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Politics & Government

Could Biden Catch Clinton In A White House Bid?

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Reports are resurfacing this weekend that Vice President Joe Biden is seriously mulling a run for president next year. Mr. Biden's supporters had set aside talk about another White House bid during the illness and then the death of his son, Beau Biden. Now it appears those conversations may have kicked off again, though there has been no confirmation from the vice president himself on whether he'll run. The news comes amid signs that Hillary Clinton is facing a decline in favorability ratings, and Democrats may be looking for another alternative. That is what our next guest is hoping for, anyway. His name is Will Pierce, and he's the executive director of the political action committee called Draft Biden 2016. Good morning, William, thanks for being with us.

WILL PIERCE: Thank you very much for having me on, Rachel. And you're very right. We've just seen a lot of momentum here for the vice president.

MARTIN: Well, let me ask you, can you tell us about any conversations you have had with the vice president's inner circle? Is he actually more likely to run today than he was a few weeks ago?

PIERCE: I haven't had any direct conversations with anyone in his inner circle, but in the coming days and weeks, we'll be making some announcements about some new staff and advisers joining onto our effort, just because they've seen a momentum that the vice president has been seeing as well.

MARTIN: The media reports on this cite anonymous sources and point to things like close Biden political advisers meeting with potential Democratic donors. It's nothing concrete though. I mean, what's the benefit to you and your PAC in trying to gin up this conversation? Is it just wishful thinking on your part?

PIERCE: It's not wishful thinking. We have been seeing a lot of movement over the past few weeks and over the past few months. One thing that we know about the vice president, he's resilient. When he was just elected to the United States Senate at the age of 29, his wife and his daughter were tragically killed in that car accident. And like many people, he could have just used that as an excuse to not serve in public service, but instead he used that as motivation. Every day he took the Amtrak back and forth to Wilmington so he could be with Beau and Hunter. And that's one reason why I support the vice president. He's a resilient man, basically, who's just a testament of public service.

MARTIN: Will, let me ask you, why do you think there's an opening here? Hillary Clinton may be dipping in the polls, but she's got broad-based support in the party. Her campaign has a well-established ground game. And, perhaps more importantly, she's got a whole lot of money. Can Vice President Joe Biden compete and how?

PIERCE: Well, what I think we're seeing in this election cycle is a desire on the part of the American people for a candidate who is candid and genuine and who would tell people the truth. And they think...

MARTIN: Are you suggesting Hillary Clinton is not those things?

PIERCE: No, it's just that recent poll numbers has shown that the vice president has been leading in that Democratic and Republican side. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, it said the most - the number one thing that the American voters want this election is honesty, trust. And the vice president beat every candidate on the Democratic and Republican side because that's just what the American voter's looking for. And that's just who the vice president is.

MARTIN: Americans also love outsiders when it comes to politics, someone who can point at Washington and say, it's broken; here's how I can fix it. How does a sitting vice president with two failed presidential bids under his belt - how does he get voters to look at him in a new way?

PIERCE: Because basically, if you look back at the last seven to eight years as our country, the vice president - he's always been a leader and basically he's been just - it would be a continuation of the Obama legacy. Basically, what we've seen this - the past seven years, is we've seen an upturn in our economy. We've seen, basically, American getting back to work, and that's who the vice president is. He's just a man who's just focused on sharing that anyone can achieve the middle-class dream.

MARTIN: Presidential campaigns, as you very well know, they're grueling. And the Biden family is still actively grieving the loss of Beau Biden. Is a presidential campaign, which would be a third for Vice President Joe Biden, is it emotionally feasible?

PIERCE: I think it is emotionally feasible. And like I just said, Rachel, one thing about the vice president, he is basically - when most people think he's down and out, basically he can't do anything else, he uses that as strength. Basically, when Beau died two months ago, the governor of Delaware - he said we're all Biden - members of the Biden family. And I think that's true. I just think that the vice president, he will just use the strength from just, not only his supporters, but basically just everyone behind him just to help him keep going forward.

MARTIN: Will Pierce is the executive director of the political action committee, Draft Biden 2016. Thanks so much for talking with us this morning.

PIERCE: Thank you very much. You have a good day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.