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“The next president of the United States, Joe Biden.”
It’s June 9, 1987,
and then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr.
has just entered the presidential race.
Look familiar?
The 2020 race is Biden’s third attempt at the Oval Office.
He first ran for president 32 years ago.
For those who may have forgotten
or weren’t around in ’87,
here’s what happened.
Biden started off as a strong contender.
“Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.”
But his campaign was marred by some early blunders,
like this one.
“What law school did you attend and where did you
place in that class?”
“And the other question is—”
“I think I probably have a much higher IQ
than you do, I suspect.”
And he exaggerated his academic record
in law school.
“—went back to law school,
and in fact ended up
in the top half of my class.”
And then there were moments like this, repeated later
during the campaign.
“When I marched in the civil rights movement,
I marched with tens of thousands of others
to change attitudes.”
But he never actually marched
in the civil rights movement at all.
Ultimately, it was accusations of plagiarism
in his speeches
“I did not know that was
a Robert Kennedy quote. My mistake.”
that forced him to drop out of the race.
“I made some mistakes.”
After that,
Biden stayed in the Senate,
ran again in the 2008 race,
became the vice-presidential nominee,
and then the vice president,
laid low for a little while
and now we’re here.
“If I’m going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020,
it’s going to happen here.”
And certain things, including a handful
of Biden’s vulnerabilities, haven’t changed.
He’s still leaning into some of the core messages
he highlighted during his first presidential run
often emphasizing his profile over policy,
promising to put the country on the right path
after what he sees as the ills
of Republican administrations.
Here he is in 1987.
“I tell you today that America is a nation at risk.”
In 2007.
“This president is going to be judged,
and his administration judged, very harshly by history.”
And in 2019.
“We’re in the battle for the soul of this nation.”
But Biden has struggled to project himself
as a man in step with the times.
And parts of his political history
continue to haunt him,
like his role in the questioning of Anita Hill in 1991.
"It is appropriate to ask Professor Hill
anything any member wishes to ask her
to plumb the depths of her credibility.”
And more recently,
it was his relationship with personal space.
“The boundaries of protecting personal space
have been reset and I get it.”
Throughout his more than four-decade-long career
in politics, Biden has become known
for his freewheeling charm and authenticity.
“I’ve been referred to as ‘Middle-Class Joe.’
It’s not always meant as a compliment.”
But his candor has also gotten him into some trouble.
“I’ve done some dumb things
and I'll do dumb things again.”
As the Democratic front-runner,
Biden will be under a microscope.
The question is whether he can harness the folksy appeal
he’s become known for without repeating
the mistakes of the past.
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Why Biden’s First Run for President Failed | NYT News

8 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 25, 2020
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