Townhall has been extensively covering President Joe Biden’s disastrous “60 Minutes” interview from Sunday night, of which there are many embarrassing highlights reminding us why it had been several months since the president gave an interview. This includes his remarks on whether or not he’ll run for re-election in 2024, as Biden emphasized how “it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.”
Biden has certainly made it clear that it was at least his “intention” to run for re-election, especially if former President Donald Trump also runs, setting them on course for a rematch of the 2020 presidential election.
It wasn’t just Biden, though. Certain top Democrats have gone to great lengths to sell this narrative that Biden will be the nominee.
Just before the interview aired, The Hill on Saturday published Amie Parnes’ “Biden says he’s running. Democrats still have their doubts.” The idea that fellow Democrats don’t want him to run again is nothing new. The timing is particularly eyebrow-raising, though.
The piece begins by mentioning Cedric Richmond almost right away, a former congressman from Louisiana who also served as a senior adviser to the president.
From Parnes’ piece:
“He’s running and we’re building an infrastructure for him to run and win,” Richmond told NBC. “Right now, it’s all an early investment in 2024 while we’re helping 2022.”
The day before that, The Hill also published Alex Gangitano’s piece, “Cedric Richmond on Biden 2024: ‘He’s running.'” The piece began by mentioning that “Cedric Richmond, a former Biden White House official, definitively said this week that President Biden will run again in 2024 amid questions about his political longevity.”
That NBC News article, also from Friday, put together by numerous writers, had a more somber headline, “Biden aides are quietly assembling a 2024 campaign as they await a final decision on his political future.”
Although the piece mentions “nine people familiar with the planning” rather than direct attribution, that’s a pretty significant operation, especially if Biden doesn’t even run.
As the article begins:
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s top aides have been quietly building a 2024 campaign effort, with increasing discussions about who might manage the operation, potential themes and structure, according to nine people familiar with the planning.
The current plan is for a Biden re-election effort to rely heavily on the resources of the Democratic National Committee and only have a small campaign staff, a cost-saving configuration that follows the model of then-President Bill Clinton’s re-election bid and dramatically differs from then-President Barack Obama’s campaign, these people said.
Biden and his top advisers also are using the homestretch to November’s midterm elections to test possible 2024 themes, the people familiar with the discussions said, such as taking on wealthy special interests and casting his achievements in office as “promises made, promises kept.”
Richmond is mentioned several paragraphs down:
At the same time, people familiar with the discussions said the process is quintessential Biden in that it’s painstakingly deliberative, and key components remain unsettled, leaving some Democrats still unconvinced that he’ll ultimately run. The DNC-campaign dynamic in particular suggests an approach of going through the motions to a Biden 2024 bid in that it sets up a political operation that could instantly mobilize if he runs or could transfer to a different nominee if he stands down.
“He’s running and we’re building an infrastructure for him to run and win,” said Cedric Richmond, a key Biden adviser who moved from the White House to the DNC earlier this year. “Right now, it’s all an early investment in 2024 while we’re helping 2022.”
Speaking of these fellow Democrats referenced in Parnes’ headline who “have their doubts,” poll after poll shows that voters, including those who were instrumental in sending Biden to the White House after the 2020 election, want someone else. Many Democratic politicians refuse to say whether they’ll support Biden in 2024.
Not only does Biden not listen to the polls, but he also doesn’t understand them. When approached by a reporter about the results of a July poll from The New York Times/Siena College, which found that 64 percent of Democrats want someone other than Biden in 2024, he rattled off other findings instead.
Even Democratic allies in the mainstream media, like The Washington Post, have joined in on the speculation that someone else will be the nominee. This includes not just op-eds calling on Biden to not run but speculative news pieces, including multiple from The New York Times in recent months.
Richmond has also been cited in those news pieces as a counter-perspective assuring that Biden will run again.
It wasn’t merely Richmond but also DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison. The NBC News piece mentions the DNC at great length, more than a dozen times in fact, as what Biden will likely rely on.
That being said, what mention there is of Harrison is not a positive one:
The dynamic would also give Biden flexibility on the timing of an announcement because most of the work to build a campaign apparatus would already have been done by the DNC.
But while a DNC-centric campaign might seem to be a natural fit for Biden, relying on the committee poses risks. The DNC has been plagued by dysfunction in recent years and, as NBC News reported early this year, tensions between committee chairman Jaime Harrison and the White House left the former feeling isolated in the job and considering an early exit.
“I’ve been around this for 40 years and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a good thing about the DNC,” said Joe Lockhart, a former Clinton White House press secretary. “People are always complaining about it.”
One wouldn’t know that from how Harrison was trying to save face during his appearance late last month on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” during which he defended Biden referring to his Republican opponents and their philosophy as “like semi-fascism.”
When host Major Garrett also asked Harrison about 2024, the DNC chairman appeared quite confident as he assured Biden “has consistently said that his intention is to run for president in the United States,” offering “the Democratic National Committee will be fully behind him and Kamala Harris” as he claimed, “This president has a record of achievement, and America needs President Biden to continue that effort.”
The same day Harrison appeared on the show, a USA Today/Ipsos poll revealed that 56 percent of Democrats do not want Biden to run for re-election, and only 60 percent think he can win.
We can count NBC News as another outlet that has highlighted dysfunction at the White House, not merely when it comes to Harrison but how Biden has felt undermined by his staff. The sentiments expressed in a previous NBC News report from May 31 are still being felt over three and a half months later as we get closer not only to the midterms but to 2024.