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Gates Book Could Further Damage Biden's 2016 Chances

Image: Gates Book Could Further Damage Biden's 2016 Chances

By Drew MacKenzie   |   Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 11:49 AM

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' attack on Vice President Joe Biden has dealt a new blow to his chances of becoming the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, according to The Washington Post.

In his just released book "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," Gates claims that Biden has been "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue" over the past four decades.

"The central question for a Biden 2016 campaign would be this: Can he actually be president? As in, is he serious enough to do the job?" writes Sean Sullivan in the Post.

"Biden's gaffe-prone nature — which may be exaggerated but is nonetheless a big part of his image — and colorful personality promise to raise all sorts of 'Is he really ready for this?' questions in the minds of voters.

"Gates' appraisal of Biden on what is arguably his signature issue — Biden was chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee — stands to feed doubts about seriousness and qualifications that have already been planted in the minds of voters across the country."

According to numerous reports, Biden has been attending Democratic fundraisers in Iowa and New Hampshire, both critical primary states, in what is perceived as a clear signal that he intends to run for the White House. He's also visited South Carolina, another early state.

Despite his visits to the state, Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad says the vice president would be "dead meat" to Iowa voters should he decide to actually run in 2016.

"Biden is so associated with this administration and all of its failures. He was unpopular before, and he is even less popular now," Branstad has said, according to reports.

Recent polls conducted by The Des Moines Register indicated that Branstad may be right. Almost one in five Iowa Democrats view the vice president unfavorably as a potential candidate in two years and six out of 10 people overall in Iowa dislike him, the Post has reported, citing the Register polls.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll also found that 62 percent of Iowa voters do not believe Biden would be a good president.

But the biggest roadblock to a Biden presidency would likely be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she decided to run in 2016. She is already widely viewed as the "overwhelming favorite" among all potential candidates to win the Democratic nomination, according to the Post.

In a recent Des Moines Register poll, she was rated favorably by nine out of 10 likely Democratic voters. Interestingly, Clinton's rating appeared not to suffer from her association with the Obama administration while Biden's did.

History is also not on Biden's side. Sitting vice presidents rarely follow in the footsteps of their immediate bosses. In 1988, for example, former President George H.W. Bush became the first vice president to be elected to the top job since Martin Van Buren in 1836.

"In the here and now, the prospects of Biden winning the nomination, let alone the presidency, are looking dimmer by the day," Sullivan wrote in the Post.

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