.

You may also want to read these two Daily Kos diaries.

On a roll, bay-bee!

Update 10:32pm: If you'd like to volunteer, call 302-574-2008. Phone banking or recording earfl messages can happen from the comforts of your own home in Tucson or Miami!

On a personal note, I want to thank Shai for today's front-page domestic violence post. A very important and moving issue we should all consider, not just politically but socially, culturally, and emotionally as well. Thank you for bringing our attention to it tonight, Shai.

Tags: 2008, Iowa, joe biden, LA Times, New Hampshire, president (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: Newspapers

Which ad do you like better? I'm rather partial to January Night, as it mentions the Violence Against Women Act.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-21 05:30PM | 0 recs
Biden, aka Kerry 2.0

And the best part with Biden is that while Kerry made mis-steps, Biden makes outright screw-ups.

The media would have a party with Biden at the helm.

by jcjcjc 2007-12-21 06:13PM | 0 recs
Wrong

But there is an apt comparison between Biden and Kerry.  As Kerry was in 2004, Biden is this year's most experienced and articulate candidate on foreign policy and national security issues, and as Biden will, Kerry came surging from way behind in IA and then NH.  And, as Kerry would have been, Biden will make a great president.  Yes, I said "will."

by SenorSwanky 2007-12-21 06:39PM | 0 recs
Biden is something new

Kerry is stiff and distant. Biden is as gracious and personalable as they come. I say this having spoken with both twice.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-21 07:04PM | 0 recs
I'm reading his book

Now that I'm done with the semester for law school, I've finally got a chance to do some non-required reading for a change, and I've started reading Senator Biden's book "Promises to Keep". I'm only a few chapters in but it definitely lets me see aspects of his personality that never came through in the countless Sunday morning talk shows I've seen him on.

Anyhow, I wouldn't call myself a Biden supporter yet, but I am reading his book because I think he is worth a serious look. And besides from his great debate performances, the other major factor in getting me to take him more seriously have been your campaign blogger postings, Transplanted Texan. You've been informative, positive, and persuasive and I appreciate that.

But before you get too excited about me looking into Senator Biden, you should know that all the candidates except Senators Clinton and Gravel have been my favorite candidate at one point or another in the campaign. When your top four-plus choices decide not to run, that makes it hard to find a preferred candidate!

by Paul Simon Democrat 2007-12-21 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm reading his book

Nevertheless, I'll take the compliment in the hopes that there are many more like you, just not commenting. :)

I read Promises to Keep a few months ago, and frequently quote it in these posts. Let me know what you think once you're done!

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-21 09:23PM | 0 recs
bankruptcy bill

I like Joe Biden.  But I have a real problem with the bankruptcy bill.

Here's the thing, a lot of people cared very deeply about the bankruptcy bill.  I was reading talkingpointsmemo regularly at that time and read a lot of Elizabeth Warrens' very credible commentary about it.

I know the bankruptcy bill had been around for a while, and was "supposed to pass easily" (which shows the disconnect between congress and the public).  But the difference was that the internet had changed things in that time, and the public was able to more easily get clued in to what was going on.  I got the vibe that congress was annoyed we were horning in on their business with that one.

I never heard anything remotely credible about how or why the bankruptcy bill's benefits outweighed its central unfairness.  I never heard anything that remotely stacked up against the credibility of Elizabeth Warren or the bill's other detractors.

The bankruptcy bill was huge online.  I posted about it at my new weblog at the time, politology.us, and I was linked like crazy by left-wing and right-wing blogs alike.  I was briefly featured on several national tv shows on their blog news of the day segments - msnbc, cnn, etc.  

The most we were able to do was highly annoy Harry Reid and the others, but it was a cause that a lot of people cared deeply about.

I went to Biden's website and I saw almost no reference to it, aside from some comments in a blog entry from some vocal Biden supporters, only huffing about how the bankruptcy bill was something almost no one cared about, and how Biden's other strengths should make up for it.  Then there's the thing about him being from Delaware, so his vote is defensible.

It might be defensible if you're a Delaware Senator, but it's not defensible in that way if you're running for President.  And I'm also disappointed that Biden hasn't come clean on this one and actually spoken to the bill's positive and negative effects.  

This isn't cherry-picking one bill out of many, this was a symbol of how congress was divorced from the interests of the public.  No one in the public supported this bill.

If Biden's supporters want to know why he hasn't taken hold, I honestly believe this is a big part of it.  The online demographic is small, but powerful - they give a lot of fuel and a lot of money really fast.  The bankruptcy bill is basically a flame retardant for Biden.  Anyone over at daily kos associates him with it, and it's why he's never caught fire online.

And now with the rise in home foreclosures, partially fueled by how difficult it is to declare bankruptcy from credit cards, it's even harder to defend supporting that bill.

I would just like a straight answer from Biden on this one.  That's all I wanted when I went to his website.  I found nothing.  I want to know what it was I missed about this bill and why it was worth supporting, why it's worth all the negative effects and extra pain it is causing.  Either that, or I want to see him apologize and take accountability.

Without either of those, as much as I want to, I just can't support him.  And in this case, I know I speak for MANY other people.

by tunesmith 2007-12-22 12:52AM | 0 recs
Re: bankruptcy bill

It might be defensible if you're a Delaware Senator, but it's not defensible in that way if you're running for President.  And I'm also disappointed that Biden hasn't come clean on this one and actually spoken to the bill's positive and negative effects.  

He wasn't running for President at the time; he still had a large duty to his state, the national focus came later. And he did give a floor speech in which he explained the reason why he was voting for it was that it strengthened alimony laws, something he fought for for years. That speech is on his Senate webpage.

I don't think this has anything to do with his slowness to catch on. It's huge in the blogosphere, but almost never comes up in campaign trail Q&As.

Here's my standard answer:
I, too, disagree with Biden's work on the bankruptcy bill, but I understand his reasons for voting for it. He was in a different position than most senators: the bill strengthened alimony laws, something he had worked towards for a long time (which fits with his history as author of VAWA). It was also supposed to help his own Delaware constituency. Remember, Senators have to represent their home state as much as they do the country. Like I say, I disagree with his vote, but given the circumstances, I won't let it overshadow his plans for Iraq, Social Security, education, Darfur, Afghanistan, and more. I should also add that plenty of other senators were more "key" for the bill than Biden - he didn't co-sponsor it like Nelson (NE) and Johnson, and he wasn't the lead Dem on the relevant committee(s). I don't understand why he gets so much venom for this bill while the other 17 or so Dems who supported it, including Reid, Byrd, and Landrieu, get off so easily. Clinton, btw, was the only senator to skip that vote. If you want to understand the real credit industry influence, take a good hard look at the presidential campaign contributions for Clinton, Dodd, and Biden. And if you want to understand Biden's real stance on the middle class, take a look at his financial security plan.

I've also heard it said that bankruptcy is a symptom to a much larger problem, and we should be focused on curing the cause, not enabling the symptom. That's an idea worth exploring.

This is an issue Edwards is weak on, too, btw.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-22 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: bankruptcy bill

Clinton was in the hospital that day.  And Edwards says he was wrong about it.  It would be a start if Biden said the same thing.  And I have a hard time believing the alimony laws were the dominant part of the bill.

I'm not trying to put Biden down because like I said, I like the guy aside from this issue.  He doesn't have much traction so you can't say I have an agenda in trying to make him look bad by bringing it up.  It's an honest question.  But I don't really like the Edwards / Clinton comparison because that starts to feel like spin.

by tunesmith 2007-12-22 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: bankruptcy bill

They weren't the dominant part, but for Biden, they were the relevant part after years of hard work. Thanks for the info on Clinton, I didn't know that. It's very helpful, and I'll remove that bit about her from my standard answer. Has she said how she would have voted?

Understood.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-22 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: bankruptcy bill

I agree Joe Biden really screwed the pooch with the Bankruptcy Reform Bill, but does it matter? Biden is from Delaware, and sometimes you have to represent the interests of your state. This post has the best defense of the vote I've read so far:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/dis cuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address =132x3734869

I also watched this campaign appearance where Biden was asked about the vote (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4PQaoC_Z Nk).   While far from perfect, it was a bipartisan compromise that would allow him to finagle votes from Republicans for other important legislation and get something done. Isn't that what we all crave, pragmatic bipartisanship that gets something done? Sometimes you have to suck a few lemons with the lemonade. I don't forgive this vote lightly as it directly affected a family member trying to file bankruptcy at the time the bill passed. They missed the deadline and ended up still owing a lot to the CC scoundrels, because when you have breast cancer, you do what you have to do to keep the babies warm and fed.

However, please read this post from Biden himself on Iraq/Iran and tell me what other candidate has that detailed of analysis and plan to calm the Middle East. That to me is the most important thing in this election. I don't want my teenage sons being cannon fodder in a wider conflict in the next few years! So, I forgive the bankruptcy vote for now (saving the slaying of the CC companies for a day when we have peace), and support Joe. It is my view Hillary can't be elected (it would be close enough for the crooks to steal the election) even though I like her, and that Obama just doesn't understand foreign policy enough (we really NEED experience in that subject right now) and Edwards can't stand up against the right wing machine.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-biden/ meeting-the-iranian-chall_b_75628.html
December 6, 2007 8:06 PM

by SusanWYO 2007-12-23 07:41PM | 0 recs
thanks for this post

I have been working on a diary comparing Richardson and Biden in Iowa. The consensus seems to be that Biden is gaining more late deciders than Richardson. I am not yet convinced he will finish ahead of Richardson in terms of delegates. I can argue it both ways.

Earlier this year I thought there was a decent chance for a second-tier candidate to finish in the top two or three in Iowa. Since then, both Clinton and Obama have strengthened their positions in Iowa considerably.

The problem for Biden (and for Richardson), is that Democrats are much more satisfied with the leading candidates this year than they were last time.

A lot of undecided Iowans didn't like Dean or Gephardt at all, whereas now, a lot of undecided Iowans like one or more of the top three candidates. It makes it less likely that they will opt for a longshot candidate on caucus night.

I do think Biden will continue to gain support, though.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-22 03:32AM | 0 recs
regarding newspaper endorsements

As I have written, I believe they are much more valuable to a longshot candidate than they are to a top-tier candidate. I expect Biden to get more endorsements, and I expect that will help him persuade voters to consider him a viable option.

He deserved that DMR endorsement.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-22 03:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Newspapers

yeah Biden has as much of chance as santa claus......give me a break. This guy isnt winning the nomination. He is intelligent yes but arrogant as hell and it comes across most of the time......

by adbct 2007-12-22 03:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Newspapers

Biden, like all of the candidates, has votes I don't like.  In the last week, I have really come around on him.  He has the experience, foreign leaders already call him instead of Bush or Rice, he is a great speaker, he is a great debater, he is quick on his toes, and he has a interesting back story that voters would like (youngest senator ever elected, he is one of the poorest senators due to his pledge to not own any stocks, overcoming tragedy, riding public transport to be with his family most days, etc).  Because he doesn't need a VP with experience, he could pick anyone: Obama, Richardson, a female governor like Sebelius of Kansas, or a western governor like Schweitzer of Montana.

The Repubs will hammer Obama and Edwards on lack of experience, but you can't do that to Joe.  They will try to distort Joe's voting record, but they can do that with Clinton, Obama and Edwards too.  Biden's verbal missteps aren't much worse than some of the other candidates, and are absolutely nothing compared to our current President.

There are other candidates I like, but I think Joe  would be a great President, and our best general election candidate.

by skipos 2007-12-22 04:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Newspapers

Oh man, a Biden-Schweitzer ticket would make me sooooo happy!

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-22 09:24AM | 0 recs

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