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Politics & Government

With COVID Grabbing Headlines, Biden has Big Week with Endorsements: Reactions on His Path Ahead

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The coronoavirus is dominating most people’s attention.  But it was a big week last week for the Presidential campaign of Joe Biden.  A string of key endorsements can help pave his path forward.

The week started with Joe Biden getting the endorsement of his closest primary rival, Bernie Sanders.  Wednesday brought the backing of another former opponent, Elizabeth Warren.  But the biggest nod might have come from President Barack Obama, who SUNY Cortland Political Science Professor Bob Spitzer says was happy to make a splash

“But the fact that he waited so long was a clear indication that he did not want to put his thumb on the scale before the voters themselves had made the decision .  And Obama generally in last three years, after his presidency, has been pretty quiet, occasionally weighed in on issues.  And while he has offered some oblique criticisms of Trump, he has not gone full-out to roundly and specifically condemn Trump for the things he’s done so far.”

Spitzer notes Obama has stayed mostly out of the limelight.  He does not believe the attention on the coronavirus or responses to it, had anything to do with the timing of Obama’s endorsement.  Biden does face a bit of a problem garnering attention.

“The difficulty he faces, and I think this isn’t widely recognized, is that he is not an officeholder right now, so he cannot position himself in a way that , say, new York Governor Andrew Cuomo has, where Cuomo is on TV every day.  If Biden comes across as pushing too hard, in essence being too partisan in criticizing trump and offering alternatives, I think that can work against him.”

He doesn’t think Biden faces too much trouble uniting the party, given the way the primary season wound down.

“In the meantime, Biden does need to try and find the right balance between being very much in the background, since he is not an office-holder, but on the other hand seeming to be too-much trying to grab the limelight.  So I think his initial political step is to try and uniting the base and making it clear that he has the gravitas, the seriousness, and the knowledge and expertise to be an effective leader.”

Spitzer does not believe that will be tough, thanks to decades in politics and 8 years as Vice President … not to mention Obama’s backing.