Former vice president Joe Biden is campaigning in Texas, where MSNBC reports the overarching theme is the “skepticism” voters there have about the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
Biden is holding his first town hall of his campaign with the American Federation of Teachers in Houston on Tuesday, and MSNBC’s Garrett Haake headed to the Lone Star State a little early to gauge how voters feel about the 76-year-old career politician.
“Skepticism” is the word Haake used to describe the mood.
“I’ve been talking to voters here all morning, a wide diverse group of opinions, about this race,” Haake reported from The Breakfast Club, in downtown southwest Houston. “What I have been struck by is the almost unanimity about some skepticism still about Biden. Some work that he is still going to have to do to convince voters that he is the right man for this particular moment.”
Biden has faced a barrage of criticism about his hands-on politics, including a habit of stroking women and children and creepily sniffing their hair, though he’s refused to apologize and take full ownership of his inappropriate actions. The numerous allegations have surfaces as Biden has positioned himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement.
He’s also an elderly white male with a lengthy career in politics, essentially the opposite of the diverse and youthful image the Democrat Party aims to portray.
But it wasn’t Biden’s age or race that’s causing concerns with Houston voters, it’s his politics.
Houston voter Lundyn Davis, a young black woman, told MSNBC Biden is too “middle ground.”
“I don’t think you beat something so far right with something so middle ground,” Davis said, referring to Trump and Biden. “Joe Biden is very middle ground for me and I think you need something a little more far left to combat that.”
Another black man who was not identified said all Biden has going for him is his “cool black friend.”
“He’s uncle Joe. Everybody likes their fluffy uncle,” the man said. “But he’s Barack Obama’s friend. He’s got the cool black friend, ok, that’s all it is.
“Joe has a terrible history in the black community, and everybody just loves him because he’s a fluffy old guy,” the man continued. “He’s given us no policies, and I like Joe Biden.”
“It doesn’t sound like it,” Haake chimed in.
“I do like Joe Biden,” the man claimed, “as a vice president.”
Despite Biden’s repeated promises that “no one is going to work harder” to earn votes in 2020, his campaign schedule suggests otherwise. Biden has attended only 11 public events since he officially declared his candidacy more than a month ago, far less than other Democrat challengers, CNN reports.
It’s all part of a strategy limit the elderly Biden’s exposure while taking advantage of his status as the frontrunner, “a source close to the campaign” told the news site.
“The sparse public schedule is likely to continue, with Biden likely to spend much of the next month fundraising and preparing for the first Democratic debate. The campaign’s use of his time underscores Biden’s decision to run a front-runner’s campaign – limiting his time on the campaign trail while seizing on opportunities to joust with President Donald Trump, but staying far away from the intra-party policy debates that could put him at risk of alienating segments of the Democratic electorate,” CNN reports.