Associated Press2019-03-17 07:07:47
A verbal slip by Democratic favourite Joe Biden has left party faithful wondering: did the former US vice-president accidentally reveal his plans to run for the White House?
In a keynote speech at a dinner for the Delaware Democratic party on Saturday, Biden boasted that he has “the most progressive record of anybody running”. The only problem is that Biden hasn’t announced whether he will launch a third run for the White House, despite repeatedly teasing the possibility.
He quickly corrected himself, clarifying that he meant to say “anybody who would run”, then adding, “I didn’t mean it” while a cheering crowd in his home state nearly drowned him out.
Although Biden has been known to go off script, his remark is likely to be viewed as a Washington-style gaffe – a case of accidentally telling the truth.
During the rest of his speech he sounded very much like a candidate-in-waiting. He repeatedly attacked the president, Donald Trump, accusing him of stoking division and anger, and bemoaned that the ascendant “new left” of his own party has criticised him for being cordial towards Republicans.
“The only thing strong enough to tear America apart is America itself, and we’ve seen its start,” he said.
Biden accused Trump of backing away from the United States’ role as a leader on the world stage and abandoning its allies. He said it’s no coincidence that “fake news” – one of Trump’s favourite labels – “has become the phrase of choice for every despot terrorising his people”.
“We’re literally in a battle for the soul of America,” he said.
More than a dozen Democrats have already launched formal 2020 presidential campaigns. After former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke entered the race last week, Biden, who is his party’s best-known and best-connected presidential prospect, is the last major contender to remain on the sidelines.
Longtime Biden adviser Sonia Schorr Sloan said: “I told him recently I have one campaign left in me.”
The Delaware governor, John Carney, said Biden “doesn’t just look like he’s back; he looks like he’s ready for a fight”.
Just minutes before Biden’s slip of the tongue, Carney told the crowd: “In my humble opinion, we have never needed Joe Biden more than we need him right now.”