CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called attention to the Chicago teachers’ strike at an event for Teacher Union Day in New York on Sunday.
Biden spoke Sunday at an event organized by the United Federation of Teachers, the union representing New York City teachers. The event was held at the New York Hilton on Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
In his address, Biden spoke about teachers’ strikes and called them courageous, and he specifically brought up the strike by members of the Chicago Teachers’ Union that began this past Thursday.
“It was pretty novel 60 years ago. It took some courage to decide to go on strike; walk out. We celebrate the bravery of those teachers today and the school professionals that went with them,” Biden said. “But we also know that no educator wants to go on strike. It’s the last damn thing you want to do. The teachers’ strike in Chicago right now, you know every one of them would much rather be in the classroom, for real. For real – with their kids.”
Teachers walked out on Thursday after locking horns with the Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Public Schools on several issues – notably including staffing and class sizes.
CTU leaders said the city has made commitments to reducing class sizes and increasing staffing, but the union wants to include language to enforce those provisions.
Mayor Lightfoot said Saturday that it is unlikely a deal will get done in time to resume classes on Monday.
In his address in New York, Biden also said he would take on the National Rifle Association and implied a link between the gun-rights organization and school shootings. He said he would “take on the NRA so we don’t have kids going to school learn how to duck and cover.”
Biden further said the next U.S. Secretary of Education should be someone with teaching experience. Current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and of the Windquest Group investment and management firm, who is known for supporting charter schools, school choice, and vouchers.
“Four years of Betsy DeVos is plenty, it’s enough. It’s enough,” Biden said. “And I’ve been saying this and I mean it, we’re going to make sure the next Secretary of Education is a teacher, someone who’s taught in a classroom.”
Biden has always been a pro-union guy, smart of him to remind people of that.
Former Vice President Joe Biden's lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for president has rebounded, and now stands at its widest margin since April, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.
Biden has the support of 34% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, his best showing in CNN polling since just after his campaign's formal launch on April 25.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are about even for second, with 19% and 16%, respectively. Behind them, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris of California each have 6% support, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke each at 3%.
Biden's rise comes largely from a consolidation of support among his core backers, and doesn't appear to harm any individual opponent. Warren and Sanders hold about even with their standing in the last CNN poll in September, and no other candidate has seen a shift of more than 2 points in that time.
But Biden has seen big spikes in support among moderate and conservative Democrats (43% support him now, up from 29% in the September poll), racial and ethnic minorities (from 28% among all nonwhites in September to 42% now) and older voters (up 13 points since September among those 45 and older) that outpace those among younger potential Democratic voters (up 5 points among those younger than 45).
The gains come as Biden's time as vice president is put under the spotlight by President Donald Trump and his allies. Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry by the House of Representatives over allegations that he pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as the 2016 US election in return for releasing hundreds of millions in congressionally mandated defense funding meant for Ukraine. Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company while Biden was vice president. There is no evidence that either Biden did anything wrong in Ukraine.
The poll suggests that although Biden's October debate performance did not blow away the audience (15% who watched or followed news about it said he had done the best job in the debate, well behind Warren's 28% — but better than most on the stage), the arguments he made on health care, foreign policy and the economy may have boosted his standing with the potential Democratic electorate.
Asked which candidate would best handle a range of top issues, Biden leads the way on four of the six issues tested in the poll. He holds a massive edge over the field on foreign policy (56% say he would handle it best, well ahead of Sanders at 13% and Warren at 11%), and tops the next closest candidate by nearly 20 points on the economy (38% Biden, 19% Sanders, 16% Warren). Biden also outpaces the rest of the field as most trusted on immigration (29% Biden, 16% each Warren and Sanders) and gun policy (27% vs. 13% Sanders and 11% Warren, with O'Rourke close at 9%).
Biden doesn't hold a significant edge on the critical issue of health care (31% Biden, 28% Sanders, 17% Warren) but he's surged 13 points on the issue since June, when he lagged behind Sanders. Neither Sanders' nor Warren's numbers on the issue have moved significantly in that time.
And Biden now runs even with Sanders at 26% as best able to handle the climate crisis. Warren is at 18% on that issue. The results mark increases for Biden and Sanders, who were each at 19% on handling the climate in June.
The former vice president's advantages on the issues come as he emphasizes an approach that appears to align with the preferences of most potential Democratic voters. A 53% majority say they want the nominee to advocate policies that have a good chance of becoming law, even if the changes aren't as big, vs. 42% who prefer advocating big changes even if they have less of a chance of becoming law.
Among those voters who prefer an approach that prioritizes policies with a better chance of becoming law, 38% support Biden for the Democratic nomination, 17% Warren and just 8% Sanders. On the other side, it's nearly a three-way split, with 27% behind Biden, 24% Sanders and 21% Warren.
About 1 in 5 potential Democratic voters say they watched last week's debate among 12 Democratic candidates, and those who watched it came away with a different assessment than those who mainly followed news about the debate. Overall, among everyone who either watched or followed news coverage on the debate, 28% say Warren had the best night, 15% Biden, 13% Sanders, 11% Buttigieg, 4% Klobuchar and 2% Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, with the rest at 1% or less. Among those who say they watched it, though, Warren remains on top at 29%, but 21% say Buttigieg had the best night, then 13% Biden, 11% Sanders, 10% Klobuchar and 4% Booker, with everyone else at 1% or less.
And those who watched the debate seem to have more favorable views of the lesser-known candidates who were seen as having good nights than do those who followed coverage. Among debate watchers, 74% have a favorable view of Buttigieg, vs. 54% among those who followed news instead. Booker's favorability rating is 80% among those who watched, vs. 55% among those who followed coverage, and Klobuchar's favorability stands at 56% among watchers vs. 36% among those who followed news.
Warren tops the list of candidates who potential Democratic voters say they want to hear more about: 31% name her, 24% Buttigieg, 23% Harris, 18% Booker, 17% Sanders, 16% Biden, 13% Klobuchar, 11% O'Rourke and 10% businessman Andrew Yang.
Majorities of potential Democratic voters say they would at least be satisfied with any of the top three becoming the party's nominee, with about 4 in 10 saying they'd be enthusiastic about Biden (43%), Warren (41%) or Sanders (39%). Fewer would feel as excited should Buttigieg become the party's nominee (27% enthusiastic).
Registered voters generally give Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg large advantages over President Donald Trump in hypothetical general election matchups. Biden leads the President by 10 points, 53% to 43%, with Sanders up 9 (52% to 43%) and Warren up 8 (52% to 44%). Buttigieg holds a 6-point edge, 50% to 44%.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from October 17 through 20 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer, including 424 registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. For results among potential Democratic voters, it is plus or minus 5.8 points.
Former Vice President Joe Biden may be having some trouble in Iowa in New Hampshire, where the first two contests of the Democratic primary will be held next year. But in South Carolina, home of the first-in-the-South primary, he remains the runaway favorite.
The latest CBS News Battleground Tracker shows Biden ahead by only 3% as the first choice for nominee in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, in South Carolina. he has enjoyed a double-digit lead in state polls for months. In the November Battleground Tracker he outpaced the field by 28% as Democrats' first choice for nominee in the state. In a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, he's up by 20 points.
"I can remember Biden coming to South Carolina and doing major political events in the early '80s and throughout all of the time since then," said former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Don Fowler. "His friendship among people in South Carolina is real in the black and the white community."
Biden officially filed for the South Carolina Democratic primary alongside the state's Democratic Party chair during a stop at a local soul food restaurant in Abbeville Friday afternoon. While leaving, he was asked whether he felt confident about his lead in the state, particularly among black voters.
"I've always had overwhelming support in my whole career from the African-American community and actually, I do feel pretty confident."
CBS News spoke with more than a dozen political leaders and voters to explore what Biden's current lead means in South Carolina and how his strength in the state plays into his chances of securing the nomination.
"His prior relationship with two of our previous U.S. Senators, the fact that he's been to South Carolina many times, and certainly the fact that he served as vice president, all of those variables increases name recognition [and] make people feel comfortable with his candidacy," said Heyward Bannister, the South Carolina political director for Bill Clinton during the Democratic primary in 1992.
Fowler, who is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says that Biden's supporters have been "resilient" and "loyal" so far. He also notes that "a great portion of the African American community" has helped sustain his current frontrunner status.
South Carolina is a key test of candidates' support among black voters, a central component of the Democratic Party's base. In 2020, black voters are expected to make up as much as 60% of South Carolina's Democratic primary electorate.
"The dynamics are different, the constituencies are different, and the urgency for African Americans to participate becomes even higher when you get to Southern states starting with South Carolina," said CBSN Contributor and Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright. "Black people will not only decide who our next nominee will be but they will have a large say so on who will be the next president."
Since 1976, no Democratic presidential candidate has ever won the nomination without placing at least second in Iowa or New Hampshire. South Carolina has only officially been a part of the early state lineup since the 2008. But both presidential candidates who have won the state's Democratic primary since gone on to win the party nomination.
CBS News Contributor Robby Mook says that while it's important for a candidate to win in Iowa or New Hampshire, the field is more fluid this cycle and many delegates are won in the first three weeks of March.
"For someone like Biden, who comes to this with universal name recognition, with deep political contacts, and a commanding position within the field, there's absolutely a rationale that he can capture momentum in South Carolina and spring forward into March," said Mook, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign manager. "I think the driving question is going to be who can defeat Trump? And I think people's conception of that is going to evolve over time."
"If you look like a winner, sound like a winner, you act like a winner, it can impact voters' perception," said Bannister, Clinton's 1992 strategist. "And of course, how well you perform certainly impacts your fundraising too and your fundraising can impact the resources you have to organize."
Biden has been outrun by some other leading contenders when it comes to fundraising in recent months, but he raised $5.3 million in October alone. In recent weeks, he's received criticism from contenders who say his views on super PACs have shifted just enough for a group of his wealthy backers to form one of their own to support him, "Unite the Country," which registered with the Federal Election Commission last week.
Other Democratic hopefuls, meanwhile, have sworn not to use super PACs, which can spend unlimited funds to back a candidate so long as they don't coordinate with any campaign.
During a strategy call with senior campaign officials and journalists in September, Biden's national team said that South Carolina and Nevada, another early state with a diverse electorate, were top priorities. Earlier this month, the team doubled down on another call, arguing that they're "the one campaign that doesn't have to win Iowa" because of Biden's "broad" appeal across voting groups. But during an interview with CNN days later, Biden said that he thinks he will do better than expected in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Kendall Corley, who was a regional political director in South Carolina for Obama in 2008, is now the state director for Biden. He maintains that while the "ground game" strategies haven't changed so much since then — traditional door-knocking, for example, remains a key component — Biden has a different objective.
"It's more maintenance and growth more so than trying to introduce and expand," said Corley. "For Vice President Biden, relationships again are going to carry the day and to his advantage even more so [than] for Obama, he has those relationships and has had them for years."
To this point, Mook said that the true test will be in the solidity of Biden's support.
"The question is 'how hard is Biden's support in South Carolina?' If it's rock hard, nothing's going to change that," says Mook. "If those voters are still open-minded and are concerned about electability, there's every reason their minds can change and that's why people focus so much on doing well in those first two early states."
"Unless there's some sort of crack in the firewall," added Seawright, "unless there's some sort of air let out of his political tires in the African-American community, I don't see how his car does not continue to go down the road down the political highway."
After a town hall at Lander University in Greenwood, where anti-deportation protesters disrupted an event on Thursday evening, CBS News spoke with voters about Biden's performance. Two undecided student voters said that if they had to vote today Biden would "probably" be their choice, citing his respectful nature of handling the situation with the protesters, his knowledge, and his personal connection with the crowd. And other voters said that while they were undecided before the event, Biden's performance had won them over.
"Watching Joe Biden [tonight], I swung strongly in favor of Joe," said Katelynn Bell, who traveled with her parents from Augusta, GA for the event.
Joe Biden is nearing the halfway point of an eight-day tour through rural Iowa aimed at helping him regain the momentum he's lost there, on a bus emblazoned with an old-school Bidenism: "No Malarkey."
The term recalls the time the former vice president told Republican rival Paul Ryan in a 2012 debate that he was espousing "a bunch of malarkey." It's one of Biden's favorite phrases, one his campaign hopes will play into voters' perception of Biden as authentic and honest -- drawing contrasts with Trump, but also with his Democratic rivals, whose plans on issues like health care and college tuition Biden has criticized as unaffordable and politically impractical.
The bus tour already provided a viral moment, when -- as his wife, Jill Biden, gestured widely with her hands as she spoke to a crowd in Council Bluffs on Saturday -- Biden leaned in and lightly bit her index finger.
But the real aim of the 18-county swing is to expose Biden to parts of the state he hasn't visited yet, and to quiet chatter that he has kept a slower campaign schedule in the state than most of his top-tier rivals.
"I don't think he's been here enough, spent a lot of time here. That's what it usually takes for most Iowans. They feel like they've got to see the people several times before they make up their mind. There's going to be a lot of changes between now and February," said Brad Knott, an undecided Democratic voter from Des Moines who caught Biden in Carroll over the weekend.
"He needs to get out," Knott said. "He needs to be in Iowa, here in the small towns -- visit them and hear from them -- and he's doing that now."
Biden's Iowa road trip comes as his campaign faces the reality that he could lose Iowa -- and possibly finish as low as fourth place.
The most recent Iowa polls have found South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the lead there, followed by the three-person grouping of Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
The stagnant polling in the first state to vote in the nominating process comes despite Biden's consistent lead in national Democratic polls -- fueled largely by his strong support among African American voters, who his campaign expects to provide a boost later in the calendar as the Democratic race shifts in late February to South Carolina and then to a swath of large and Southern states on Super Tuesday in early March.
Biden told reporters Sunday at a coffeehouse in Carroll that he was "here to translate the polls nationally."
"Iowans make up their minds late and they change the front-runner -- front-runner gets behind, front-runner comes back," he said.
In Iowa, he said, he is "running to win. I'm not running to lose or come in third, or fourth or fifth, or anything like that."
"We're going the last two months now, getting down to the stretch, and time to -- as they say in Iowa -- time to peak is right about now. That's why we've planned all along to spend after Thanksgiving a lot of time in Iowa," Biden said.
Biden's campaign is working hard to show momentum. On Monday, his campaign manager Greg Schultz said in an email to supporters that Biden has raised more in just October and November than he had in the third fundraising quarter, a period in which he hauled in $15.7 million -- which was well shy of the $25 million that Sanders and Warren raised.
Biden's campaign didn't release how much cash the campaign has on hand, which would show how quickly he's spending the money he is raising. He had $9.8 million at the end of the third quarter.
The former vice president is also making detours from his bus trip to bolster his fundraising -- including a fundraiser in Chicago on Monday night, after which he'll return to Iowa for an event Tuesday, then fly to New York for a Tuesday night fundraiser. Then he'll head back to Iowa.
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie -- two influential figures in the state who have endorsed the former vice president -- accompanied Biden for most of his first three days in Iowa. Each event they attended followed a similar format: Christie Vilsack would introduce Biden, and Tom Vilsack would deliver the closing pitch.
The bus tour, Vilsack said in an interview, is "an opportunity to send a strong message about the importance of rural America, and I think it's a message that Democrats in the past have sort ignored at their peril. The vice president's making sure that mistake's not going to happen again."
Biden has not taken questions from the audience during the formal portions of his stops, but he did linger to snap selfies and chat with attendees on rope lines after his events.
"The single most important thing if you can do it, if you can, is to shake the hand of every single voter and look them in the eye and let them ask you questions. To me it's the ultimate, it's the ultimate way in which to connect with people," Biden told reporters in Emmetsburg. "I know I got in trouble for using this phrase a long time ago but I'm a tactile politician. If i can shake hands with someone, see them, get a sense of what's on their mind, it gives me a better sense of what's bothering people, what their needs are."
"I spend time with folks. I have trouble walking away from them. I just find it to be the most significant thing you can do," he said. "This bus tour allows that that's one of the things I like about it."
Those individual connections helped some voters solidify their decisions to back Biden, they said in interviews -- while others remained concerned about the former vice president's age and his unwillingness to take town hall-style questions.
Ned and Jane Nettleton, retired teachers in Algona who caucused for Biden during his failed 2008 presidential run, are split this time.
Ned Nettleton said he's still with Biden. "He's a good man. He's honest and sincere and he's what the country needs to recover," he said.
But Jane Nettleton had a specific concern about the former vice president: "His age."
She said she likes Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota -- but wants to see her in person. "I just think, you know, that we need someone a little younger and someone who appeals to younger people," she said.
A couple in Storm Lake, Mike and Andrea Frantz, are also split.
Mike Frantz said he's keeping his options open, but liked that Biden's "tone was subdued, which was really, I think, smart for the audience he had here. Not the firebrand that you see from some others, but a real connecting tone."
However, he said he was disappointed that Biden didn't take questions from the audience. "That's more common and appreciated," he said.
Andrea Frantz, meanwhile, said she's backing Buttigieg. "There's something about the way that he speaks to everyone, the nature of his inclusive message," she said. "I think he is incredibly brilliant. I think he has the energy and ability to relate to people to bring us back all together again."
Becky Bryant, a retired teacher in Storm Lake, said she is touched by the way that Biden -- who as a young man lost his wife and daughter to a car accident, and decades later saw his son die of brain cancer -- connects with voters through grief.
"In the end, he said that you have to find something good that comes out of some horrendous disaster," she said. "And I found that incredibly inspiring."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is planning to pay for his policy proposals in part with a new tax aimed at preventing large corporations from paying zero in taxes, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.
Under a proposal Bloomberg obtained, the former vice president would call for a 10 percent minimum tax on corporations' book income, which can differ from the income reported on federal income tax returns. The proposal is targeted at businesses with more than $100 million in net income in the United States that paid zero or negative federal income taxes.
The Biden campaign estimates that the proposal would raise $400 billion in federal revenue over 10 years, Bloomberg reported.
The proposal comes amid a push from progressives for higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and frustration among Democrats at reports that companies such as Amazon have paid zero in federal income taxes in certain years.
One of Biden's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), has offered a similar proposal, calling for a 7-percent surtax on corporate profits over $100 million.
The Biden tax plan Bloomberg obtained also calls for doubling the tax rate to 21 percent of a minimum tax on foreign profits created by President Trump's 2017 tax law. It also calls for $200 billion in sanctions on countries that make it easier for companies to illegally avoid taxes, Bloomberg reported.
The plan also includes several tax proposals that Biden has previously mentioned, including raising the corporate income tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, raising the top individual income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent, taxing capital gains as ordinary income for people with income over $1 million, and ending the "step up in basis" tax break that lowers capital gains tax liability on investments passed on to heirs.
In total, Biden is estimating that his various tax proposals would raise more than $3.4 trillion, enough to pay for climate, infrastructure, health care and higher education plans that are estimated to cost $3.2 trillion, Bloomberg reported.
Biden has taken aim at other presidential candidates for a lack of thoroughness on paying for their spending proposals. In debates earlier this year, Biden criticized Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for not being detailed about how they would fully pay for "Medicare for All." Warren subsequently released a tax plan that specified how she planned to pay for her health plan.
"The vice president does think it's very important to be clear with the American people regarding how you're going to pay for things in order to demonstrate they can actually get it done," said Biden policy director Stef Feldman.
Feldman added that Biden "wants to make sure that he's putting proposals out there that he can actually deliver on for folks."
"He thinks that in many ways it makes it easier for people to buy into the idea that we should be making these investments because they respond to it along the lines of, 'Oh, you know what, it does seem like wealthy people can pay a little bit more if what we get is this,'" Feldman said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Richard Bryan, a former U.S. senator and Nevada governor, said Wednesday that he's endorsing Joe Biden for president in 2020, giving the former vice president the backing of one of the biggest names in the state’s Democratic circles.
Bryan told The Associated Press in an interview that Biden brings “a thoughtful, steady hand” and is the Democratic Party’s best chance to defeat President Donald Trump.
“No one equals him in terms of experience. But I think his approach, we need somebody that can bring the country back together," he said.
Bryan, who was in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001, said he got to know Biden well while serving with him in Washington when Biden was a senator from Delaware. The former governor said Biden offers the best opportunity to bridge divides and work across the aisle.
Bryan’s decision to endorse in the primary is a contrast from Nevada’s two current Democratic senators, Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and former longtime senator Harry Reid. All three have said they don’t plan to endorse before Nevada’s February caucuses.
In November, Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin joined several other African American mayors from Southern cities in Atlanta to meet with former Vice President Joe Biden. The gathering was part of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate’s response to an open letter to all candidates penned in September by four black Southern mayors, including Woodfin, offering a “road map” of issues the leaders said must be address in order to obtain their respective endorsement.
“We had a very detailed and thorough discussion around the issues we raised,” Woodfin says. “I remember how I felt when I walked out of that room: I can get behind the vice president. Not only can he win to become the next president of the United States but would work with mayors as partners.”
On Monday, Woodfin, widely considered a political progressive, said he is endorsing Biden among the still-crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls.
“He represents the bridge between the future of Democratic party and most the successful Democratic administration of my lifetime,” Woodfin told AL.com. “We’re talking about a leader, not talking about an elected official. We’re talking about a leader that has been doing it for quite some time.”
Woodfin believes Biden will ultimately rally Democratic voters nationwide, which will be critical to the remainder of the ballot. “When you think about competitive [elections} we’ll have in Alabama, as well as in Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky; you’ll have the balance of the U.S. Congress on the line, redistricting on the line. We need somebody on the top of that ticket who can not only help down-ballot candidates be competitive, but also someone who can expand the map across the nation. For me all of that points to Vice President Biden giving us that best chance."
Three years ago, Woodfin defeated incumbent William Bell in the mayoral race with prominent backing from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the progressive who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and is in the 2020 field. Sanders recorded a robocall for Woodfin that went out on the night before the mayoral election, telling loyal progressives the challenger would fight for “Medicare for all” and battle racial injustice.
Woodfin says he spoke with Sanders, members of his campaign and leadership teams about his endorsement of Biden. “That conversation needed to be had,” he said. “I respect a lot of things Senator Sanders stands for. I believe in a lot of the things he’s doing. I am a fan of his conviction and consider him a person I can trust and a friend. None of that goes away with this endorsement.”
Woodfin is the latest prominent African American politician to back the front-runner. Nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus have endorsed Biden, the most of any other Democratic candidate. (Sen. Kamala Harris had 10 CBC endorsements before dropping from the race last month.) Three black leaders from Indiana endorsed the 77-year-old Delaware Senator last month, including one from South Bend, where presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is mayor.
A recent survey shows Biden the overwhelming favorite among African American registered voters: 38%, compared with 15% for Sen. Bernie Sanders, 11% for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to BlackPAC, a political committee that engages and mobilizes black voters.
The endorsement of Woodfin, 38, is perhaps most critical because of the perceived generation gap among blacks regarding Biden. According to the same survey, Sanders enjoys twice the support of Biden among 18-24-year-old Gen Z voters (30% to 14%) and is just ahead of Biden among millennials (15% to 14%).
Earlier this month, Woodfin addressed a meeting of the Young Democrats of America in Birmingham.
“My message to them was clear,” he says "One, it is OK to support different candidates. Two, the main goal is when the primary is over, whomever is at top of this ticket –- and I feel it will be Biden, it should be Biden -- then we should all rally behind them. Democratic presidential candidates are not enemies; here is only one enemy, and that person is not a Democrat. Third, we should not pit generation against generation or race against race.
“We should decide what are the things the Democratic party stands for? And whether you’re on the left-leaning wing of the party or in the middle as a moderate, what do we need to be communicating to Americans to win the general election?”
The September open letter was signed by Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jackson, Miss; LaToya Cantrell, New Orleans; and Steve Benjamin, Columbia, S.C. All told, they represent, according to the letter, “1.7 million residents, including 345,000 Democratic voters, and importantly, 196 1/8 2020 3/8 Democratic delegates…”
Along several criteria cited in the letter were plans for Increasing federal investment in affordable housing and infrastructure, expanding Community Black Grants, increasing the Economic Development Administration’s budget boosting the Small Business Administration’s commitment to minority-owned businesses, and criminal justice reform.
“The Democratic nomination runs through our communities,” the letter stated. “And given the power that we wield in this primary process, we fully intend to use our influence and elevate the interests of our residents to ensure that your campaigns deliver a value proposition consistent with their distinct needs.”
In November, Benjamin announced his support for billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. Cantrell and Lumumba have not publicly endorsed any candidate.
Biden appears to have largely overcome early criticism among some American Americans for his sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill, some provisions of which, such as sentencing measures and prison funding, many believe contributed to the mass incarceration that disproportionally impacted young black men and African American communities.
“There is no such thing as a perfect candidate,” Woodfin says. “We have an imperfect political system with imperfect candidates. But in this historic diverse field of Democrats, who can make sure down-ballot candidates can win? Who can expand the map? Who do voters trust? And who do voters feel they have a relationship with?
"That’s Joe Biden.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden maintained his lead in Iowa ahead of the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses, according to a new poll that also shows former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gaining ground on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who finished second.
Biden is the top choice among 24 percent of surveyed Iowans in the Focus on Rural America poll released Monday. Biden’s support fell just 1 point since a September poll.
The ranking of the top candidates remained the same since September, but Buttigieg and Sanders saw increases in support while Warren had a decrease, placing all the three candidates closer to each other.
Warren remained in second place with 18 percent, a 5-point decrease since the September poll.
Buttigieg remained in third, but jumped 4 points from September to 16 percent.
Similarly, Sanders maintained his fourth place spot, but had a 5-point boost to 14 percent.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) trails Sanders in fifth place, at 11 percent, a 3-point increase for the senator since September. No other candidates registered double-digit support in the poll.
Twenty-nine percent of surveyed Iowans said Klobuchar is the “best” candidate “for the needs and interests of rural Iowa,” making her the top candidate on the issue. The top four candidates trailed Klobuchar when questioned on rural interests, with Warren at 15 percent, Sanders at 14 percent, and Biden and Buttigieg each at 13 percent, according to the poll.
Biden was also overwhelmingly the candidate respondents said was “best equipped to handle the current conflicts and tensions between the U.S. and Iran and other global hot spots,” with 42 percent choosing the former vice president, according to the poll.
The poll surveyed 500 likely caucus goers. It was conducted between Jan. 15 and 18 with a combination of cellphone and landlines. There is a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.