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Biden's Limited Campaign: How long can it take?



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Plans to enjoy ice cream on New Hampshire's day of commemoration. He is not far from former Congressman John Delaney, another presidential candidate, who is in the midst of his 19th journey to the state planning a route that includes four BBQs, a parade and a wreath-laying ceremony.

Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) rolls through the cornfields in a camper, while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) presents a "Family Bill of Rights" and visits an ethanol plant.

And here's the first Vice President Joe Biden agenda for the holiday weekend, according to his campaign: "Joe Biden has not scheduled any public events."

These seven words become known to the Biden team. Aside from a campaign surge just after announcing his candidacy, Biden has lowered his head as his rivals hurry from state to state. Even when he held public events, they contained only a handful of questions from voters or reporters.

The light public timetable reflects the unique position of his campaign, consultants say: With near-universal fame and high prudence among Democrats The former vice-president does not have to introduce himself to voters like almost any other candidate. And as a leader in early polls, it can grab the media's attention without spills.

But there are risks. Voters in the early primary states – especially in Iowa with its caucus system that rewards the local organization – want to see the candidates personally and frequently. And there is a danger that Biden's timetable reinforces a word that President Trump is already using to describe his candidacy: sleepy.

Biden's campaign states that this will not happen. "I'm not worried that a voter will leave an event of Joe Biden with doubts about his energy," said Kate Bedingfield, his deputy campaign supervisor. "You will see it everywhere he goes."

Biden spends 30 minutes an hour leashing voters on a leash after his public events, Bedingfield said Over the last two weeks, fundraisers have been planned that were publicly announced and visited by a pool reporter clearly differentiate between open campaign events.

It is not clear how long Biden's donations can continue to restrict public exposure this way. The first democratic debate will take place on June 26th and 27th, and Biden will share the stage with nine rivals and a moderator, each of whom will strive to bring him to his positions and record. Further debates are continuing, while influential groups ranging from unions to ethnic organizations are holding multi-candidate events and may not find it pleasant to be skipped.

Currently, however, the strategy seems to work. Biden's carefully crafted three-part campaign launch went without any apparent problems, and the polls have given him a comfortable lead so far in the fragmented field of the 23 Democratic candidates.

Some Democratic strategists say the 76-year-old Biden might limit his participation in freewheeling campaign sessions in part to downplay the fact that he's older than the figure they may remember.

"Voters go with him in the events and expect Uncle Joe's, but they come out after they, Grandpa Joe & # 39; said Rebecca Katz, a Democratic strategist who prefers liberal candidates but does not work for a presidential campaign.

She said Biden benefits from his association with former President Barack Obama, who is still popular with many Democrats. "The more people see him live in 2019, the more they realize that he may not be the type they remember," Katz said.

Since its launch four weeks ago, Biden has held 11 public events campaign. The former congressman Beto O'Rourke from Texas held in the same period as planned nearly four times this number. And Gillibrand, lagging behind in the polls, was planning 11 stops in Iowa over the holiday weekend.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Has shown her face to the public at 27 events over the four weeks since the start of Biden. Booker had at least 27 scheduled events over the same period and Sanders had at least 17 announced engagements.

And with the exception of O 'Rourke – and unlike Biden – all of these candidates have a full-time job in the Senate holding them tied to Washington most of the weeks.

Counselors say that Biden's public schedule reflects a thoughtful strategic decision. The candidate's time is better spent on important but less public activities such as fundraisers, one-on-one interviews, policy development and setting up a campaign infrastructure.

"It is definitely an advantage that he can keep pace himself and make events that matter, rather than just events that traditionally serve to prove himself," said Larry Rasky, who has worked on Biden's past presidential campaigns but this time it does not play a formal role. "He's in a different place than the other candidates."

So far, Biden has taken a pass in the multi-candidate forums, which are sponsored by various interest groups and have become an integral part of the early campaign for his rivals. They have allowed some of the hopefuls to present their policies to a dedicated audience and cause a sensation.

Organizers of MoveOn, a prominent liberal activist group, said Biden would not be coming to their Big Ideas forum in San Francisco next weekend, where eight more candidates will be presented. And he responded "no" to the Congress of the Californian Democratic Party on the same weekend, which will accept 14 candidates.

Regarding the dinner of the Iowa Democratic Party next month, 17 candidates said they were coming – but not Biden. And he also passed on the more exclusive Black Economic Alliance presidential forum in Charleston, SC, which, according to organizers, only sent seven invitations.

Similarly, the cable networks have held city hall meetings where voters can interview individual candidates for one hour each. Biden has given no indication that he wants to participate in one.

Some activists fear that Biden can avoid skipping through such forums, defining where he stands to the details of politics such as trade, health care, environment and health criminal justice. But Biden's team says he's just careful to pick the right venues.

"There are a tremendous amount of them," Bedingfield said about these sessions. "The organizers of the events understandably try to develop a sense that the failure of their event is the biggest mistake a candidate could make. But there are countless of them in a week, and you have to be smart about how you spend your time and where you go. "

Bedingfield said Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, plan to attend, late next month, a city hall organized by the American Federation of Teachers, a powerful union that holds events across the country for all Democratic presidential candidates.

"I do not believe there is a voter or one. The activist will have questions about where Joe Biden is on any topic," she said. "His schedule is and will be determined by him as he speaks on his own terms about his political positions and his vision for the country."

Some veterans of previous campaigns said that limiting public exposure can have the opposite effect and restrict a candidate's ability to set the conditions for discussion. If a candidate is not much in the public eye, they said, the pressure builds up, so every word, every pause, and every gesture is carefully scrutinized, sometimes not in the way intended.

"said Robby Mook, who was Campaign Manager Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. "The curse of always being covered is that it's not always what it's about."

In such cases, according to Mook, reporting is usually about the process and how well the candidate performs in the polls. "It can be hard to focus on what you want to talk about," he said.

Democratic officials in major electoral states now undoubtedly notice that Biden is not there as often as the other candidates. 19659034] "He was here on the first day for his first event," said Bret Nilles, chairman of the Linn County Democrats in Iowa. "But apart from that, we did not hear much from him at all."

In a sense, Biden, who ran for president for the first time in 1988, has been fighting for decades, and some Democrats say this eases much of the Democrats' pressure.

"We have not seen Joe Biden yet. But he has a lot of history here, "said Sarah Mahler, chairman of the Washoe County Democrats in Nevada. "Many of us have our pictures with us or a story with him."

Dan Balz contributed to this report.


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